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Charging Stations – Is it Smarter to Rent or Buy?
rental-cell-phone-charging-station-for-trade-shows1a
Aug 27, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Technology is often one of the largest investments companies make today. Most of us can’t run our businesses without numerous types of technology and either the ability, or staff, to handle the ongoing programming needs which that technology creates.

SmartSource Rentals has been around for a number of decades. That’s why we understand so well the struggles that technology can create for any business – particularly when talking about the impact that technology can have on your bottom line.

At its best technology allows you to boost your ROI by maximizing resources, improving communication with customers, and helping you grow your brand and spread your message.

At its worst technology can create unhappy customers and limit company growth by taking up too many resources, both time and money, without contributing to your cause or expanding your customer base.

Clearly, how much you invest in your technology, whether you rent or buy, and which equipment is going to be of the best for your situation, is key for business success today.

In the first article in our “Smarter to Rent or Buy” series, we talked about the Touch Screen Kiosk.  In the second article we focused on Video Wall Displays.

In this article we will look at Charging Stations so you can better understand when it’s smarter to rent, and when it’s better to buy, to maximize your ROI.

Charging Stations

Did you know that 7 – 12 minutes is the average time someone stays at a charging station?

That’s why a charging station can be a huge boost at a trade show or event. Everyone wants to stay connected. And in order to remain connected we all need to keep our devices charged.

While they are charging their devices at your charging station you have that time to connect with a potential customer, rather than just having a few seconds.

Is it Smarter to Rent or Buy Your Charging Stations?

So, knowing what an asset a charging station can be for increasing business, let’s look at when it’s smarter for you to rent and when it might be better to buy a charging station, or stations.

When should you rent?

  • When you want your charging station/s to fit the cords and plugs for all the  latest devices. Let’s face it – device plugs seem to change a lot. Renting your stations allows you to have the most up-to-date equipment.
  • When you regularly exhibit at events and aim to try different methods for engaging potential customers. This means you don’t want to lock yourself in to one style or type of charging station since you don’t know what your future needs will be.
  • When you’ve never used a charging station at your booth before and you want to try it out to see how much it actually helps you before considering more of an investment.
  • When you want to have sponsors which can display their information on your station and you use the idea of cutting-edge equipment as part of your sales pitch.
  • When you have no idea how many charging stations you’ll use at future events. Maybe you’re setting up a cybercafé and want mobile charging stations as part of your method to draw potential customers and you don’t know how many you’ll need on a routine basis.
  • As an event organizer who wants to provide numerous sponsorship opportunities along with attendee services through charging stations.

When should you consider buying?

  • When you know for the foreseeable future what type of devices people are going to use the charging stations for.
  • When you use the same number of charging stations routinely, and you know just how they are going to be used.
  • When you have the staff and resources to deal with the programming and technology for the charging stations.
  • When you want the charging station/s for your place of business in the lobby or breakroom for your employees and you know the type of use will be consistent and ongoing.

Whether you rent or buy charging stations, they are amazingly versatile. You can use them as document libraries, digital signage, to display videos, presentations and demonstrations. Charging stations can enhance your booth design and deliver your information to a captive audience while providing a highly desirable service.

If you have any questions about charging stations, how to maximize their use, or if you are trying to determine whether it’s more cost effective for your business to rent or buy, please contact us at SmartSource Rentals today.

 

Easily Create a Private Network with a Wireless Array Station
wi-fipic
Aug 25, 2015 by Karen Daniels

The success of any event rests heavily on the quality of WiFi, including both access to the Internet access as well as speed, safety, and ease of use. No longer is it satisfactory to simply provide WiFi for attendees and exhibitors. Event attendees and exhibitors expect instant, safe access for not just one device, but for all their devices. Which means that event WiFi has to be designed and setup to handle the maximum number of devices at peak usage times.

The truth is that most built-in venue WiFi, such as what you might find at a hotel, does not have the capacity to handle thousands of devices at the same time. So setting up a more robust WiFi system falls to those planning or managing an event. WiFi is one of those things you offer at an event that you want people not to notice. In general WiFi users only notice it when it doesn’t work well, when they can’t easily sign on, or when it’s too slow.

The right event WiFi system will offer your users:

  • Safety and Security. Internet security is becoming more and more of an issue as personal and critical information is transmitted during all phases of an event. Public WiFi systems always contain certain security problems so providing a private network is now more important than ever.
  • Speed and Ease of Internet access. Attendees now come to events with many devices, from smartphones to tablets and computers. And, often, they will want to have many, or all, of their devices online at the same time. This means your system must have enough bandwidth and capacity so people can get online quickly and easily.
  • Privacy. Setting up a private network for your event means your event won’t have to share bandwidth which will help you provide enough for high-demand usage times. This also means it’s easier to control the privacy of the users, since there is no public access.

