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Video Wall Lessons Learned from Times Square
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Jun 25, 2015 by Anonymous

Times Square is a world famous tourist destination, and a remarkable number of visitors admit that they are there to witness the advertising—that the number and size of the digital billboards is one of the attractions of the area, helping to make it a legendary location worldwide.

The Times Square Alliance recently commissioned a survey of 2,000 visitors. According to the survey results(4):
• 80% of visitors said that the signs and advertisements are part of the destination’s appeal.
• Roughly 50% of those surveyed reported taking photographs of the signs themselves.
• 60% of guests answered that they had spent more than five minutes looking at the displays and ads.

A Brief History of Time’s Square
Times Square acquired its current name in April 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the newly completed Times Building (3), but it holds numerous distinctions—sometimes being referred to as “The Crossroads of the World.” (3) It is the center of the Broadway Theater District and one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections—drawing approximately 330,000 visitors each day. (3) So it’s no wonder that it holds records for the number and size of its digital billboards.

Lessons Learned from World-famous Advertising
1. Be the Biggest. Times Square is home to the largest screen in America, currently. The Marriot Marquis in Times Square is the 11th largest screen in the world. (5) Created by Mitsubishi Electric, it measures 393.7 by 77.7 feet, with 25,610 square feet of viewing area at 10,048 x 2,368 pixels. (5) The screen stands eight stories tall, and it is nearly the length of a football field—running the entire block length of 45th Street to 46th Street on Broadway. (4) It contains nearly 24 million LED pixels, each with tiny red, blue and green lights which give it “higher resolution than even the best of today’s top-of-the-line television sets.” (4)
2. Be Entertaining. The history of Times Square billboards and ads is a microcosm of marketing genius. With so much at stake, advertisers have constantly pushed the limits. Some noteworthy examples include:
–  The iconic 30 x 100 foot Camel cigarette billboard that blew smoke rings. (2)
–  The 1991 Coca-Cola billboard, which enhanced its neon sign with a 3-D mechanical arm that moved the bottle cap and revealed a giant straw. (2)
3. Be an Informational and Commercial Hub. As the epicenter of NYC tourism and the Broadway theater industry, Times Square’s many digital billboards offer valuable opportunities for businesses and tourists alike. Not everyone travels with their itinerary set and pre-arranged tickets in hand. Some visitors prefer to be in the moment and see what interests them. Combined with news tickers such as the famous “zipper” that circles One Times Square, information is readily available for the viewing.
4. Be a “Must-see” Attraction. Times Square advertisers have discovered how important digital signage is for retailers. By building their various mega-signs and utilizing the latest LED technology, they are able to grab attention, even amongst the bustle. Advertisers feel that the signs contribute to the city’s excitement and have become an integral part of its culture. (4)
5. Be Big-time, Real-time Interactive. Although billboards are one of the oldest forms of advertising, digital screens are breathing new life into an old idea through social media, mobile components, and real-time interactions that allow remarkable opportunities such as broadcasting tourist photos, displaying guest tweets or messages on the ticker or offering customized, location-based content as guests walk by.

In conclusion, whether the size of your digital signage is ample or ASTOUNDING, guests need the right combination of INFORMATION and EXCITEMENT—the ideal foundation for ANY advertising!

SmartSource Rentals can configure a video wall display in any grid shape or size!

Resources:
1. http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/new-york-attractions-times-square?cid=tradedoubler&ref=tolcaffsaletraded
2. http://www.timeout.com/newyork/attractions/times-square-signs-history
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Times_Square
4. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/17/business/media/times-squares-biggest-and-most-expensive-digital-billboard-is-set-to-shine-.html?_r=0
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_video_screens
6. http://www.timessquarenyc.org/advertising-sponsorships/digital-screens-billboards/index.aspx#.VUOWgpOhkxI

6 Ways to Tap Into the Versatility of Apple iPad Stations
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Jun 23, 2015 by Anonymous

Tablets and business go hand in hand, and the technology of iPad and Android tablets is notoriously adaptable. When Event Planners bring in a fleet of tablets and pair them with a combination of stands, branding and mounting, then the possibilities become nearly endless.

Tablet technology offers several specific advantages over desktops, laptops, kiosks, or more permanent systems. Tablets are remarkably portable. Their small size allows them to fit neatly and unobtrusively into a wide variety of spaces without difficulty. Furthermore, the technology is familiar and unintimidating—making the units inviting and approachable; guests feel at home.

