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What in the World is Li-Fi?
Li-Fi, Wi-Fi, the future of communication, SmartSource Rentals
Dec 30, 2015 by DeDe Mulligan

More Than 100 Times Faster Than Wi-Fi

Li-Fi is a wireless technology that transmits data through the use of Visible Light Communication (VLC). Last month, researchers at the University of Oxford achieve bi-directional speeds of 224 gigabits per second or in layman’s terms, the ability to download 18 movies in one second.

Because the data transmission is so fast, the flickering of the light cannot be detected by the human eye.

Now, this same group of scientists has taken this test one step further, by putting Li-Fi in the office environment with reported transmission speeds of 1 gigabit per second – that’s right, 100 times than the average Wi-Fi system.

But what is this highly touted method of Internet communication and how can we really use it in the corporate world, at events or even trade shows?

 

What is Li-Fi?

Here is a very brief overview of how Li-Fi works:

 

History of Li-Fi

Li-Fi was invented by Harald Haas, Professor at the University of Edinburgh, in 2011 when he demonstrated that light from an LED bulb could transmit data faster than Wi-Fi at a TED talk in Scotland.

Benefits of Li-Fi 

It is secure.

Because light cannot transmit through walls (unlike Wi-Fi), any transmission that occurs in a Li-Fi area is much more secure. This would be a great use of technology for highly sensitive and confidential transmission of data from one company or governmental entity to another.

It is lightning fast.

It is easy to use.

No hardwired cables, IP configurations or radio waves to worry about – just walk into a LED sourced area and you are up and running.

It does not interfere with radio signals.

Unlike many MiFi devices, this offering does not interfere with Wi-Fi configurations. In fact, it could work in tandem with your existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Drawbacks of Li-Fi

It cannot work outdoors.

This is not a solar initiative – it works solely on LED lighting. Therefore, outdoors or any other areas where the lights are not within line-of-sight, turns off the system.

It is unclear how far the signal will travel.

Unlike Wi-Fi where you know how far the signal will go with a degree of certainty, because Li-Fi is so new, it is still unclear how far the array of light can travel.

It is not generally available – yet.

It may not be the practical choice.

Do you remember the days of Beta-max and VHS? Or 8-Track tapes versus cassettes? Usually one technology trumps another as the mainstream choice. While fiber is not readily available everywhere and it is not as fast as Li-Fi, fiber is still 10-15 times faster than current Wi-Fi configurations and it is available now.

 

Key Takeaways

 

While Li-Fi is certainly a very exciting breakthrough in Internet communications, as of today it is hardly an option for businesses or events. Until price points and reliability studies are completed, it may be just something we know about and is a cool, lab offering.

On the other hand, it is something to keep your eye on, along with improvements to Wi-Fi and fiber technology.

 

SmartSource Rentals Has Wi-Fi Options

 

If you are looking for a high performance wireless network will keep your employees or attendees connected to the Internet both inside and outdoors, contact SmartSource Rentals and request a rental quote today!

Tech Rentals for POP-UP Events!
Product Launch Technology
Dec 29, 2015 by Anonymous

Pop-up events and pop-up retail are growing in popularity—for good reason! The new economical focus on small business and business expansion has led to a rise in temporary business locations—often as part of a greater area event or promotion such as:

  • Festivals
  • Downtown initiatives
  • Citywide events
  • Expos
  • Brand “experiences”
  • Temporary exhibitions
  • Art installations
  • Pop-up museums

Pop-up retail has emerged as the antidote to stale shopping malls. By creating a limited time opportunity, businesses create spontaneity and excitement. Rather than sales and promotions located within an everyday brick-and-mortar branch, the temporary nature of pop-up retail shops uses a short-term location to deliver the message “get it while it lasts!”

While, the success of these pop-up shops depends on a wide variety of factors, one thing is certain—pop-up retailers need to impress their customers quickly, with space limitations and under temporary circumstances. Technology rentals can help!

Testing New Business (and Technology) on a Short-Term Basis

Similar to technology rentals themselves, pop-up shops offer businesses a chance to try out a new location, new product, new neighborhood, business plan, marketing campaign, new branch, or even to start a new business. With a short term rental in an existing or empty store front, a pop-up shop can test the waters, generate excitement and interest, and help revive businesses and business communities!

Here are some of the most popular technology rental options that can help your business turn an opportunity . . . into an event!

Digital Signage – considering that a pop-up shop has—well—popped up in an unexpected new location, it’s extremely important to get attention quickly. Time is limited for these shops, so it’s vital to make as big of an impact as possible, in a short amount of time and often with a short amount of space. Digital Signage can provide an eye-catching chance to display the shop’s name, logo, and other important information. Pop-up shops don’t have the chance to establish permanent signage—digital signage is essential!

