SmartSource Rentals Blog


Event Beacon Technology for Better Decision Making & Revenue Growth
Jun 21, 2016 by Michelle Bruno

Beacon technology in the event industry is picking up steam. While it was originally designed in conjunction with event mobile apps (and many providers still deploy beacons that way), it can also be implemented (sans app) using a wearable. Either way, beacons deliver actionable data, which can translate into more compelling customer experiences and revenue opportunities.

Exhibitor App collects in-booth data; beacon readers placed around show area capture activities in common areas; everything is processed in the Cloud. [/caption]

Heat maps—an aggregated visualization of how event participants move through a space—can highlight (often in real time) areas of a trade show floor or meeting space that are either heavily or sparsely trafficked. If the lack of activity in a location is chronic, planners can take action in any number of ways:

  • Place a food or beverage cart in the area, so that attendees have to walk by the poorly trafficked booths or area in order to get a soft drink or snack.
  • Send out push messages via the event mobile app with coupons, gift certificates, or bonus game points for attendees that check into booths or visit the area.
  • Review the layout (post-event) to determine what may have been the cause of the diminished footfall and prevent it from happening in the future.

Beacon technology collects the attendee’s identity, the day/time that he arrives to a specific place, and the length of time he stays there (dwell time). With such simple data points, planners can see who has visited the trade show floor or meeting rooms, as well as how often and how long. So, if attendees leave and reenter multiple times throughout the day to, for example, have private meetings, make phone calls, attend sessions, or grab lunch, planners can make changes to keep attendees inside the event and save them the trip:

  • Place more amenities inside the show or conference space: napping pods, food and seating areas, smartphone charging stations, quiet areas with good cellular/WiFi connections, and interesting demonstrations.
  • Schedule conference sessions and show floor hours so that they don’t compete with each other.
  • Place readers/beacons offsite (in hotel lobbies, at elevator banks, or by the pool) to determine whether attendees are actually even interested in the meeting content and make programming changes accordingly.

Show organizers can track attendee activity in real-time and make decisions on the fly from data shown on the beacon dashboard.

Depending on the provider, beacon software can report on any number of data points, including the user’s role (director, manager, VP), department (marketing, IT, communications), or type (attendee, exhibit staff, speaker). It can inform planners of the average number of trade show booths visited or average length of dwell time in certain locations. Event organizers can use such fine-grained detail to build additional revenue streams:

  • Selling data back to exhibitors, ranging from a segmented list of attendees (a list of all the CEOs that visited their booths whether they engaged with staff or not) or reports on everyone who came to the booth, how long they stayed, and with whom they engaged in a format that can be exported into the firm’s CRM.
  • Justifying the sale of larger booth spaces to exhibitors that register healthy numbers of highly valued attendees compared to others with smaller booth footprints.
  • Charging companies more for sponsorship opportunities that yield high-value data vs. those that only deliver awareness (hanging banners, for example).

Proximity data (who, where, when, and for how long) can also reveal behavior patterns, such as “session hopping” (when attendees visit multiple sessions in an hour rather than stay in a single one-hour session) or “scan and dash” (when an attendee allows his badge to be scanned (often to obtain CEU credit) at the entrance of the room, but leaves before the presentation is finished. With this kind of intelligence, planners can make some specific changes:

  • Reduce the length of presentations so that attendees can get the information they need in a shorter amount of time (three 20-minute sessions of highlights vs. one-hour of a PowerPoint lecture).
  • Modify the business rules around what makes an attendee eligible for education credits (visiting multiple related sessions for fractional credit, for example) to make it easier for them to get credit.

When beacon technology supports a strategic plan for meeting event objectives and is provided by a vendor that understands the event industry, it can be one of the most powerful tools for enhancing the customer experience and discovering new business opportunities.


To learn how beacon technology can create opportunities for revenue and improved attendee experience at your next event, click here.

How to Choose a Large Display for Business
Jun 01, 2016 by Michelle Bruno


The demand for large, visually stunning, and multi-functional displays for business is increasing. After all, we live in a content-driven, increasingly more sophisticated, global society in which the medium really is the message. That’s why choosing the right display for the right purpose is important. Here’s a brief primer on what to look for in large-screen displays and how to evaluate the options that are available.

