Friday, January 29, 2016

When planning a meeting overseas—or hosting a group of international executives—there are subtle, yet important, social cues to keep in mind. Here are tips for executing meetings that show proper respect for cross-cultural nuances.

1. Know your audience.

As with any event, knowing your audience is key when planning an international meeting. “A good rule of thumb when hosting any meeting—regardless of the culture or the location—is to know your audience,” says Andrew Flack, vice president of global marketing for Hilton Worldwide. “If your audience is culturally diverse, it's important to understand and respect their customs to ensure the meeting meets its objectives.”

2. Do your research—and ask lots of questions.

Flack stresses the importance of researching cultural customs before planning a cross-cultural meeting and ensuring that all meeting attendees have been brought up to speed. “Cultural training needs should be determined in the planning stage and evaluated based on the meeting attendee,” he says. However, a specific company's culture should also be taken into account. “No audience can be generalized or stereotyped,” he says. “To ensure meeting professionals customize each event based on their client's specific objectives and audience, it's important that they develop a relationship with the host and ask the right questions in the planning stage.”

3. Respect tradition.

While asking questions is encouraged, it's also key to know the enduring business traditions of different cultures. “While preferences in meeting details could change based on advances in technology, location, or diversity of the meeting audience, the sentiment of the custom will remain,” Flack says. “For instance, it's important to acknowledge a Chinese attendee's business card—and receive it with two hands when it's presented.”

And while planners may have researched customs prior to an event, they should be flexible in case of surprises. Will Milligan, owner of Will Milligan Events, has hosted meetings for international groups in the D.C. area. “A unique cultural experience occurred during a lunch at a five-star hotel in Washington, when a former government official from Asia insisted on paying a very large lunch bill all in cash kept in a handbag,” he says.

4. Stay flexible.

Different cultures have different meeting customs, which may or may not resemble the habits planners are used to. “Flexibility is key when considering start times, size of the delegation or group, and protocol seating” for international events, Milligan points out. “Inevitably some groups run very late, others bring extra guests, and some like to keep official remarks short and and spend more time in casual conversation and interaction.”

5. Take food and beverage, environment, and group dynamics into account.

To better understand international customs, Hilton Worldwide asked its team of meetings and events pros from across the globe to provide tips on conducting successful face-to-face meetings in their respective markets. The survey tapped into food and beverage, meeting environment, and group dynamics. Some tips that emerged: In Australia, it's considered gauche to discuss business at a meal until the main course is served. (During the appetizer course, it's typical to make introductions and set the agenda, but real business talk doesn't begin until later.) In Japan, seating position is crucial at a meeting, and attendees are placed according to their status. Seating cards could be key for Japanese meetings. And for meetings in the Middle East, the Hilton team determined that planners should consider placing a Koran or prayer mat in the center of a meeting space. Another tip: in the United States, millennial meeting guests notice the quality of coffee or tea at meetings, so choosing a higher-end option could be a wise investment.

6. Don't underestimate the power of a good meal.

Milligan says that standards for event fare and wining-and-dining scenarios have been elevated across the globe. “Whether it be a first-class dining experience for Russian oil executives, a fine Bordeaux [wine] for Chinese businessmen, or the best seafood restaurant for a Kurdish delegation, [all meeting attendees] value efficient service, private settings, and menu items not readily available in their home countries,” he says.

7. A meeting should reflect the customs of its attendees.

Say organizers are planning a meeting in the United States for a group of executives from China. Which area's customs—China's, or the host country's—should inform the meeting's design? “The success of a meeting depends on the output from the meeting attendees, so the attendee and their customs and preferences should be considered first and foremost,” Flack says. “That said, there are also creative ways that meeting professionals remain culturally appropriate to the attendee, while also highlighting local customs.” One common way to incorporate local customs? Design a menu that reflects the best offerings of the city the meeting takes place in.

8. In-person meetings are almost universally preferred.

Hilton Worldwide recently commissioned a survey across the United States, the United Kingdom, and China of white-collar workers ages 18 and up. The survey's results “confirmed that business professionals prefer face-to-face meetings over alternative communication methods, such as video conference, email, or phone calls,” Flack says. “And respondents agreed that in-person meetings are typically set up either to achieve a business goal or reach a decision.” Milligan holds all his cross-cultural meetings in person. “We find that body language and personal contact during international client events is key to the success of the event and would be lost through virtual meetings,” he says.

