SmartSource Rentals Blog


SmartSource Offers Lockable Charging Stations for Events
May 28, 2015 by Anonymous

SmartSource Rentals offers the newest and most secure cell phone charging stations. These safe, confidential charging stations can accommodate cell phones, iPads, tablets, and other devices. With the ever-growing necessity of personal hand-held electronic devices at events, secure cell phone charging is a tremendously valuable service for event attendees.

More and more individuals use their cell phones to control their mobile payment and digital wallet, or their remote home security and smart home access—not to mention safeguarding their schedules, business data, contacts, notes, and more. This technology is important, and we rely on it. Few people feel comfortable leaving their phone unattended for even a moment. Unfortunately, business events put a heavy demand on cell phone batteries, which are quickly drained through the frequent use and the high energy requirements of apps, showcase apps, streaming content, videos, webinars, podcasts, texting, photos, downloads, uploads, and emails. (Oh, and phone calls.) Enter the solution: a lockable charging station able to recharge devices under complete security.

These time-saving, privacy-ensuring, power-boosting lockers are simple to use. Attendees simply:
1. Select an open locker.
2. Enter a four-digit pin that they create and which only they know.
3. Connect their device to one of the many charging tips housed in each compartment (each locker contains Mini USB, Micro USB, Apple and Apple Lightning charging tips).
4. Close the door and get back to the event as their device charges under complete protection.

The charging station itself holds additional safeguards, such as:
• An override code that is supplied to management in case an attendee forgets their code.
• Manual access to the compartments in case of a power outage.
• An alert that ensures the device is properly connected and charging.

Lockable Charging Stations Create Excellent Sponsorship Opportunities
With the importance of cell phones and the necessity of keeping them charged, a charging station is a popular service—making it an ideal chance for sponsors to make an impact on event participants. The service itself can be sponsored, as can the sides and top of the unit. Furthermore, each charging station offers a screen which holds nearly infinite branding, advertising, and sponsorship potential. Charging stations are a place for guests to charge their phone, but that’s not all—the charging station screens provide an extra level of information and entertainment.

The units offer these sponsorship options:
• External branding through decals and vinyl wrap capability
• Ad placement on the top and sides of each unit
• Slideshows, videos, commercials, branding, and video loops on screen

Charging stations are becoming an expectation at events as guests’ devices run low on critical battery power. With lockable charging stations, Event Organizers are able to offer this vital service to their attendees, while simultaneously gaining sponsorship income—paying for the unit and profiting the event. Everyone wins!

Additional Advantages for Event Organizers
• Usage reporting that shows how many times the locker was utilized during an event.
• Income reporting that delivers relevant data on the ROI of each unit.
• Operational log that reports all the unit’s transactions during a specified timeframe.

As our video demonstrates, locking charging stations are simple to use, and they provide cell phone recharging AND peace of mind—allowing guests to get back to the event at hand, fully charged!

The Scoop on Alternatives to PowerPoint:
May 26, 2015 by Karen Daniels

We have been spending time talking about alternatives to PPT in “The Scoop on Alternatives to PowerPoint” series including:
• PowToon
• Emaze
and we’ve made suggestions for How to Make Your Presentations Remarkable no matter which platform you use. We’ve been taking the time to give you these new ideas for presentations because the truth is that the better your presentations are the more successful your events will be, for your business and your brand.

In this article about we’ll take a look at a tool for making an interactive infographic. An infographic is (according to Wikipedia):
…a graphic visual representation of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

Presenting complex information in a way that is fast and easy for someone to understand is always a good idea. But like all the PPT alternative tools we’re putting forth in this series it’s important to know what your presentation objective is and how to avoid bad presentation pitfalls so many people seem to fall into.

For an infographic, just as with any presentation software, there are a lot of common mistakes people seem to repeat. So before you get started creating an interactive infographic with, here are 5 common mistakes to be aware of so you can avoid them:
Mistake 1. Talking about your products and services
Like any other presentation if all you do is present lists of what your company does and offers then you’ll be labeled as a salesman and people just don’t listen
Mistake 2. Not being original
Don’t make the mistake of looking at an infographic you love and then copying it only to swap out the numbers. However, it’s perfectly fine to study numerous infographics you like and then draw inspiration from them.
Mistake 3. Putting in too much information
Just because you’re creating an “infographic” does not mean it’s okay to put in as much information as you can possibly cram in.
Mistake 4. Being insignificant
We’re all too busy to waste time – especially at conferences and events. So provide valuable information that has some depth and increases the useful knowledge of your audience.
Mistake 5. Using poor graphics
This part is key. Since you are creating a visual representation of information your infographic needs to be eye-catching with graphics that pop and are meaningful.