IPad Kiosks with Stands – after getting people through the door, you’ll need a fool-proof way to capture payment information. An iPad kiosk is an ideal way to create an efficient, space-saving, temporary yet professional option for accepting credit card, debit card, and other electronic payments. IPad kiosks and tablets are also an excellent way to start an email list for newsletters, coupons, and information about future events—helping you to expand your customer base and roll your pop-up retail success into long-term business growth!

Internet Connection and WiFi – fast, safe, reliable Internet connection is necessary for any business. In addition to the regular business communication needs, temporary locations can help lure passers-by with free WiFi hotspots—giving another excellent reason for guests to stop in and start an interaction with your brand.

Touchscreens – there’s no doubt that touchscreens are inviting, accessible, and informative. For pop-up retail, strategically placed touchscreens can help provide guests with information on your business—helping to satisfy their natural curiosity about your business story, mission, goals, future events, and alternate locations!

Video Walls – while many video walls are enormous and many pop-up shops are small, video walls can be configured from sizes beginning with 2×2 grids—offering a proportionately large digital backdrop. As temporary shops cannot rely on the same level of customized décor as permanent locations, a video wall can provide a maximized viewing space that serves to give customers a feel for the brand using images and video rather than wall coverings, fixtures, and furnishings.

In conclusion, pop-up shops deserve technology that’s as fresh, exciting, and engaging as pop-up retail! With 21 branch locations nationwide, SmartSource Rentals can guarantee the customized technology, expert installation, and fast delivery that will make your pop-up a success! Contact us today at 800-888-8686 to be connected to the branch nearest to you!

Technology for Video Games and Gaming Conferences
videogameconf1
Dec 24, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Creating a successful gaming conference requires not only the same level of management and innovation as any other tradeshow, it also requires an even greater emphasis on technology.

As you are no doubt aware, advances in technology are taking place in all areas of our lives, and clearly the gaming world is no exception.

When you are in the business of gaming, whether you’re creating video games or are a gaming event manager, you know you have to have access to the most advanced processors, with cutting edge graphics capacity and memory.

Additionally, new technology is becoming as much of a focal point of conversations, as the games themselves. According to the LA Times:

…It’s technology as much as the games that’s driving discussions this year. Streaming technology is rapidly bringing more games to more devices. New display technology is showing promise for igniting a new form of gaming. And mobile technology, of course, continues to sprout new gamers…

And there is a lot of great new technology impacting the gaming world to get excited about.

Videogameconf2

Gaming Technology to Get Excited About

  • Virtual Reality Googles are making their way onto the market. This virtual reality technology can allow for a totally immersive experience.
  • Facial Recognition includes 3D scanning, which allows you to create your own look-alike avatar in a game, can also have the ability to allow the game to adapt to your emotions.
  • Voice Recognition is big and getting bigger. It goes hand in hand with virtual reality, which requires that the player use something different to control the game.
  • Wearable technology creates the ability for portable gaming. Fitness applications are now being blended with entertainment to create a game-like experience.
  • Mobile gaming is one of the largest growing areas as it pulls in more casual gamers, such as commuters and waiting rooms.

Launching a Video Game?

If you’re attending a video game conference for the purposes of launching a video game, standing out is the key. Here are some tips to give you that edge:

Prior to planning your gaming booth make sure all your basics are in place including:

  • Website
  • Social media presence
  • Development blog
  • Trailers (this really helps people get excited about your game)
  • Make sure you’ve tested the performance of your game. To help you with this, at SmartSource Rentals we rent computers on a daily, weekly or monthly basis with different hardware configurations to test drive your software. We offer the latest laptop rentals, iPads and PC desktops to test the performance standards and make certain your app runs efficiently on multiple platforms.

Once you begin planning to attend a gaming conference, you want to grab attention for your gaming booth and get people to try your game. Here are some basic gaming booth success tips to help you in your planning:

  • Bring surge protectors and other supplies with tape and pencils
  • Practice demonstrating your game with friends and family ahead of time
  • Remember that your booth is a reflection of your game
  • Think color in your banners and swag (keep it relevant to your game)
  • Allow people to play the game without interfering or invading their space
  • Have a call to action that asks booth visitors to do something
  • Aim to create an experience that sets you apart

That means you should consider using technology that is big and attention-getting.

But you don’t have to invest in purchasing this equipment, which can be a huge budget setback. Games can be played on a variety of mobile devices, ranging from IPads to Smartphones to Laptops. And for maximum impact, our seamless plasma video walls can be configured in a 2 x 2 or up to a 10 x 10 setup for viewer effect. In addition, we can provide custom sound setups, a key component for stand out impact.