Source: BizBash

8 Things Planners Should Know About International Meetings

When planning a meeting overseas—or hosting a group of international executives—there are subtle, yet important, social cues to keep i...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

We've had the flash mobs, human statues, walking TVs, students collecting funds in booths and fundraising dinners. How else can we make an impact on causes for fundraising? Nothing beats human interaction.

<p> A Pop Art-style diorama at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles HomeWalk event showed a park with a...

A Pop Art-style diorama at the United Way of Greater Los Angeles HomeWalk event showed a park with a 3-D bench, designed to represent a common plight of homeless veterans in town.

Photo: Andrew Herrold
<p> Another photo station featured a bedroom painted on a brick wall, meant to convey the seriousness of the problem...
Another photo station featured a bedroom painted on a brick wall, meant to convey the seriousness of the problem for homeless families.

Photo: Andrew Herrold

<p> Mobile billboards told real stories of unique individuals.</p>

Mobile billboards told real stories of unique individuals.

Photo: Andrew Herrold

Themed walks or runs

Student showcase or concert

How to Make Fund-Raising Walks More Interactive

We've had the flash mobs, human statues, walking TVs, students collecting funds in booths and fundraising dinners. How else can we make...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

If you want to anchor your exhibit space while providing an
overhead identifier that attendees can spot from aisles around, 
then a full-blown booth ceiling is one way to go. Problem is, 
the massive components can require endless hours to install. 
Another option, then, is to scale things down a bit with limited
 architecture and/or lightweight materials. Providing branding
 and identification as well as eye-catching allure, these six 
examples generated interest and awareness. By Linda Armstrong


Dynamic DPI
Exhibitor: Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc.
Show: National Association of Broadcasters
Design: Jack Morton, New York, 212-401-7000,

Even the slightest movement can trigger a fight or flight reaction,

causing us to evaluate the source. That's why this dramatic jumble of red dots, 

which swayed and rotated ever so slightly, was so effective at attracting attention. 

Fabricated by Cogswell Design Inc., the design was spot on.


I'm Lovin' It
Exhibitor: McDonald's Corp.
Show: McDonald's Europe Worldwide Convention
Design: DesignShop Inc., Orlando, FL, 407-251-1800,

How can overhead eye candy do double duty? For McDonald's Corp. the 

answer was to turn these dangling delights into messaging and 

delineation devices. Three oval, unfinished-wood constructions marked 

three unique spaces within the larger exhibit below.


Bottle Topper
Exhibitor: NurnbergMesse GmbH
Show: Co-Reach
Design: Ueberholz GmbH, Wuppertal, Germany, 49-202-280-960,

To communicate a complex message about digital media, NurnbergMesse

 GmbH used a simple device: recyclable-plastic bottles. Roughly 3,000 of them

 formed a suspended "cloud" over the exhibit space, which included a water feature

 filled with floating bottles housing paper messages.


Upwardly Mobile
Exhibitor: FAMAB
Show: EuroShop
Design: Gtp2 Architekten, Dusseldorf, Germany, 49-211-550-299-10,

This ceiling structure from the German equivalent of the Exhibit Designers

 & Producers Association comprised members' head shots suspended via wire.

 Relatively easy to construct and install, the moving mobile captivated visitors 

and shined a spotlight on the association's members.


Lights Fantastic
Exhibitor: Lighting Science Group Corp.
Show: Lightfair International
Design: DesignShop Inc., Orlando, FL, 800-685-7702,

Sometimes, ceiling elements are just as functional as they are aesthetically 

pleasing. In this exhibit for Lighting Science Group Corp., 11 light fixtures

 comprising orange-fabric cylinders drew the eye, highlighted the products, 

and formed a delicate curve over an angular space.


The Great Pyramid
Exhibitor: Panasonic Corp.
Show: InfoComm International
Design: Lynch Exhibits Inc., Burlington, NJ, 609-387-1600,

Amid a neutral color palette, this 41-cube, inverted, fabric pyramid from Moss Inc. 

featured pops of brilliant hues. Colors ranged from blue and green to what almost 

looked like electric streaks of pink and purple, courtesy of projection mapping 

from Camagine Design. 