That’s where a tool like can be helpful – it can help you stay on the right track when you are not a designer. So let’s go ahead and give this software a try. Plans (Free, Pro, and White Label)
For this article we’re sampling only the “Free” version, which of course, means what we can do is somewhat limited. The Pro version is $18 per month and the White Label is $50 per month when there is no special pricing.

What you can’t do on the free version:
• get rid of all the branding
• save or download your infographic (which means on the free all you can do is public publication)
• use real time data
• access all the design themes
• add your custom logo
• remove the share buttons touts Infogram as useful for great visuals with minimal learning curve. Basics
Now that you know what you can’t do with the free version let’s see what you can do. The startup dashboard is as simple as it gets with only 3 buttons to choose from: 1

When you’re first starting (assuming you don’t want to immediately upgrade to pro) you’re going to click on “create” because there will be nothing in your library yet.
From there you are going to select which template you want to begin with. Once the template opens you’ll double click on any of the dummy text or images to put in your own information.
They do a good job of making it easy to add elements, either from the vertical menu:

The icons are, in order, 1) add a chart, 2) add a map, 3) add text, 4) add a picture, 5) add media. You can scroll over any of the icons to see what they are. This same menu will come up horizontally if you scroll between any elements on your infographic and it will go exactly where your curser is.

Just click on “add a chart” to pull up the chart menu. You’ll get everything from word clouds to stat charts – and in many different formats. This means you should find the best graph for the information or data you are presenting – each one will have slightly different options (don’t stress, you can always go back and change).

Once you’ve added what you want you scroll over the top for the pencil edit icon to show and then you click on that. This will pull up the data pages for your chart and you manually change it to your own data or use the “load data” link at the top. It is very intuitive on how to edit these charts, even if you are not overly tech savvy.

For our simple infographic example we chose to highlight some of our technology resources to help you create lucrative events in 2015. Naturally if you were going to do an infographic for a presentation you’d spend more time – for comparison our total time on this interactive infographic was about 20 minutes.

The Interactive Part of your Infographic
To see how the “interactive” part works, take a look at the “Tech Equipment Rentals” section on our graphic below. You’ll see that there are two areas “Technology Rentals” and “Entertainment Industry Rentals”. When you click on either bubble it pulls up that information.

Though you can’t download your infographic, you can embed it as we’ve done here. The code to do that will come up on the screen after you click “publish”. Here is the screen you get when you click publish:

As you can see they make it simple to publish on social media or get the responsive or fixed embed code. is so easy to use we recommend you get in there and click around a bit to see what you come up with.

What was not intuitive:
• editing content was easy we could not easily find a way to edit the formatting of the text

If you really like the idea of creating interactive infographics for online or offline presentations this year, you can get some useful information from The Infogram Blog.


Increase Sponsorships with Modern Day Cyber Cafés
May 21, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Remember cyber cafés? Cyber cafés were traditionally set up as a place for people to access the Internet. For trade shows and conferences, these “cafés” opened up a great opportunity to increase sponsorship revenue. The café itself was usually a computer or tablet resting on a table, and the sponsors could be advertised on a printed table tent or something similar.

Now, however, people are accessing the Internet via their smart phone, so there is no need for a traditional cyber café. However, we still need opportunities to sell sponsorships for trade shows and other events in order to increase sponsorship dollars and also boost the visibility of your show.

So, here at SmartSource we’ve come up with a couple of ideas with a modern day twist on cyber cafés that will allow you to quite easily improve your ability to sell and grow sponsorships.

The Kiosk Cyber Café

SmartSourceRentals was the first company to introduce kiosks to the tradeshow industry. Kiosks have such a friendly interface that they can be used by customers without any training or documentation.

SmartSource kiosks have a touchscreen that gives users the opportunity to interact with the offered information while sponsors can be highlighted.