The mounted iPad rentals are an attractive and engaging way to share and display information, facilitate registration, promote branding, and distribute surveys. In his iPad stations demonstration, our Senior Vice President of Technology Products and Services, Steve Shatsoff, offers the following suggested uses of these remarkable technology options:

1. Cyber Cafés – Use a cluster of mounted tablets to create a Cyber Café that is fully branded for either the organizer or a sponsor. The display areas and faceplates can be customized and branded with logos, drawing further attention to the event or creating sponsorship potential.
2. IPad Stands – Mount iPads or tablets on table stands or individual stands, in either portrait or landscape format. This accessory helps event organizers easily place a freestanding iPad in any location.
3. Document Library Stations – Use iPads to create a document library station. This is an attractive way to display, organize and distribute documents. The document library lets attendees easily capture the information that they need and email it to themselves, while it also allows Event Organizers to capture leads.
4. Registration Check-In Stations – Use iPads to create a Registration Check-In setup. This is a neat and compact way of quickly enabling this necessary process. It’s also engaging—guests are accustomed to working with tablets, and the technology makes the process less intimidating, more functional and more fun.
5. Survey Areas – Use iPads to run surveys. Either after the event or for breakout sessions at meetings, iPads on stands are a compact way to gather the feedback that Event Organizers or Meeting Planners need.
6. Comprehensive Charging Stations – Use an Apple Charging Station at the end of the day. This is the ideal way to charge up to 30 tablets at a time, from a single plug. The station is lockable, to guarantee safety and security. This system also allows image uploads and ensures that everything is ready for the next day or the next event!

Apple iPad stations combine the tablets’ practicality, accessibility and user-friendliness, with the stability and organization of more formal computer setups. These iPad stations have the smallest possible footprint, while providing maximized surface area for branding, graphics, ads, and visual appeal.

With 21 branch locations from coast to coast and a multi-million dollar inventory, SmartSource Rentals can provide any combination of iPads, iPad minis, or Android tablets and the accessories that configure them to meet any business need. Contact SmartSource and get your iPad Rental Quote today!

Top 10 Ways to Use Digital Signage for Your Event
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Jun 18, 2015 by Anonymous

Events depend heavily on up-to-the-minute information that is easily accessed. Any convention, trade show, conference, training session or business meeting involves large numbers of individuals—each needing to know where to go and what to do next. In the past, Event Managers relied on printed materials such as maps, agendas, and speaker information; unfortunately, printed materials were never able to adapt to the constantly changing conditions of our modern world—flight delays, room changes, speaker cancellations, unforeseen circumstances . . . Happily, digital signage has almost completely replaced print collateral—bringing with it the promise of effortless adaptability!

Digital Signage Products Fill Multiple Needs
Digital signs are extraordinarily customizable products that are capable of filling multiple uses and needs for conventions, exhibits, trade shows, conferences and other events.
1. Use digital signage for your event or conference agenda – easily answer “who, what, when, where, and why” for your sessions. Better still, the information on the agenda can be sorted and presented by time or date, or shifted to suit an attendee’s search needs.
2. Use digital signage as a show locator service – present information on the show floor, providing an alphabetical listing of exhibitors and a map that guides guests to the booth they’re seeking.
3. Use digital signage as a digital flight board – save time and frustration for your guests by giving them all the flight information they need—exactly what they would see at the airport—giving them peace of mind AND more time at the event! See flights, delays, and alphabetical listings by airlines, time, or by destination.
4. Use digital signage for location mapping – this feature acts as a local concierge service that provides your guests with suggestions, maps, ratings, addresses, and directions for restaurants, businesses, venues, attractions and services in your event area.
5. Use digital signage to promote your keynote feature – Event Organizers pay a lot of money for keynote speakers. Digital signage is an eye-catching and informational way to present a speaker’s bio, testimonials, videos, and marketing materials that increase excitement for the subject matter and the session.
6. Use digital signage for up-to-the-minute news feeds – digital screens are perfect for RSS or news tickers that provide your guests with global, national, local, or industry news, as well as vital basics like the time, date, and weather.
7. Use digital signage for social media feeds – the screens are perfect for gathering updates from social media and presenting the ideas, comments, insights, and views regarding the event itself.
8. Use digital signage to increase sponsorships – through customized material, logos, canned videos or videos on the fly, digital signage offers thousands of ways to gain sponsorship revenue by connecting attendees to your sponsors’ content.
9. Use digital signage to customize your event – with digital signage products, content works independently and Event Organizers can flip features based on what’s most important to the audience at that time. Planners can easily change the formatting and customize any content to match the look and feel of the event.
10. Use digital signage to present ANY content that you need – feature any content that offers value to your business, organizers, sponsors, exhibitors, or attendees, including slideshows, demonstrations, videos, interactive materials, games, networking forums, quizzes, surveys, document libraries, and more!