Advantages of the SmartSource Wireless Array Stations

Our SmartSource Wireless Array Station gives you the capacity to create your own private network, or multiple private networks, for your event. And the advantages go beyond the privacy factor. This type of properly designed system gives you numerous additional advantages including adequate bandwidth, control, and the ability to monitor usage.

Bandwidth with the right number of routers. 

  1. Our wireless arrays come in different sizes, with each size having a different number of routers. This gives you the flexibility to easily have the right number of routers in the right locations at your venue.

Control

  1. Not only will these wireless arrays allow you to provide private, fast Internet access for all your users, it also gives you a great deal of control. For example, you can program each router within the different wireless station for different users. You might set up one router for attendees, one for exhibitors, and another for show management, each group with their own SSID sign in information. This gives you huge advantage of being able to create multiple private networks at a single show, helping to ensure that bandwidth is allocated as needed. For example, your exhibitors will never be without adequate WiFi to conduct business and take orders during a show. This can reduce tech support calls and reduce exhibitor satisfaction.

The Power of Monitoring

  1. You can monitor all activity on the SmartSource Wireless Array system with a computer. Through monitoring you are able to see who is using how much bandwidth. This gives you the ability to limit bandwidth on an individual basis, if needed. For instance, if you have a rogue user who is streaming video when they are not supposed to, you can limit that person’s bandwidth.

You don’t need to be a wireless expert to ensure that your event has the proper WiFi coverage and security. Surround yourself with the right technology experts and equipment and you can easily create powerful, safe, private networks for your next event.

For more information and to see the SmartSource Wireless Array Station in action, check out our Wireless Array Station video, hosted by Steve Shatsoff, Sr. VP, Technology Products & Services at SmartSource Technology Rentals.

An Abstract Video Wall – the Secret for a Remarkable Exhibit
Multi Monitors
Aug 18, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Events and tradeshows give your business one of the best opportunities to boost brand visibility by standing out.

In fact, isn’t that one of the primary reasons why we exhibit at events – why we’re willing to invest the time and money?

With that being true, it is surprising, then, how many businesses choose to exhibit at a tradeshow but then settle for the same old type of booth they’ve always had; maybe a 10×10 space with a table and bowl for business cards.

But rather than generating leads, all this type of booth does is create a scenario where one exhibitor blends into the next, leaving the attendees to wander the exhibit hall with a trail of already-forgotten booths behind them.

Don’t be one of those easily forgotten booths…

And there is really no reason for this to happen when technology gives us the tools and ability to easily create a remarkable exhibit which leaves people talking, aware of your brand, and inclined to become a customer.

Introducing the Abstract Video Wall

When it comes to technology, anything unique gives a great hook for initially grabbing a viewers’ attention.

So if you’re looking for a unique new way to creatively highlight your product and business an abstract video wall is your solution.

The SmartSource Abstract Video Wall Product is a large display created by using multiple monitors in different orientations. The traditional video walls you’ve probably seen usually form a square or rectangle pattern.

But an abstract video wall can be created with any size monitors linked together in any number of configurations.

mutlimonitor

Beyond the high-impact factor, this product is also simple to use.

The monitors run off a computer and you can preprogram everything. This makes it a snap to change out which videos are running, or which images are going on which screen, with the simple push of a button on the controlling computer.

With the right team and proper planning and preprogramming you’ll be able to design a great series to be shown, which keeps your content fresh and powerful throughout the entire event.

The creativity an abstract video wall gives you opens new doors for your brand and product messaging. 


Best Practices for Creating a Successful Abstract Video Wall

Too many businesses lose sight of certain simple guidelines when they gear up to use a video wall display at an upcoming event.

No matter which configuration you’re using for your video wall, traditional or abstract, just like any other technology, you can’t use it in any old way and expect grand results.

The entire idea of a creative new technology product, such as the abstract video wall, is to give you the opportunity for high-impact messaging.

No business wants to put in the time and money an event takes and not maximize ROI. So here are some basic guidelines to help you create an abstract video wall that will give you the most effective impact.

  1. Select the right partners. Everything you do right at an exhibit, including your video wall, begins with your team. Selecting the right designers, staff, and expert technology partners is key. You may, or may not, have the right people on your staff. Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry experts as needed.
  2. Dazzle your audience. Focus on the right brand message and how to best showcase your brand. The information and message on your video wall needs to part of the overall impact you’re creating. In other words, your message and how it’s incorporated with the abstract video wall is just as important as the technology itself. Yes, you want a lot of people to stop and view your wall. But more importantly you want them to get and remember your message and become excited about your brand.
  3. Balanced use of media to convey your message. Choose the right graphics and the right number of images. If you select too many images viewers don’t notice any specific one so you lose the opportunity to make the specific visual impact you are seeking. And if you select the wrong graphics or videos you won’t be sending the message that you intend to send.
  4. Be creative. An abstract video wall presents new ways to get your message out and gain leads. So don’t be locked in with what you’ve done before. Have your team think outside their previous messaging box to take full advantage of this unique technology product.