For example, the kiosk itself can be branded with a full wrap displaying a sponsor’s information, or different sponsors can be highlighted in the various zones on the kiosk. But now that the traditional cyber café is no longer needed, what should you use the kiosk for?

1. Kiosks as Survey Terminals

You can put together a bank of kiosks that are used for evaluations on breakout sessions or for evaluations about the trade show itself. This allows you to get people to answer questions so you’re capturing that valuable back-end information and actionable data while also highlighting sponsorships.

Here are 5 tips for creating great surveys to use on your kiosk:

  • Speak in the right language. Simple and direct is always important, and don’t hesitate to define terms that aren’t common to everyone.
  • Each question should deal with only one idea at a time. You want your respondent to be very clear on exactly what they are answering.
  • Don’t write questions that guide the respondent to a specific answer.
  • Aim to write questions that give you information you’ll actually use. In other words, don’t waste a user’s time.
  • Be familiar with how and when to use different question types. For example, a multiple choice question is good when there are a limited number of possible responses, while a rating scale question prompts the reader to respond along a continuum. A Likert scale is often used in this type of question.

2. Kiosks as Cell Phone Charging Stations

The same type of kiosk that you would use as a survey terminal can also be converted into a cell phone charging station. The information and interaction a user will find on the kiosk gives them something to do while they are waiting for their phone to charge, so it’s a prime sponsorship opportunity.

A charging station kiosk gives you roughly 5-7 minutes of a customer’s valuable time while they are charging their phone. They are not going to walk away, of course, while they’re waiting for the charge to complete, and the kiosk can be running sponsored video loops, PowerPoints, or sponsored JPGS. And you can also have sponsorships highlighted on the various kiosk zones.

Maximize the draw power of your charging station kiosks:

  • Go the extra bit and create more of a lounge feel for your charging station/s.  This can be accomplished with something as simple as providing a stool to sit on at the charging kiosks.


Or you can be more elaborate and do things such as having a staff member offer the users something to drink or even have a full-on coffee bar service while they wait on comfy sofa-like seating. Providing a lounge atmosphere is a great way to extend a user’s time at the kiosk so you can open up conversations with potential customers while they wait for their phone to charge.

So, though the traditional cyber café is no longer needed, there are still many ways you can use technology to create modern cyber cafés and not lose out on valuable sponsorship opportunities.

Want a visual on using touchscreen kiosks as a cyber café to create sponsorship opportunities?  Watch our Cyber Café Video

Get Your Show on the Road – Technology Tips for Mobile Tours
May 19, 2015 by Anonymous

Many businesses have events that hit the road, crossing the country with multiple stops in dozens of cities. For business events that travel, efficiency and consistency are the most valuable assets. Whether for:

  • Product Launches
  • Multi-Regional Training Sessions
  • New Store, Branch or Location Openings
  • User Conferences across Multiple Locations
  • Financial Industry Investment and IPO Road Shows
  • Political Events and Campaigns
  • Mobile Marketing Campaigns

For many companies, mobile tours are part of the routine. Training tours are a necessity for businesses in the automotive industry; for instance, they regularly release new vehicles and need to train managers, sales teams, and service technicians on the detailed and complicated specifications of updated designs. An average training tour may visit 20 cities across the country—working diligently for months to bring sessions to each city and working with hundreds of participants at each location.

The financial industry is another example. Road shows are a common strategic practice—allowing company management to travel around the country giving presentations to analysts, fund managers, potential buyers and investors, or helping generate excitement and interest in an issue or IPO. In this situation, consistent technology and utterly reliable security are vitally important.

Mobile Tours have Specific Technology Needs

Setting aside the differences between industries or the individual mission that a company’s tour may have, mobile tours all have the following common requirements:

  • Registration – Quick and easy registration is an expectation and a necessity. Registration kiosks and software can ensure that guest information is gathered and that barcodes and badges are printed—setting the foundation for the valuable data collection that is at the core of the events.
  • Presentations – Whatever the purpose of the events, you can be sure that information needs to be conveyed. Training sessions, sales pitches, and campaigns all rely on the effective use of powerful speakers and multimedia presentations. From projectors and screens, to video walls and iPads, a mobile tour needs to have consistent access to the right technology to deliver content to their audiences.
  • Audience Response – One of the defining elements of mobile tours is the need for audience feedback. Question and answer sessions and interactive polling are both methods of gaining valuable audience insight into products and procedures, as well as gauging the audience’s satisfaction with the topics discussed. Audience response systems or iPads can help mobile tours gain insight into their audience’s ideas. Gamification is another option for helping increase audience engagement in the presentation material, and quizzes and competitions help organizers gather feedback on the success of the content.