Six examples of Exhibition Overhead Identifiers that Generated Interest and Awareness

If you want to anchor your exhibit space while providing an overhead identifier that attendees can spot from aisles around,  then a fu...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Conference themes aren’t whimsical tomfoolery. They play a very important role in your association’s ability to connect with your audience and reach your business objectives.
If you’ve ever been to a themed party, you know the creativity and fun it brings to the event. Association conferences are no different. A theme can certainly liven things up and breathe new life to the event, but it also does some remarkable things for your business objectives.

How to Select a Pertinent Theme
A theme offers a condensed version of what you’re interested in accomplishing. Things you’ll want to consider when selecting an effective theme:
– Your audience and their interests/needs
– The host city and how it ties in
– Something that is in line with your objectives that personifies them, but still leaves some room for interpretation

Once a theme is selected, it should permeate all aspects of your conference.

A Theme Unifies Objectives and Provides Focus for Events

Themes don’t have to be kitschy costume parties. They can be whimsical or serious but they should always focus on a business objective. For instance, a “Focus on the Future” theme sets the tone for presentations, conversation, and innovation. It signifies to the conference goer that this will be a forward-thinking event. You won’t be hashing out the same old topics. You’ll be charting a course for future success.

A successful theme shapes your conference agenda and personifies your objectives for the event.

Keep Content Interesting with an Event Theme

Your signature event requires a lot of content support. You’ll create content on the host city, content around the keynote speaker, miscellaneous content for newbies, etc., but after a while your event content can start looking formulaic and like everyone else’s, especially if you begin marketing and creating the content shortly after the last event ended. That’s nearly an entire year of content surrounding your event!

A theme gives you something new to say about your content – a new filter with which to create. It should color your social media posts as well as your video and written content. A theme also draws people in, makes your content feel unique each year (and not another post about what to bring to conference), and gets people excited about the event. It helps attendees draw connections, which makes people more engaged and supports more lively discussion.

A Theme Generates Buzz

Attendees will get excited about a well-chosen theme. If you take the time to select something with mass appeal to your constituency, one that resonates with them, they will help you with the marketing of the event. The excitement will build with each piece of shared content and their posts may elicit questions from others who see it in their streams. Themes are interesting. Themes draw a crowd.
Themes effectively shape your marketing collaterals and the big reveal of what your yearly theme is can generate a buzz on its own. For instance, the Higher Education Users Group (HEUG) ties its conference theme tightly into its host city. The theme and host city reveal are widely anticipated.
Speakers Feel and Understand Direction with a Theme
One of the hardest things to do when you select a big name keynote speaker (and any speaker outside of your industry for that matter) is to ensure s/he understands your audience and their needs. In order for the keynote’s message to resonate with them, the presenter needs to speak the language of your audience. They need to understand your audience’s concerns and goals from an industry perspective. For the largest emotional appeal, speakers need to know what keeps most of your audience up at night.

When you create a theme you’ve taken that into account. Your theme should, and must, resonate with your group. It will give the speaker meaning, context, and focus for his/her content. It provides a subtle direction of lens in which to view his or her approach. TED and TEDx events incorporate themes as “taglines” for their wildly successful speaking engagements. Past themes include: “The Substance of Things Not Seen” and “The Big Questions.”

Themes Have a Visual Appeal

Themes bring visual appeal to your message. The theme can, and should, influence everything from your meeting logo to your catering and snacks. Attendees should be able to glance at components and collateral in a large conference center with multiple conferences occurring at once and know which ones are yours merely by scanning.

Your conference theme anchors and shapes all visual aspects of your event including logos, apparel, giveaways, and other graphic representations of your event.

In Conclusion

A theme is not a silly party. It is a meaningful reflection and interpretation of your event’s goals and objectives. It functions as the elevator pitch for your conference and helps people understand in a very short period of time what your event is trying to accomplish. You don’t need a theme for your conference to be successful but why pass up a way to encapsulate your mission to your attendees and the outside world in such an effective way?

Source: Event Manager Blog

5 Things a Theme Can Do for Your Next Association Conference

Conference themes aren’t whimsical tomfoolery. They play a very important role in your association’s ability to connect with your audienc...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lighting, lectern selection, and accessibility are all key components in producing a successful stage setup for speakers.