To ensure success at your meeting, there are factors you must to take into consideration to determine which display is best suited for your content. For example:

  •  Location: If you’re using the display to play high-definition product videos (think car dealership showroom), you may opt for a large screen size and high-definition capabilities. In a boardroom, where you’re more likely to show PowerPoint presentations than HD videos, you can save money with a lower quality image display.
  • Distance: If the viewers are far from the display, you may need better resolution and a larger display size. The opposite is true in a small conference room, where viewers can only back their chairs up so far to avoid feeling like they’re in the front row of a movie theatre.
  • Interaction: In a collaborative setting, the touchscreen features (multiple touch points and handwriting recognition) and display size may be more important than screen resolution. Also, if remote participants will be “dialing” into meetings, multi-screen models that can deliver multiple content feeds at once are a great option.
Old School: New display technology negates the need for multiple screens to display content from more than one source, as shown here.

Old School: New display technology negates the need for multiple screens to display content from more than one source, as shown here.

What is the state of the art today?

In order to understand the differences between offerings, it’s also important to know the language of display technology. For example, Ultra HD or UHD is an umbrella term used to describe a high-resolution video format. Compared to the lower resolutions of high-definition (HD) and standard-definition (SD) video formats, Ultra HD content (like UHD movies or videos versus a PowerPoint presentation) look best on a display that is capable of showing Ultra HD content.

Samsung 4k display for business

New Technology: The picture-by-picture function of the Samsung QM85D Display allows for 4 HD content feeds at once.

4k displays deliver about four times higher resolution than the current HD screens — perfect for 4k content, but in addition at least one model from Samsung’s QMD series can also run four HD resolution content feeds simultaneous. This means in a business meeting, one can run a live feed, a video conference (or two) and a digital presentation at the same time, making for a very efficient meeting environment.

A liquid-crystal display (LCD) that modulates light, backlit using light-emitting diodes (LED) that produce light, offers better image contrast. LCD displays with LED backlighting can also be compared to organic light-emitting diode OLED backlighting. “Where an [LCD-LED] TV produces color by shining the light produced by LEDs through color filters, an OLED TV uses LEDs that generate both light and color.”[i] OLED displays are super thin, as well as malleable, but are most notable for the image contrast, which is superior to LCD-LED displays.

Touchscreen technology has evolved rapidly in recent years to become the gold standard when displaying interactive content, like training programs. It allows users to click and swipe using their fingers (rather than a mouse or keyboard) to control the content management system associated with the display. Some of the models like the Sharp AQUOS BOARDTM Interactive Display System offer multiple, simultaneous touch points and drawing points, and large format and natural writing experiences so that multiple people can work on the same display at once and draw or write rather than only click or swipe.

Finding the right display can be complicated. Unless performing exhaustive research on which cathodes and diodes give you the best image for the best price is your thing. Working with an expert technology solutions provider like SmartSource Rentals that knows the technology, knows the venues, and understands the business of meetings and conferences, will provide you with peace of mind when you need it the most.

Planning to use display technology at your next meeting?  We can help you figure out which display works best for your content. Call us today at 800-888-8686 for a consultation or click here to request a quote.








The Best Meeting Planners Pay Attention to Learning Styles
learners, style of learning, SmartSource Rentals, technology
Apr 08, 2016 by DeDe Mulligan

If you are holding a corporate training session or a conference with hundreds of attendees, it is best to recognize that individuals learn and carry away the information in different ways.

Today’s blog post will address Neil Fleming’s Visual, Aural, Read/Write and Kinesthetic (VARK) model and the tools you can use to drive home a crystal clear understanding of the content.


4 Learning Styles



Visual learning is a style in which content is associated with images. According to Tech News, 30% of all learners are visual. It is estimated that 90% of information that goes through the brain is visual, making this the largest group of learners.

Given this information, your speakers, sponsors and exhibitors need to present their materials in a visual manner. This can include the following technology offerings:

  • Video Wall rentals as gathering points for conference news, live streaming of conference content and/or photos that recap meeting highlights.
  • Kiosk rentals where attendees can view speaker photos and trailers, the trade show floor map and sponsor logos.
  • iPad rentals that can be used as second screens for viewing live content — from anywhere in the conference domain.


Auditory learning is a style in which a person learns through conversation. An auditory person depends on hearing and speaking to learn. It is estimated that 25% of all attendees fall into this category.

It is vital that this group hear the speakers and learn from each other. Therefore, a great sound system needs to be in place for the presenter and there must be ample time for Q & A as well as the opportunity for attendees to group together via gamification, networking and/or mind-mapping techniques that can spur on conversational learning.



This style of learning uses the printed word as the most important way to convey and receive information. The learner takes in information via handouts, manuals and notetaking. 10% of all learners fall into this category.

Having the information in a central location such as a Digital Document Library that is accessible on a tablet or laptop rental where notes can be taken, will cut down on binder, paper and pen costs, as well as, showing your commitment to the environment.