Bottom line? Figure out something you can do to draw attention to your booth whether it’s a big screen showing trailers, or tablets with preloaded games, or giant cut outs.

Tech Rentals for Video Game Tournaments, Demos, and Conferences

SmartSource has a multimillion-dollar inventory to provide an entire network of High Definition monitors and workstations with everything you need for video game tournaments, conventions or product demos.

In 2016 aim to create your best events yet by tapping into the technology trends for that truly interactive, successful user experience, that attendees crave.

Call us at 800.888.8686 or request a quote today.

The New Sales Cycle
newsalesimage
Dec 22, 2015 by Anonymous

As Sales teams know, consumers are now more educated than ever before, due to the enormous amount of information available to them; they hold new keys and have a new empowerment. Due to user-generated content, buyers are now extremely educated (if they choose to be) about the price, value, sourcing, and competitor offerings for any purchase they intend to make—whether for goods or services.

How does this affect the sales cycle? According to a New Aberdeen study, when participants were asked about their greatest business pressure, 62% of participants answered: “Customers are demanding better service than ever.(1)

How is Technology Affecting Sales?

Although change is often viewed with skepticism, in the case of the sales cycle, technology is definitely aiding and improving sales process engineering by creating a better, faster, and—most importantly—more productive sales process. It is important to remember that neither customers nor sales teams want drawn-out sales procedures—customers want solutions, and sales departments want to close deals quickly. Technology helps shorten the process by:

  • Improving education
  • Refining lead qualification
  • Streamlining communication

While sales teams may feel additional pressure, it can be a great advantage to work with well-informed consumers who expect excellent service. Let’s evaluate each of these advancements.

Education is the Key to Conversion

Needless to say, most consumers are now FAR more educated about their prospective purchases than at any time in the history of sales. With the Internet ready and waiting at any second to answer questions, provide pricing comparisons, and offer contact information for your competitors—there is no SHORTAGE of education; however, this is why the RIGHT information and education regarding your company and products is CRITICAL. The Internet abhors a vacuum, and if you don’t flood the search engines with the correct information about your product, your competitors will be more than happy to fill the void.

The Solution: E-Literature and digital document solutions make your company’s flawlessly written promotional materials instantly available for viewing, sending, sharing, printing, or downloading on any electronic device.

Pre-Qualify the Prospects

Qualifying prospects saves time, money, and effort—ensuring that sales teams focus their resources on fertile territory. Qualifying the prospect should, ideally, not only confirm that a customer is willing and able to purchase a product, but should also provide detailed information about the customers’ unique problems and product interests.

The Solution: Lead retrieval systems are becoming more advanced each day—helping to integrating customer data silos such as: CRM platforms, marketing automation systems, contact center deployments, and help desk operations—ultimately giving a more accurate customer overview to help boost the effectiveness of your sales reps!

According to research, 63% of companies polled nominated “integrate multiple internal sources of data into a single view of each customer” as their leading strategic action. (1)

Communication Makes Sales

How Can Sales Teams Stay Ahead of the Trends? By:

  • Responding quickly
  • Working to consolidate the data on customers
  • Determining clients’ needs
  • Hearing customers’ problems and concerns
  • Finding their solutions
  • Closing the deal

Communication is the beginning, middle, and finish line of all sales. Technology and the digital era are changing buyer seller relationships—streamlining the communication that closes sales, improving customer engagement, and meeting the high expectations of service that customers now demand!

About SmartSource Rentals

With over 30 years of experience in business technology solutions, SmartSource Rentals has the trade show, conference, and exposition hardware and software that can provide deeper insight into your customers’ needs—enhancing your bottom line. Contact us today for a customized consultation about the ideal technology solutions for your business event!

 

Resources:

  1. http://blogs.aberdeen.com/customer-management/customer-engagement-has-evolved-can-your-sales-team-keep-up/

http://www.inc.com/resources/sales/articles/20070801/jthull.html

Sound Shower Update: A Case Study
sound showers, sound showers directional speakers, UnitedHealth Group, case study, SmartSource Rentals
Dec 17, 2015 by DeDe Mulligan

Turnkey Solution for Onsite Needs

As meeting coordinators were planning the UnitedHealth Group Annual Meeting in New York City last year, they realized there was going to be a problem with containing noise levels on the floor.

The planners identified eight specific locations within the general assembly where they wanted the 500-1,000 attendees to clearly view, hear and understand the unique UnitedHealth Care product offerings at each station.