The lectern and stage setup at the Big Bang Gala at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in June 2013 allowed easy access for speakers.  Photo: Show Ready Photo
The lectern and stage setup at the Big Bang Gala at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco in June 2013 allowed easy access for speakers. 
Photo: Show Ready Photo

Setting up a stage for speakers and presenters may seem like an uncomplicated matter compared to creating an elaborate performance platform. But the success of a presentation—and of the people delivering their messages—depends on nuanced (and sometimes overlooked) details like size, lighting, and accessibility, as well as the right selection of microphones and lecterns. Industry experts offer their tips for producing stage setups that are operational, effectual, and impactful at meetings and conferences.

Choose the correct height.

Consider attendees’ sight lines and comfort when raising the stage. “For any presentation, I always like to be at least 12 inches high off the ground so that audience members have a good line of sight,” says Jon Retsky, co-owner and lead designer of San Francisco-based event design and production company Got Light. “For larger galas, big stages, bands, big fund-raising events, or fashion shows, we typically go as high as three to four feet off the ground to help elevate the speakers and presentations and give a good line of sight for all guests.”

Use appropriate lighting.

Lighting should be properly situated for all of the individuals who will be standing on the stage at various heights. “This requires research from the event team on who will be on the stage, and working with the lighting designer,” says Todd Hawkins, C.E.O. and founder of Los Angeles production company the Todd Group.
Though it may seem surprising, Retsky says stage lighting is often the most-forgotten element, especially during summer months when organizers assume daylight will be adequate. “Once that sun goes down, your presentation will be in the pitch black,” he says. “Adding a stage wash for basic visibility will make your presentation pop with light, both before and after the sun goes down.”

Make sure audio is loud and clear.

In addition to lighting, quality sound also contributes to the effective communication of target messages and to an overall positive audience experience. “The core of staging design begins with audio,” says Corporate Magic senior creative director Stephen Dahlem. “It may sound simple, but you can add all the … bells and whistles … to a presentation, but first and foremost the audience has to hear. If an audience cannot hear, they will not care. The correct style and amount of audio is key to delivering the fundamental message of any successful event.”

Select microphones based on speakers.

Some speakers may feel more comfortable speaking with a hands-free lavalier microphone, while others may prefer the comfort of a handheld microphone they can raise or lower to their preference. “We try to have both lavalier and handheld microphones available so we have options,” says Stacy Seligman Kravitz, the director of events and stewardship for the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
Beyond that, she advises having speakers arrive early, when possible, to build comfort with their mics and other details of the setup.

Pick the right lectern.

A lectern may seem like the most basic and ordinary of staging needs for presentations, but selecting the right one is actually a critical task.
“If it’s an acrylic [lectern], ensure it is spotless and clear of scratches. Particularly as the light hits it, any and all imperfections will show,” Hawkins says. “If it’s a custom-built lectern, ensure it’s built correctly to aid and support your presenters.” Additionally, he says, organizers should make sure there is enough space for speaker notes and relevant reference materials to minimize unsightly clutter.
Beyond that, it’s also wise to have a lectern on site, even for those who think they’re unlikely to use it. “[It] can help calm a presenter’s nerves,” Retsky says. “It gives presenters a prop to lean on, to read from, and [to make them] feel more comfortable.”

Keep it simple.

Elaborate stage decor or sets may pose a distraction for speakers, as well as audience members—those watching live or those watching virtually or at a later time.
Hawkins says: “Simple is more. We can go overboard with flashy sets, but in my experience the best staging is when I keep a very simple layout and design, as the more complicated sets don’t always ­translate well in photos or on camera.”
That being said, decor could serve a strategic purpose when necessary. “One need that was specific to one of our esteemed trustees was that she did not want her legs showing through the Lucite lectern,” Kravitz says. “Because I shared photos of it in advance, she was able to share her concern, and we addressed it with a selection of greenery on stage that is not always part of our staging plans.”

Allow easy access.

A stage with insufficient or complicated access can pose a threat to a successful event. “Are there performers who need a special way onto stage or have props that require to be rolled on or can come up steps? Additionally, when I’m producing charity events, there are often surprises where folks come to the stage who might have not originally been written into the script—so it’s important to have a fully accessible stage,” Hawkins says.