Technology Suggestions

Mobile tours operate under a tight schedule, across multiple nationwide locations, and with a highly focused business mission.  Mobile tour planners need:

  • Technology and presentations that are consistent, effective, and flawless.
  • Branding that is perfectly represented every time.
  • A national technology supplier able to provide immediate delivery and on-site support.
  • A technology supplier that can scale to any size, deliver at any site across the country, and provide on short notice.
  • Streamlined set-up.
  • Cost savings.
  • The efficiency of working with a single provider, from city-to-city, coast-to-coast.
  • Technology that speaks positively about the brand—presenting a forward-thinking company.
  • Data Capture that gathers attendee information, training details, lead retrieval, and helps the company quantify their ROI—allowing daily reporting on participation, performance, facilitators, curriculum, presentations, speakers, engagement and more.

With a multi-city tour carrying so much significance for a business and a great investment of time, money, and personnel hours, it’s important to make sure that the technology supporting each event is perfectly executed. An experienced technology rental provider can ensure that your mobile tour technology rentals are interesting, interactive, informative, and innovative!

Dos and Don’ts for Memorable Digital Signage
May 14, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Big, bold, eye-catching and memorable…when digital signage is done right. However, too often, companies who intend to use digital signage at their booth or tradeshow tend to prepare content and ideas in the same way that they would for printed signs. Flat and non-dynamic!  Before you simply blast your company name and tagline onto a digital sign, become familiar with some of the basic dos and don’ts so you can create memorable signage!

Digital Signage Don’ts 

  • The biggest mistake – selecting digital signage that doesn’t fit into your goals, needs, and situation. Like any other technology, not all digital signs are created equal. You need to know your options and have the right support for your needs. Digital signage is a tool that can help you get the results you want only when chosen and executed properly. If you don’t have a digital signage expert on staff, rent your digital signage from an experienced company so your ROI is optimized.
  • Too much content. Ever see a billboard along a highway crammed with words and pictures?   Cramming too much content is a problem with any type of sign. But on a digital sign it’s even worse, because often the image or content scrolls away before people can even finish reading it. Don’t bury the important part of your message!
  • Poorly used audio. Just because your digital sign has the capacity to include audio doesn’t mean you should have a stream of words constantly coming from the speakers.  If your sign is going to be in an area where people need to talk or focus, be aware that a repetitive audio message can become annoying.
  • No call to action. Blasting your company name or brand on a digital sign with no next step to easily take is a common mistake. No matter what content you are publishing, in print or digitally, there should always be a call to action – something that prompts the audience to do something…now or later…depending on the situation.
  • Letting your content go stale. One of the beautiful things about digital signage as compared to printed signs is the ability to have fresh content easily updated. Once viewers see the same message over and over, not only will they tune the content out, they likely may tune out your company.
  • Improper use of motion. Too much digital motion can actually make some viewers nauseated. On the other hand, don’t underuse motion either, or you might as well have a printed sign instead. You need to walk the line between your content and motion being visually interesting without it becoming too much.

Digital Signage Dos        

  • Have focal points. You want to use content and images to draw the viewer’s eye in a way that highlights your message and a call to action.
  • Create your content with the digital elements in mind. The most effective digital signage content is created with compelling text and captivating images along with video to take full advantage of the medium.
  • Add new content periodically, not all at once. Your digital message is set to go up.  Now see what content you want to roll in at a later point.  For example, have a strategy for this signage if it will be there all 4 days of a conference.  Don’t put all the messages up at once – rotate them daily, for each booth break, etc.
  • Keep the text specific to the audience. Just because you can display a lot of messages and images doesn’t mean you should. As you’re developing the content, keep in mind the digital elements ALONG with your target audience or viewers.
  • Make sure the digital signage is placed properly. Whether you’re displaying your digital signage at your booth or on a larger scale in a trade show lobby, the physical placement of the screen or screens is vitally important. You have to consider location, eye level, angle, and distance. If you don’t know how to place your signage for the best effect and impact, use a digital signage expert.