With printed materials, you’re stuck with it. Digital signage is the best way to truly reflect the complexity of your brand! View our SmartSource Rentals Digital Signage demonstration!

Audio Components that Put the “POP” in Your Sound Production
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Jun 16, 2015 by Anonymous

Sound is one of the major elements of any successful business event. If you’ve ever struggled to hear a speaker or been pained by feedback, you’ve witnessed first-hand how hearing a message loud and clear feels like every audience member’s most basic right. A presentation can still occur without visuals (although it shouldn’t have to), but if there’s no sound . . .

There’s no way for audience members to connect to a speaker, trainer, lecturer, or presenter that cannot be heard and understood. A message simply cannot be delivered when its sound fails to reach its target. The right audio is a delicate mixture of elements, and these elements must be customized to each event and designed SPECIFICALLY for the environment in which that event occurs.

Consider the following questions and situations:
• How much audio enhancement does a particular event need?
• How can Event Planners provide appropriate audio for an irregularly-shaped room or a room with obstructions?
• How can Event Planners deliver the best possible sound quality for an outdoor venue?
• Can the audio be optimized for very large halls or for events held in more confined spaces?
• What is the ideal placement of speakers and microphones, and how many are needed for the size of the event’s venue and audience?
• Is there a way to compete with ambient noise or other environmental sounds?
• Is there a way to provide targeted audio for exhibits or trade show booths?
• What additional audio equipment is needed if a speaker or presentation will be recorded?

A knowledgeable technology rental Account Executive can easily walk you through the best options for your event’s precise conditions—advising you about the audio solutions, and the size, number and ideal configuration of the components that an event needs, including:
• Audio distribution
• Wired and/or wireless microphone systems
• Arrays
• Speakers and subwoofers
• Digital mixing consoles
• Analog mixing boards
• Digital recording devices
• Directional sound speakers

Feel free to view our National Project Manager’s demonstration of some of the audio visual options that SmartSource Rentals is able to offer, including:
1. Analog Way PLS350 Hi-Resolution Mixer and Seamless Switcher – with 8 seamless inputs, universal analog and digital input/output, these receivers have a wide variety of inputs for options such as matrixing, HDMI, full high-definition, and full high-res digital processing scalable to resolutions such as 2048×1024.
2. Yamaha LS9 Digital Mixing Consoles – these 16 channel or 32 channel full-digital mixers provide extensive options and stability in the audiovisual market.
3. Shure UR4D Wireless Receivers – provide advanced control and robust flexibility, combining with dual pack, professional grade microphones for the best sound quality.

About SmartSource Rentals
With over 30 years of experience and 21 branch locations nationwide, SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals is expertly positioned to quickly provide any event with the advice, equipment, installation, and technology support that are necessary for successful events. Contact an Audiovisual Technology Sound Specialist today for a quote!

Lead Retrieval Technology for Any Event
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Jun 11, 2015 by Anonymous

For many business events, lead retrieval is a vital part of achieving the necessary ROI. Event Data Services is the umbrella category that helps event organizers, sponsors, and exhibitors make the real connections they need to form with attendees—gathering actionable data that gives an accurate picture of the event’s success, while also giving sales teams the networking and contact information that brings revenue.
Versatile Lead Generation Options
SmartSource Rentals offers a wide variety of products, ranging from mobile apps for use on iPads or Android tablets to physical scanning devices utilizing an Android system, as well as offering hardware devices with Bluetooth printer connectivity.
Depending on the circumstances of each event, business, exhibitor, trade show display, association or organization, the following six options can provide the ideal scanning set-up—making lead retrieval easy and effective for both organizers and attendees!