Remember: Size matters.

Retsky says the number of speakers will likely dictate the appropriate stage size. “If you only have one speaker at a time, a massive stage will dwarf the speaker and minimize the impact of the speaker or presentation,” he says. “Are there panelists? If so, you’ll want a larger stage and want to think about where to place the lectern, if any, so that the speaker can communicate seamlessly and with the panelists.”

Source: Bizbash

8 Tips for Creating an Effective Presentation Space

Lighting, lectern selection, and accessibility are all key components in producing a successful stage setup for speakers. The lectern...

Monday, January 4, 2016

Facial and gesture tracking, expanded use of virtual reality, and a focus on creating frictionless user experiences are some of the topics that will impact events next year.

Virtual reality is one of the technologies that will gain traction at events in 2016. Photo: Courtesy of Hill Holliday
Virtual reality is one of the technologies that will gain traction at events in 2016.
Photo: Courtesy of Hill Holliday
BizBash asked industry professionals to share the event technology tools and topics that will impact their work in 2016. Here are their predictions, gathered through phone and email interviews.

Mobile Matters

“Mobile isn't a trend, it's a reality. The majority of Google searches in 10 countries, including the United States, now happen on mobile devices. The majority of digital advertising (62.5 percent, according to a recent eMarketer study) will be spent on mobile advertising in 2016. Digital components of event experiences are under even more pressure to be mobile first than other forms of marketing, and 2016 is the year where brands shouldn't be thinking responsive or adaptive, but truly mobile first. It's how people are exploring today's digital universe in a big way. That means being Google Maps-friendly, integrating travel details with TripIt, considering geofenced advertising, having a mobile website and a mobile app, thinking about whether your emails are mobile optimized, and much, much more.” —Ben Grossman, vice president, strategy director, Jack Morton Worldwide
“When you go through an event and you see people, the majority of the time, most of the people are just watching their phones. So the ability to design experiences to pull people away from their phones becomes more and more critical. In 2016, how do we tie technology through their mobile device back to what’s happening as a real experience on the show floor or in a common area? It’s around the trend of Internet of Things. Devices are able to speak and communicate with each other and have this sharing of content that can occur.” —John Woo, vice president of design and creative, Global Experience Specialists

Improved User Experience

“You have all these different pieces of technology—beacons, apps, digital signage—but they don’t work together. The big thing that will happen next year is the integration of these things so they work together to create the most seamless experience for people. It will be driven by a lot of technology that will be released in the next year or two—the Internet of Things—what will finally happen is it will be practical.” —Wilson Tang, senior director of experience design and digital strategy, FreemanXP
“How can I connect your complete experience? I want to remove transactions, I want to remove redundancy. So how is the first time I enter information then carried on throughout the entire experience? I never have to enter it again, you know who I am, you’ve optimized my experience, all by virtue of the fact that I have some sort of identifiable R.F.I.D. or N.F.C. or beacon on me that then connects your event experience. The great benefit of that is it then turns an attendee into an active participant. That’s what I get excited about regarding the user experience.” —Kirstin Turnbull, director of account development, Mosaic

Facial Recognition

“Where we were doing a ton of R.F.I.D. even a year ago, we’re doing very little now. A lot of R.F.I.D. I used to do I’m replacing now with facial recognition. Where you used to use an R.F.I.D. bracelet to actively check in and for tracking and measurement at events, I am able to accomplish the exact same thing passively by looking at the human beings that are there. Seeing what dwell times are, when they are coming in, how many times they come back. The ability to implement facial recognition at scale and the cost of doing it [has come down] and… I’m able to anonymize the data very easily. I don’t have to worry about the cost of shipping and broken parts and things. And it requires far fewer calories, even no calories, for the people attending an event. It’s so cheap and easy to deploy these cameras, software, algorithms, and to work with companies that are providing facial recognition technologies. The biggest challenge we have is helping our clients understand it’s not a big brother thing. We live in this video monitoring environment, and we’re leveraging that benefit for our clients.” —Jason Snyder, chief technology officer, Momentum Worldwide
“The idea of facial tracking and mapping is coming into a little bit of a new space. We just built a prototype for an event with very simple facial tracking. It’s really accessible now through standard web cams where you can track facial features, overlay graphics, create playful visuals. It’s interesting for photo experiences. But then the deeper implications of where this research is going now in terms of understanding and responding and creating really personalized responsive content in terms of emotion is very interesting.” —Jamie Barlow, vice president of creative technology, Sparks