Learning how to use digital signage properly and creating the best content for your needs and equipment might sound daunting. But like any other technology tool, it’s all about knowing with clarity what you need it to do, having clear goals in mind, and then matching the equipment, software, and content to your audience.

Does Pinterest Hold Relevance for Events?
May 12, 2015 by Anonymous

Event Planners know the importance of social media as a way of distributing content and building a community, and each individual has their favorite sites. Interestingly, one extremely popular platform is largely overlooked by businesses—it’s Pinterest.

How does Pinterest stack up against other social media networks?

In January of 2015, the Pew Research Center released its report, “Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms,” (1) in which it revealed the percentage of all adult internet users (and the percentage of the entire adult population) that were active on the following major social media sites in the United States for the year 2014:

  • Facebook: 71% of internet users / 58% of entire adult population
  • LinkedIn: 28% of internet users / 23% of entire adult population
  • Pinterest: 28% of internet users / 22% of entire adult population
  • Instagram: 26% of internet users / 21% of entire adult population
  • Twitter: 23% of internet users / 19% of entire adult population

According to the research, they discovered these percentages of all online adults were using Pinterest:

  • 42% of all online women
  • 13% of all online men
  • 34% of ages 18-29
  • 28% of ages 30-49
  • 27% of ages 50-64
  • 30% of internet users with some college education
  • 32% of internet users with one or more college degrees
  • 34% of internet users who earned more than $75,000 per year

According to additional research:

  • Pinterest has signed up over 47 million monthly active users in the U.S. (2)
  • They are expected to pass 50 million active users within the next year. (2)
  • The number of male users has doubled this year—outpacing the general growth. (2)
  • Nearly 40% of the network’s user base is international. (3)
  • The site is translated into 20 languages, currently. (4)
  • In March, Pinterest raised $367 million in funding to fuel global expansion (with plans to eventually raise another $211 million). (3)
  • Millennial users increased from 25% to 33% between fall 2013 and spring 2014—a greater increase in the demographic than for any other social network. (5)

Clearly, the platform holds a broad appeal, and it is displaying remarkable growth.

Why is it Popular?

Pinterest is founded upon images. While Facebook, Google +, Twitter and LinkedIn easily accommodate images (and most posts perform better WITH them), Pinterest was based upon the idea of a digital pin-board. For any person who ever kept a scrapbook of ideas, a corkboard full of magazine clippings, or a binder full of cutout images—Pinterest is the modern solution.  The app grabs any image and stores it, in a sortable, searchable platform. Users create boards to organize the images they collect. The “pins” are shared as a waterfall of images, creating a customized, personalized digital magazine, in which users have the option to capture or open the link to any image that interests them.

Why is Pinterest good for Business?

Although Pinterest has developed a reputation for having a predominantly female following, as well as being overrun with images linking to recipes, crafting, and fashion, Pinterest is NOT merely for the homemaking niche. Its format allows ANY content to be shared, searched and stored, as long as it has an image—including:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Articles
  • Infographics
  • Music

Within the last year, Pinterest has incorporated the following business-centered improvements:

  • Search
  • Analytics
  • “Scoring Algorithms” that aid in classifying pins
  • Business Accounts
  • Profile Data
  • Website Insights
  • Platform Metrics
  • Content Performance Metrics
  • Sponsored Ads

Is Pinterest Relevant for Events?

In a word, yes! Event Planning incorporates both technical aspects and aesthetic aspects. Planners need to gather data on vendors, venues, industries, and technology—they’re responsible for thousands of details! Event Planners can use Pinterest boards to:

  • Keep a visual record of exciting and unique potential venues in their area.
  • Monitor trends in Event Design.
  • Collect ideas for menus, table settings, invitations, decorating and other visual elements.
  • Research tips, checklists, organization, printables, templates, and contracts.
  • Gather information that helps them solve specific problems or helps them better understand a client’s customer base.

Best of all, with so many millions of users searching Pinterest regularly, it’s an excellent FUN way to help distribute news, content, and information regarding your business, your products, your brand, and specific events—getting the word out about your work!