To learn more about the multi-monitor Abstract Video Wall Product, check out the video hosted by David Schmerback, Digital Communications Coordinator at SmartSource Technology Rentals:

http://nsp.performedia.com/ss/ts15/multi-monitors

Ask the Experts: Why Do You Need Custom Programmed Kiosks?
Interactive Kiosks - Featuring Live Flight Information
Aug 13, 2015 by Anonymous

Kiosks are revolutionizing business. As the self-service movement sweeps across all industries and into every consumer demographic, businesses have only two choices—adapt to the new consumer preferences or fall behind the competition. While it’s easy to assume that only B2C purchasing is affected, B2B marketers know first-hand that large-scale purchases are still determined by human decision-making, and the self-service movement is changing both business realms.

From grocery store check-out lines, event check-in registration stations, and video vending machines, to that miraculous self-service kiosk at the Department of Motor Vehicles (yes, you’re still waiting in line for twenty minutes, but it’s a LOT better than three hours)—kiosks are becoming the standard, preferred interaction between any business and its customers (even if those customers are, in fact, other businesses). Why?

  • It saves time when you don’t need to explain your situation. Most of us go into a business already knowing what we really want—self-service kiosks are the easiest way for us to get the information that we need and to make our decisions, without ever involving the “middle man.”
  • Kiosks keep things simple. Of course we want social interaction, drama, and EXCITEMENT!—we just don’t necessarily want them when we’re trying to quickly renew our auto registration over our lunch break.
  • Kiosks take us directly to the information or services that we need. We’re all well aware of—and now completely accustomed to—the amazing ability to access nearly all documented human knowledge from the smartphone in our pocket; however, we know how much information is out there, and we deeply appreciate anyone or anything that can cut down on the work it takes to get us our answers.

Consumers are seeing more and more businesses apply kiosks to their B2C and B2B interactions, and this is an excellent tribute to kiosks’ functionality, popularity, and success! However, businesses are only gaining the benefits of this convenient and interactive technology when the units are programmed correctly—both technically and with the customers’ goals clearly in mind. What elements need to be considered?

Front End Programming for the Ideal User Interface

Although it’s easy to think that kiosks are “plug and play,” it takes a trusted technology advisor and expert planning to ensure that the interaction between customer and kiosk runs smoothly. Unfortunately, the average visitor has very little patience for errors or wait times, so a single glitch can taint the brand relationship permanently.

Furthermore, without a human customer service assistant, any inconvenience experienced at the kiosks can go unaddressed and unresolved. If a cash register experiences a glitch, a cashier can offer sincere apologies, offer alternative assistance and even offer discounted or free services. If a kiosk has a glitch, a customer eventually leaves feeling slighted, even offended—an experience that can sour their feelings about the brand forever. The stakes are very high; however, if kiosks are expertly programmed, they offer an unparalleled opportunity to connect consumers to content—any time, any place!

Kiosks can be programmed to offer any information, including:

  • Digital Document Libraries
  • Registration services
  • Presentations and videos
  • Cyber cafes, WiFi and Internet connections
  • Locator services and interactive sitemaps
  • Lead Retrieval Systems
  • Event promotions
  • eCommerce
  • Agendas and schedules
  • Application software and App downloads
  • Surveys and questionnaires
  • Games
  • Live news or Social Media feeds

The information that a business, event, or organization chooses to offer will depend completely on the wants and needs of their target audience. A skilled technician can create the programming that combines any number of options and services—creating the ideal kiosk for any situation.

Back End Programming that Achieves Precise Goals

A flawlessly designed and executed user experience is the primary goal of any kiosk setup; however, for businesses, one of the main benefits of kiosks is that each keystroke the customer makes can provide vital feedback. An expert technician can help businesses communicate with their audience through sophisticated self-service and fast access to complicated information. Better still, an expert programmer can facilitate and finesse the following critical business objectives:

  • Custom software design and applications
  • Exceptional software development and deployment
  • Observable design process expertise
  • Custom deployments and solutions
  • Successful software integration and tweaking
  • Custom enclosures
  • Field support
  • Reporting, data management, and analytics on the back end

Programmers are the only trusted source for customizing:

  • Databases
  • Servers
  • Data access layers
  • Operating systems
  • Graphical user interfaces
  • Command-line interfaces
  • Content management systems
  • Source code

Kiosk technology, while endlessly adaptable, is FAR from “one-size-fits-all.” A true technology professional will ensure that your customized software has a front end that serves the customers’ needs and a back end that serves the needs of your company!

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