1. Expo Tools AT700 Device
This all-inclusive device contains the scanner inside the application, and offers the following features:
• Total touchscreen interface
• Simple two-button operation activating scanning
• Conveniently beeps when it picks up the barcode
• Instantly retrieves information based on the individual’s badge
• Accesses built-in qualifiers or allows you to create your own
• Battery use that lasts for the entire show
• Data viewing on an as-needed basis, both in real-time during the show or afterwards

2. Swiftium
This Android-based hand-held scanner is a slimmed down version of the scanner itself, offering the following characteristics:
• Sits nicely in the palm of the hand
• Buttons positioned on both sides are convenient for right- and left-handed use
• Scans 3 to 4 inches from barcodes
• Simply press to receive a plus sign and beep when the barcode is picked up
• Instantly retrieves information based on the individual’s badge
• A simple tap allows note-taking
• Built-in qualifiers are also customizable to your association or company needs
• Easily select qualifiers that apply to each individual
• Edit function allows you to review information, go back, and make changes
• When charged at the end of the day, the battery sled lasts the entire event—allowing you to have full scanning ability

3. Android System on Tablets and Phones
Fittingly, the Android system also works on Android tablets, offering the following advantages:
• Tablets scan through the camera on the device
• Scans at 3 to 4 inches from the barcode
• Instantly retrieves information based on the individual’s badge
• Same system is used for phones, and it allows a combination of phones and tablets to be used for scanning convenience and versatility
• Option allows for multiple types of scanners in your booth, with no learning curve

4. Scanner Attached to a Tablet
This option is ideal for individuals that prefer the larger size of a tablet but also want the scanning capabilities, allowing these benefits:
• Combining a big screen with quick scanning by placing the scanner directly onto the back of the tablet
• Through the scanning application, offers a quick and efficient read without using the camera on the device
• More “real estate” on the screen for note-taking and qualifying the individuals

5. App Download on Existing Devices
For individuals who would prefer to add scanning capability to their existing devices, this option uses an iPad or tablet with software called “LeadValu” built onto the system, offering aspects such as:
• A system that is intuitive and easy to use from familiar devices
• Option to scan, create a new lead, or recall the last badge
• Simply clicking “scan” opens the camera and pulls information from a badge
• Allows note-taking in the notes field
• Provides a pop-up keyboard
• Supplies qualifiers

6. Compact Epson Printer
This addition to our lead generation offerings is designed for events that need efficiency. It provides the following capabilities:
• Compact printing system
• Printer uses roll paper and cuts badges specifically to the desired badge size
• Ethernet and USB capability through multiple ports
• No wasted badge stock
The Specific Choices that Suit Individual Preferences
SmartSource Rentals offers lead generation products that will suit any preference and enhance your experience at events. View our complete demonstration of Event Data Service technology rentals or request a quote today!

The Eyes Have It: Ideal Screens for Event Production
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Jun 09, 2015 by Anonymous

Nothing beats visual input. “Seeing is believing,” as they say. For business events, there is no substitute for the images that clearly and immediately convey your message to your audience. For events, style and content are two critical factors that determine success—how impressed guests feel by their experience and how much they understand and retain the event’s mission.

Beauty and Purpose: Lead Your Guests with Technology that Attracts Attention
Digital screens or projection screens combine form and function—easily conveying information, while also setting the stage for any event. Screens help you create a clear focal point that puts your text, videos, and images exactly where they need to be, leading your guests with technology that attracts interest. The following technology options offer exceptional flexibility and set an audio visual foundation that is appropriate for every business event.

Digital Signage Displays – this network of plasma, LED or LCD monitors is connected and centrally managed, allowing an ideal situation for relaying and displaying information. There is simply no better method of targeting information, advertising, sponsorships, and entertainment at any event. Not only do these display systems provide a dynamic improvement over traditional signage, but they offer the additional advantage of adapting to the changing needs and schedule of your event.
Use digital signage solutions for:
• Event Agendas
• Wayfinding and Directories
• Up-to-the-minute Local News and Info
• Real-time Event Activity
• Trade Show Signage
• Sponsorship, Advertising, and Branding
• Glasses-free 3D Displays

Projection Screens – projectors and screens are a trusted staple for presentations, but their merits extend far beyond PowerPoint. Projection screens and powerful video projectors can provide fresh and exciting lighting effects and backdrops for nearly any setting—creating lightweight, flexible, economical, instant images for Event Planners and Designers.
Use projection screens for:
• Backdrops
• Projection Surfaces
• Exhibition Stands
• Conference Sets
• Ambient Lighting
• Staging or Set Scenery

Touch Screen Displays – more than just visual, touch screen monitors are interactive information centers, capable of providing knowledge as they simultaneously gather data. Touch screen displays are an informational powerhouse, offering unlimited potential, freedom from print collateral, vast sponsorship opportunities, gamification applications, lead capture data, surveying options, and interactive demos.
Use touch screen displays to give and collect valuable material for:
• Annual Meetings
• Association Meetings
• Employee Gatherings
• Interactive Applications
• Mobile Marketing Tours
• Training Events
• Digital Document Libraries
• Conferences
• Product Launches
• Political Rallies
• Charity Events
• Conventions
• Trade Shows