Sound showers were identified to be the best solution at each of the 8 stations. As they were close and in alignment with each other, the need to eliminate sound bleeding into other stations was the goal.

The sound shower directional sound system was the perfect application for their needs.

 

The Challenge

With 8 technology stations within close proximity to each other, it was clear that conventional loud speakers would not work.  The sound would travel beyond each station causing disruption in each of the areas.

In addition, the sound showers needed to be rigged in the air because the room had an open space concept.

The Solution

SmartSource’s customized solution enabled each station to control sound to a specifically designed footprint. Once configured and designed to a coverage area, the system had the ability to “listen” to the ambient crowd noise in the room and automatically adjust the volume levels for perfect audio output levels for each station.

 

The Benefit

The integrated on board equalizer, which optimized low frequency audio amplification, made it the perfect solution for voice transmission in this conference. Each exhibitor at each tech station was able to interact with attendees as if no one else was there.

 

The Praise

According to Lisa Lepley, Executive Producer for this event from Media Loft, “The Sound Shower was a perfect solution for our needs. The audio really did stay in the specific areas as it was designed. SSR delivered, from start to finish, in every aspect of their part in our conference.”

 

SmartSource Has Sound Showers

The sound shower solution is a highly flexible, light weight solution that can work for many different installations. This product can be easily attached to a light weight structure or flown from the ceiling in any space, to accommodate any footprint.

The clean, crisp low frequency audio output makes for the perfect hearing environment for audiences in open areas where you don’t want to disturb adjourning areas.

Partner with SmartSource Rentals and use our technology expertise and network of nationwide locations to your advantage. Contact us to request a quote or locate your local SmartSource Rentals branch today!

Event Technology that’s Hot for 2016
Dec 15, 2015 by Karen Daniels

With 2016 right around the corner, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s hot for event technology, and how we can use that technology to improve both the experience of an event, as well as the bottom line success.

It’s important to note that even though technology now allows for virtual meetings and webinars, in-person events still provide the best way to build relationships, network, find qualified buyers, meet vendors, and generate buzz and interest.

eventtech1

Hot Event Technology to Use in 2016

1. Mobile Event Apps and Real Time Event Management

Mobile event apps are evolving and becoming much more than something that provides event information convenience. Because smartphones have a variety of sensors and GPS, when combined with a smart event app, event managers will be able to know the user’s likes and dislikes, what they are interested in, and their movements. In other words, mobile event apps are becoming a rich source of data for event planners and managers.

No longer do you need to wait until the end of a meeting or talk to get the results of a survey. The right mobile event app will allow you to gather data and then make changes right then and there.

Images and Social Media

If you use social media at all you know that social media channels such as Instagram are growing in popularity and that a Tweet with an image is almost twice as likely to be retweeted as one without. Streaming video apps are becoming part of events. Periscope was purchased by Twitter and so is likely to become very popular for events.

Incorporating social media into events has unlimited potential. One of the goals at your event could be to create those WOW moments that prompts participants to share in real time. You can make this sharing easier by including a “Tweet this” button in your event app that prepopulates the hashtag, for instance.

Using video walls as large screen social walls that stream all the hashtag conversations provide real time interaction that encourages people to participate.

2. Interaction and Immersion

The future is truly here and the name of the game is elevating the user experience. Curved screens and wide screens allow for the feeling of full immersion for the viewer. Utilizing this technology for PPTs and other presentations creates a whole new level of impact and immersion.

Projection mapping can add an unpreceded element of surprise and is a sure-fire way to get all viewers to pull out their smartphones to snap and post pictures.

Projection mapping, also known as video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. (from Wikipedia)

eventtech2

Figure 1: projection_mapping_by_@DoloresJoya_@CODA_ME_codame_(photo_by_j_bizzie)

Though you may associate projection mapping with large surfaces, they can be done on a smaller scale for an event.

3. Smart Personalized Content and Alerts

The use of motion capture and facial recognition can allow you to provide personalized content as someone approaches a booth or certain venue location. This can be accomplished through an RFID chip or Bluetooth technology.

Wearable technology is a growing trend and is being used in places like Disneyland to create heightened personal experiences.

Beacons are low energy blue tooth devices that you attach to venue walls, doorways, or booths, that can give off personalized alerts. They are programmed to send specific alerts to smartphones when someone passes nearby.