20 Social Media Tips that Event Planners Should Know
May 07, 2015 by Anonymous

There is no doubt of the broad effect that social media is having on our culture. It’s also caused a revolution in marketing, advertising, and business events! Obviously, social media has emerged as a highly efficient and remarkably inexpensive way to share news and content, to promote events, and to build a strong community around your brand.

By effectively using social media, Event Planners can easily supplement their traditional paid advertising promotions, and in many cases, social media can be used EXCLUSIVELY—completely replacing expensive advertising methods.

The following 20 social media tips help set the strongest foundation for generating buzz and stimulating interest in your event!

  1. Establish your hashtag as soon as possible. This important centerpiece of modern marketing immediately helps get the word out and acts as a placeholder of sorts. Select wisely and begin using it in all your promotions and across all social media platforms.
  2. When researching your hashtag, take time to ensure that the tag can’t be misinterpreted. Plenty of well-meaning marketers have fallen victim to tunnel vision, never noticing that their hashtag inadvertently held an inappropriate second meaning . . . don’t let your event promotion begin as the punchline to a joke. Do your research and get multiple opinions.
  3. Make it easy to share your content as a tweet with ClickToTweet. It allows you to create a simple, sharable, trackable message button.
  4. Consider giving your event a dedicated Twitter account. Depending on the size of your event and its community of attendees, a dedicated Twitter account can be an excellent hub for conversations, networking, and customer relations, as well as information distribution.
  5. Offer promotions through your social media profiles. Consider offering free or discounted tickets, VIP passes, complimentary services and upgrades as a method of stimulating registration. A small portion of attendees are probably obliged to attend, but the rest need encouragement, enticement, and motivation!
  6. Vary your event promotion tweets to avoid causing irritation and burnout. Rather than simply pushing out a daily countdown, show the event from all angles—professional, social, educational, venue excitement, and local attractions or happenings that will enhance attendees’ experience.
  7. Create a dedicated Facebook page for your event.  A dedicated Facebook page is an ideal mixture—it is part website, part blog, and it is already optimized for social networking, conversations, and social sharing.
  8. Allow your Facebook event page to accept shared content.  Videos, comments, and photos from followers help encourage conversation and community—better still, they increase the scope of your efforts and have the potential to go viral.
  9. Remind your Facebook followers about features such as your newsletter, YouTube channel, RSS feeds, and other subscriptions.
  10. Encourage Facebook fans to invite friends. Use the power of peer pressure to your advantage.
  11. Set up the Facebook “call-to-action” button. This feature will take visitors directly to the webpage you choose—such as your contact page, homepage, online registration form, or ticket ordering.
  12. Use LinkedIn to build a group. This easy step will help create and connect the ideal guests for your event. Furthermore, by curating a community, you’ll gain valuable insight into the problems, ideas, and questions that are unique to your targeted population.
  13. Establish photo sharing opportunities. Use Flickr and Instagram combined with contests and your hashtag to give potential attendees a clear idea of just how much fun your event will be.
  14. Establish location-based social media profiles. Platforms such as Foursquare and Yelp help to work the location advantage in both directions—giving locals the heads up that your event is in town, while giving out-of-towners great advice about local hotspots that supplement their overall experience.
  15. Make full use of videos. Video-sharing social media platforms are the ideal spot for running low-cost ads, targeted to the groups you most want to reach. YouTube, Vine, and Vimeo are excellent options, and don’t forget that Facebook videos perform well too.
  16. Pinterest is a highly popular site. Any content that contains an image can be pinned, tagged, and searched—expanding news about your event to a whole new social set.
  17. Use SlideShare as an ideal way to collect and share visual content that is searchable from the site itself, as well as being another great method for distributing information regarding your event.
  18. Google + is valuable location for creating, cultivating, and nourishing a community. Create relevant groups and hangouts, as well as directly promoting events and coordinating calendars.
  19. Consider a Reddit sub-forum. Reddit is a targeted format for sharing articles and comments. Use subreddits to reach exactly the audience that is looking for your content.
  20. Don’t forget to be on the lookout for social networks that are specific to your event’s industry!

SmartSource Rentals offers a vast selection of event technology rentals that keep attendees connected! With 21 locations nationwide and over 30 years of experience, SmartSource is a Total Technology® provider. Request a quote today!

Page 1 of 212

Blog Archives