Virtual Reality

“We’ll see even greater adoption of virtual reality, and expect interactivity to be a bigger part of the overall experience moving forward as the spectacle of 360 video or 3-D 360 within a headset isn’t impressive anymore. This means more physical elements in the virtual reality activation space, longer experiences, and integration of more sensors to create a more complex virtual world. The bifurcation of virtual reality hardware will force event marketers in the planning phase to differentiate and chose their display headsets early on so experiences can be tailored to the specific strengths, weakness, and differences of Samsung Gear, Oculus VR, Google Cardboard, and the host of other products likely to hit the market in the coming year.” —Mo Twine, senior interactive producer, MKG

Data Analysis

“By fusing data from marketing automation systems (generally held by digital marketing teams) with event registration and tracking systems, we begin to get a more complete picture of attendees' behaviors and value to organizations. Adding a layer of predictive analytics over that data analysis can help us understand how to anticipate needs, create better experiences, and make investments where they're projected (with statistical rigor!) to really matter. Event marketers need to ensure they have someone on hand who can speak the increasingly complex language of data.” —Ben Grossman
“We are working on a number of projects related to event data. All these different systems generate massive amounts of data. Every time you access your app, every time you log into a website. How long did it take the system to respond, what did you do, where did you mouse hover. People finally get to see what’s going on at their event. We can gather meaningful insights, and you will finally be able to figure out with hard data what is the return on your event, what can you do to improve it, what can you do to enhance the user experience. In the past I might hire a DJ because I think you like this music, now I can have it tied to your Spotify in registration so the music you like is playing when you walk in. Analytics will be coming to events in a big way.” —Wilson Tang

New Challenges From Shifting Control

“More and more the attendees are having the ability to control and stream content live from the show. Content control is slowly shifting from the marketing team to what the attendees are actually bringing in terms of transformation of space as well as their ability to create their own content onsite in the middle of your event and push it to their followers. So we have to understand that attendees are no longer passive. This loss of control is an interesting dynamic because it pushes us to try to create better content to capture that audience. The ability to create these moments along the attendee journey—to be able to feed the audience content that you want them to share versus them finding their own content. I think it will be critical in the way we leverage technology and the way that we have conversations with our attendees during our event. It’s an opportunity and a scary challenge. More sophisticated marketers will start to leverage this challenge, conquer this fear, and create content that is more engaging and more meaningful for people share.” —John Woo


“The event industry is woefully behind when it comes to other parts of the marketing world. Digital advertising has had Google Analytics for more than a decade. If I drop something in my Amazon cart and decide not to buy it, I start to see that product in ads across the Internet. As creepy as that sounds, that’s commonplace now. So you’ll start to see a lot more of these what I call advanced digital marketing techniques come to the world of events. So maybe you go to an event website and don’t purchase, then you’ll start to see ads pop up for that event. Almost every part of the marketing world has advanced techniques for social media. They use dashboards and utilities that allow you to target all sorts of social platforms. Right now that hasn’t been done much at events.” —Wilson Tang

The Access Economy

“I think 2016 will be the year that we see the complete disintegration of the distinction between business technologies and consumer technologies. Attendees want to navigate events with the same tools and apps they use in their real lives. They are looking to buy back time by 'outsourcing' tasks and errands as you can see with the surge of brands like Blue Apron, Shyp, and Luxe, and they are going to expect the same conveniences, efficiencies, and quality. From a planning standpoint, we’ve already tapped into the access economy and have used services like UberEvents where you can pre-pay for rides and give attendees the freedom to manage their own schedule as far as when they leave and in the manner which they are used to on an everyday basis.” —Angela Stassi, vice president of marketing, Barkley Kalpak Agency