Uses for wearables and beacons1 can include:

  • Help attendees track different exhibit booths visited
  • Alert attendees who are leaving a talk to fill out a survey
  • User initiated automatic posts to twitter and other social channels
  • Automated voting
  • Entrance ticket
  • Cashless payments
  • Sharing virtual business cards

4. Event Intelligence

Whether you’re using smartphone apps, wearables, geo positioning, or other technology, event managers now have the capacity to get immediate answers to many questions that before either went unanswered, or could only be answered belatedly. Now you can use technology to know:

  • Who your top speakers are
  • Which types of booths draw the most attendance
  • How event activities are rated
  • Who the key influencers are
  • What aspects of your event are most engaging
  • The flow of attendees at a venue Event intelligence is all about real time information and data, and real time event management.

5. Keep Your Technology Cutting-Edge with SmartSource Rentals

The possibilities with event technology have never been greater.

In 2016, aim to create your best events yet by tapping into the technology trends for that truly interactive, successful user experience, that attendees crave. Call us at 800.888.8686 or request a quote today.

Resources

  1. Nine Amazing Meetings Technology Trends to Watch in 2016
  2. Event Tech Trends in 2016
Technology that Supports Education
techedu1
Dec 08, 2015 by Anonymous

Education is the lifeblood of many industries. Although it’s easy to think only of traditional classrooms, many business functions are designed to facilitate the distribution and/or exchange of information. According to Wikipedia (we thank them for helping us ALL learn!):

“Education is the process of facilitating learning. Knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits of a group of people are transferred to other people, through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, or research.” (1)

 

Rental Technology Adapts to Educational Needs

While it may seem that education belongs entirely to schools, academies, and universities—businesses, in fact, are constantly educating in their own ways, through:

  • Training Sessions
  • Certification Programs
  • Extended Learning
  • Product Launches
  • Research
  • Initiatives
  • Conferences
  • Trade Shows
  • Lectures and Speakers
  • Sessions and Talks

In nearly all of these situations, the business “classroom” may depend heavily on a temporary technology installation which can be setup quickly as the situation demands. A transportable classroom installation is useful for short-term sessions, traveling corporate training events, for cost-saving situations where renting saves over the cost of purchasing, or for businesses that would prefer to test out certain technology options before they commit.

Technology is Changing the Way We Learn

By 2012, the use of electronic educational technology, or e-learning, had grown at 14 times the rate of traditional learning. (1) As technology feeds our innate preferences toward convenience and individuality, we now feel that it is our right to have any information we need—immediately available at the push of a button. Not surprisingly, technology has changed the way we learn!

For modern learners, flexibility is a key factor in education now; customization and interactivity are expected. Naturally, there has been an increase in the popularity of mobile and distance learning—including online education, and virtual or hybrid classrooms, which can still provide a person-to-person experience, even across the planet! While classrooms once consisted of desks, chairs, and a chalkboard, modern classrooms are likely to include:

  • Self-directed “autodidactic” learning
  • Gamification
  • E-books
  • Touchscreens
  • Networked learning communities
  • Electronic correspondence—blogs, chatrooms, email, SMS messaging

techedu2

For traditional or corporate educators who strive to establish modern classrooms, the following technology options are the new standards:

  • IPads – iPads literally put learning at one’s fingertips, whether as individual iPads for personalized learning OR a fleet of iPads that simultaneously distributes a presentation to an entire group.
  • WiFi Connection  – whether distributing information across the room or across the globe, a fast and reliable WiFi connection is nothing less than mandatory.
  • ARS Clickers and Keypads – for in-person lectures, sessions, speakers, and presentations, audience response systems are an effective and inexpensive way to give your audience a say in the material. Use them to produce question and answer sessions that truly offer extended learning and deep discussion!
  • Kiosks and Registration Stations – for on-location events and attendees, a registration kiosk is an excellent way to welcome guests and gather necessary information.
  • E-Literature Software Solutions – an ideal technology offering for education, our ELit Station stores your information and distributes it, on demand—no expensive printing costs, wasted paper, or weighty, outdated textbooks! Attendees quickly, easily download materials such as:
    • Coursework and assignments
    • Syllabuses and outlines
    • Reading materials and resources
    • Product specs

Bringing Learning to a Wider Audience

As technology brings us the capabilities for long-distance learning and hybrid events, it opens doors to a wider audience of learners— also bringing the potential to customize learning for each individual student! Technology motivates learners in many ways; by putting us in control, offering non-judgmental instruction, providing interactive experiences, and allowing us to move at our own pace, technology helps us love to learn!

About SmartSource Rentals

With over 30 years of experience in Technology Rentals, SmartSource has learned a LOT about what makes a successful event! Give us a call today to let us apply our knowledge to your advantage!

 

References and Resources:

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education

http://mashable.com/2010/11/22/technology-in-education/#QWvEPro6Uqq4

http://www.useoftechnology.com/the-use-of-technology-in-education/

 

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