Kinesthetic or tactile learning is a style in which learning takes place by carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration. This style represents about 15% of the population.

Smartphones, tablets and touch screen monitors have applications that allow individuals to activity participate in learning. A good representation of this might be a hackathon or playing games.


Combination of Styles

About 20% of the population represents a combination of the styles listed above. Therefore, it is essential that you apply the event style to more than one way of learning. Having different alternatives (i.e. a visual PowerPoint presentation with backup documentation online) can serve your attendees well!


SmartSource Rentals Has the Technology for Different Learning Styles

We are dedicated to helping attendees retain the conference material in a way that will maximize learning. To understand more about our offerings, simply request a quote and one of our experienced Account Executives will work with you on technology solutions that will meet the needs of every attendee.

7 Tips and Tricks to Keep Your AV Budget Under Control
budget, AV budget, SmartSource Rentals
Apr 04, 2016 by DeDe Mulligan

The budgeting process is probably the least favorite part of a meeting planner’s job, but it is an essential part of the job. Ironically, the more time and effort that is put into the planning phase, allows for less time spent on explaining budget overruns to your board and/or boss.

Here are seven tips for building a better AV budget from start to finish.


AV Budgeting Tips and Tricks


  1. Review your event history.
    Look at your actual audio visual costs and your post-event notes for the last three events of similar size. Did you have overruns? If so, why? Was all the equipment used? Is there new technology available to replace older, costlier equipment?
  2. Remember AV in Cleveland is not the same as NYC.
    If your meeting wants to go from a second- or third-tier city to a first-tier city or from a Midwest location to the east or west coast, there will be additional rental costs when you do so. Both demand and labor are higher; not to mention the cost of inflation. As long as your boss and/or committee knows this going in, your budget should be fine and should be upwardly adjusted.
  3. Identify all costs, but add some cushion.
    AV rentals may include delivery and handling fees, service charges and gratuities. When you are working with a new partner or reviewing RFP responses, be sure to ask for all the fees associated with your AV equipment rental up front.In addition, be sure to add 5% to your budget, for any unexpected charges you might encounter at the event. If you need to “sell” this to your boss, tell them you don’t plan on using it, but it is for insurance purposes only. Explain any unused portions will be returned to their budget immediately following the event.
  4. Ask for the sun, but settle for the moon.
    When negotiating, it is okay to ask for big discounts and concessions, however, be prepared for some push back from your AV supplier. Many new equipment choices are in high demand so your partner does not have to discount the rental fee as much. In addition, with the economy rebounding, AV companies are busier than ever.Bottom line: Don’t have unrealistic demands. You don’t work for free and you should not expect your vendor to do so either.
  5. Get everything in writing and constantly communicate.
    Most budget misalignments come from assumptions on the part of the planner and AV organization. It is vital to get all your AV needs in writing from the speakers to the exhibitors and everybody in between.Review the budget every two weeks via a short, standing conference call.
  6. Determine who is authorized for additional charges.
    When onsite, identify 1-2 individuals who can sign off on additional charges and make certain to convey that to your rental supplier via email and on the contract.
  7. When onsite, ask for a daily AV charges review.
    If your event is several days long, at the end of each day, spend 15-20 minutes reviewing your AV charges thus far. It is easier to contest a charge onsite than wait 10-15 days after you are back at the office to review line item charges.

SmartSource Rentals is Your AV Budget Partner

At SmartSource Rentals we take great pride in delivering technology solutions that give our clients peace of mind through the entire event while saving them money in the process.

We have the largest national footprint in the industry with 175 certified and trained technicians to support you. Give us a call at 800.955.5171 to learn more about our offerings or submit an online quote.

Follow These Strategies to Better Engage Event Attendees
engage attendees, SmartSource Rentals, polling attendees, Audience Response Systems rentals
Mar 22, 2016 by DeDe Mulligan

Interaction + Fun = Participation


Every conference I have ever attended strived to be the best, better than last years and better than the competition. Even though the conferences had great motivational speakers, the message was many times lost – even just a few days after the event. Why? Because they were not speaking to me about my work challenges, I could not apply anything concrete from their advice.

What can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen at your next conference? For starters, attendees need to feel they can bring the meeting messages back to the workplace and implement fresh ideas immediately. While they crave knowledge, it has to be relevant. Oh, and by the way, the delivery of the message has to be entertaining, too.

Here are six tips as identified by Meeting Professionals International, along with my own suggestions about ways technology can aid in the learning process.


Prep Your Attendees for the Message

Before the presenter comes out, spend several minutes creating curiosity and buy-in about the message. Many times attendees don’t know what the presenter is all about until the 2-minute introduction by the event emcee. Prepping the audience can help attendees ask better questions and direct the speaker’s dialog to what attendees want to hear.