Video Walls – there is no higher-impact visual than a monumental wall of high-resolution screens. This impressive technology option is created through a series of LED, LCD, or plasma monitors that can be seamlessly configured to suit any need. The monitors can act independently, in groups, or present a single massive image—offering endless potential for show-stopping representations, graphics, messages, and videos.
Use video walls for:
• Indoor Billboards
• High-impact Signage
• Lobbies
• Corporate Events
• Conference Presentations
• Galas
• Theater Presentations
• Broadcasts
• Executive Meetings
• Trade Shows and Conventions
• Social Media Feeds
• Event Highlights!
About SmartSource Rentals
With a nationwide network of 21 locations, a multi-million dollar inventory, 24/7 technical support, and over 30 years of experience in technology rentals, SmartSource is a Total Technology® provider, capable of offering consistent, supported solutions that ensure that your event visuals deliver your message flawlessly!

Making those Event Connections App-en
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Jun 04, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Connecting with others is one of the primary reasons most of us attend events. We use events to meet like-minded people and as an opportunity to connect with people who are likely to become part of our customer base, or who can potentially enhance our business in other ways.

Though technology is now integrated into most aspects of business and networking, the human element should not be underrated, because in the end, events are about people meeting people.
And whether you manage an event, have an exhibit booth, or are an attendee, there are some key networking skills that we sometimes forget in this technology-driven world.

It’s better to give than receive.
When you meet someone, it’s important to find out how you can help them rather than thinking in terms of what they can do for you. This fits well with the basis of good business, which is all about providing useful services or products that make someone’s life or business better.

• Ask questions about the other person.
Having some good questions in your mind not only lets you drive the conversation and improve your networking, it can help you avoid those moments of painful small talk.

• Don’t underestimate anyone.
You never know who someone might know, so even if they don’t appear to be someone who can enhance your business, they might know someone who can. Be helpful to everyone you can. Ultimately, this will only enhance how people perceive you and your brand.

Making Event Connections – Helpful Tips and Apps
Since making better connections is one of the primary goals at events, it makes sense that there would be numerous applications designed to help you do just that. Here are a few tips for making better connections and some helpful apps that you can use, whether you’re making a connection face to face, or via technology.

1. Know ahead of time who you are interested in personally connecting with. This means you need to do your pre-event homework. Join in the before-event social media and hashtag (#) conversations on platforms such as Facebook Groups and Twitter. Keep an eye on who is going to attend or speak at the event, and then start collecting a list of people you’d like to meet. To keep track of your list, there are plenty of apps to choose from. Here are a couple of suggestions:

Evernote: this is available for almost every platform and device, and it syncs so you can start your list at home on your computer and still have it with you at the event on your phone. And the capabilities of Evernote go way beyond listing.

Awesome Note: another versatile app for creating a checklist and other items that can be synced.

2. When you connect with someone, always ask them for their contact information so you don’t have to rely on them getting in touch with you. If you connect with someone who uses business cards, there are countless apps for recording that information. Here are two to take a look at:

WorldCard Mobile: This business card reader and scanner app is recommended by the Wall Street Journal.

ScanBizCards: A business card app scanner with cloud storage.

3. One key element when you’re working to make connections and are meeting a lot of people in a short period of time is to know just how you want to introduce yourself in as few words as possible. Many people refer to this as the elevator pitch, and introduction pitches today can be in person, or online.

WowPitch: If you’re struggling with creating a short intro, or elevator pitch, there are apps that can help you. WowPitch helps you create a 30-second pitch so you’ll know exactly what to say when someone says, “what do you do?”

A couple of things that you might want to include in your pitch are the problem your product or service solves and how your service or product is the solution. Don’t go into the mechanics of how it solves the problem, because your goal is to try and be as concise as possible. And even though you may be working up some of your key phrases ahead of time, it’s important not to come off as rehearsed. A great way to avoid appearing this way is to ask the person you just met a question first and then tie your pitch into what they said. (Note, if you’re doing a lot of pre-event networking via social media here’s a Forbes article on Social Media Pitching).
Using apps to make connecting easier, and to keep track of those connections, is a great way to boost your event networking experience at any event.

Looking for more apps to optimize your event experience? Check out our article Before the Big Event – App it UP!

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