Keep the Speaker’s Content Simple

Complex content with over-scripted PowerPoint slides is out of style. Determine what is absolutely critical and, if necessary, give your presenters a template to follow that limits the number of words on a slide and the number of slides in a deck.

Learn from Each Other

Rather than having the presenter do all the talking, let learning occur between meeting participants. It is estimated that 70% of a person’s job is learned from their peers, so it is a natural extension for meeting attendees to both teach and learn from each other.

Switch Things Up

Hire storytellers, show a video and/or review a case study and discuss the salient points. All of these activities can potentially evoke emotions and spur conversation to help attendees grow.

Poll often

Whether you use a polling application on a mobile device or an Audience Response System (ARS) rental, it is important to ask relevant questions throughout the meeting so content can change based on the request and input of others.

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate

Whether your meeting is large or small, live or virtual, collaborating around a large Smart TV rental makes a lot of sense. You can pull in documents, add comments, video conference with experts around the world and create an action plan that can be sharable, instantaneously, on the cloud.

SmartSource Rentals Helps Engage Attendees

SmartSource Rentals is dedicated to making your attendees’ meeting experience as memorable as possible. Simply request a quote or initiate a chat and one of our experienced Account Executives will help provide the best technology rentals for you from our depth and breadth of inventory.

Creating a Product Launch to Remember
Product Launch Technology
Mar 14, 2016 by Anonymous

A product launch is a critical time for any business. These sensitive events are the big reveal after months or—more likely—YEARS of research and development. Not only is a product launch the debut of an item, offering, or service, but these events are deeply intertwined with a company’s image and branding. The company speaks about the product, but the product also speaks volumes about the company, while—ideally—vast numbers of your target audience are watching, listening, and learning.

Needless to say, it is vitally important that a product launch accomplishes the following goals:

  1. It defines your product. Customers must understand what your business is offering and why they need it.
  2. It distinguishes the product from any competitors. In a perfect world, your product is so groundbreaking that it HAS no competition. In the real world, your product launch will clearly present your offering’s advantages ahead of its competitors.
  3. It positions your brand as an industry leader with innovative ideas, follow-through, and a strong future—a brand that is constantly developing, adapting, and ahead of the game.
  4. It will reach your target audience. The product was developed with a specific customer in mind. The product launch needs to reach out and connect with as many of those customers as possible.

Successful Product Launches Depend upon TECHNOLOGY

If your product launch begins with a “voice,” technology is the amplifier. The right combination of technology rentals will increase and enhance your brand’s message—delivering the compelling high-quality content that will inform your audience about the product and jump-start sales! Start the conversation by using technology such as video walls, lighting, staging, and interactive tech rentals that can become a talking point in their own right! Consider the following technology options:

1. Digital Signage – Use digital signage to ensure that your product and brand are presented with perfection and consistency, while accommodating multiple content formats and allowing for minute-by-minute edits and adaptations.

2. Touch Screens – Use interactive displays to connect guests to videos, surveys, e-literature, social media, games, contests, contact information, QR codes, and all the product information they could possibly want. Options include: digital walls, LCD touch screens, iPads, tablets, and interactive touch screen kiosks.

3. LCD Projectors and Screens – Use projectors and screens to present visual or written material, as well as backgrounds and logos!

4. Video Walls – There’s no better way to present a captivating visual display to a large audience. A video wall presents your images in eye-popping dimensions!

5. Charging Station Kiosks – Charging stations offer a useful service to your guests and increase the time spent at your event. Guests spend an average of 7 to 10 minutes at charging stations—during which the units’ built-in screen is offering product videos, a call-to-action, or additional content.

6. MacBook Pros and Laptops – For some product launches (software and gaming come immediately to mind) an audience needs a hands-on approach to connecting with the material. Laptop rentals can give guests a chance to experience a product for themselves.

7. IPads and Tablets – Encourage personal involvement and expand your fan base by offering contests, sign-ups, social media options, newsletter and email opt-ins, and giveaways related to your product and brand. Tablets are an inviting, space-saving way to give guests digital access to sign-up for your promotions.

Product Launch Technology from the Experts

Whether your product launch is a single event or occurring at multiple locations, consistent brand and product representation is crucial for your business reputation. When you choose SmartSource for your product launch technology, you can guarantee that our team of dedicated technicians will manage and support your event’s tech rentals from start to finish. Our nationwide network has inventory coast-to-coast, to cover your events—any time, any location! Get a quote from the experts, today!

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