LED Displays

“We are seeing a much greater use of LED both panels and monitors in the event environment. It always amazes me that in a meeting environment you’d put adults in a space for eight hours straight—which they’re not used to—then we feed them at lunchtime and put them in a semi dark room and wonder why their attention spans go away. By using some of these newer technologies that can overcome the ambient light of meeting space, it allows you to have brighter learning environments… which has been proven to keep people’s attention and it’s much more conducive to adult learningThe other value of LED technology as display technology is it allows you to readily do different things within a room and the space, to alter the look to battle what we refer to as “room fatigue.” You can make subtle changes to the room without completely resetting the room to trick to the mind into thinking it’s a different experience. If you are doing widescreen LED display, you can change the area where the content is, maybe a little to the left or right. It does enough to the mind that you look at that room a little differently, and you have a much better experience from an attendee perspective.” —Jim Kelley, vice president of sales and industry relations, Production Resource Group


“Where I see next year going is the ability for more personalization with R.F.I.D., beacons, etc. We envision events where the content interactions change dynamically based on the participant’s preferences and prior interactions. So it’s not so one size fits all, it’s tailored to the specific participant. Augmented reality is where virtual reality was before. Microsoft is doing hololens, it’s another layer of interactivity. It goes from virtual to augmented. And if you look at Magic Leap they raised $1.4 million for their very secret augmented reality startup. I don’t think it’s next year, but you’ll start to hear more and more of it. But the technology can only be as good as the rational for it to being there. Implementing the technology without a plan on how it fits into the overall experience creates a bad user experience.” —Bryan Icenhower, president, IMG Live

Gesture Technology

“Motion control within a large audience can start to change what’s on the screen or on a wall or what happens in an immersive experience… so the attendee can start to transform the event space. Now you have environments that are reacting to the people that are there—being able to have the attendees just walking through a show hall and having the entire hallway transform into a specific content message just because they’re walking in front of it. It’s a special reveal that makes the audience stop. Digital architecture, large mural screens, the way that [technology] interacts with people through motion capture and gesture technology is going to be something that is more and more visible in 2016.” —John Woo

360 Photos and Videos

“A technology we’ve seen a lot of lately and [that is] coming around to adoption is definitely 360 video. You might think of it as panoramic, but it will also lay the foundation of what’s behind virtual reality content as well. On a mobile device you can turn your phone or pan with your finger to look around a scene or literally put it into a virtual reality headset to be immersed inside a scene. It’s becoming cheaper and more acceptable, and being adopted by major platforms [with] Facebook and YouTube both supporting 360 video now. So 360 photo booths, video booths are something you’ll start to see more of. You’re not being dictated what the frame of reference is that you are supposed to be viewing a story from—you as the viewer get to choose that frame of reference. It’s a more immersive experience of content. Live-streaming 360 video is not there yet, but think about Periscope. As the viewer I’m watching my screen and looking at whatever the person who’s shooting that video is pointing their camera at. If it was a 360 camera I’d have the ability to rotate that view anywhere I want to look because it would be capturing the entire scene. So if you have a 360 rig in the middle of a sports event or a trade show hall, I could look around from a particular vantage point and explore visually the environment on my own.” —Jamie Barlow

Data as Decor

“The first thing I was thinking of is how can I make data beautiful. How can I use information and storytelling to make dynamic visual displays and guest interactions. Taking that information and linking it to my goal and purpose so I’m still conveying content that is interesting, useful, and relevant, but how do I deliver that in visual form and not just use it as an activation, but actually incorporate it into decor in my spaces?” —Kirstin Turnbull

Security Issues

“What can be shared? What information should flow from one system to another? We are definitely looking at how to protect participants and their data. Does it scale, and will my attendees be protected as information flows, for example, from registration to the app? These are technical and societal issues that will come to the forefront when it comes to events. As an industry we’ll start to address that in a much more stringent and more professional kind of way. It’s been very haphazard.” —Wilson Tang

Artificial Intelligence

“Machine learning and deep learning are growing more powerful by the day, and in turn artificial intelligence is increasingly tangible as an enterprise software tool. Deep learning and A.I. will make it possible to analyze traffic data through an activation on day one and have the computer spit out a new installation arrangement to maximize retention for day two. To give you a sense of how immediate this is, Google just open-sourced its artificial intelligence engine TensorFlow to encourage advancement and adoption. There are other open-source A.I. engines available, but when it comes to data that matters, no one does it bigger or better than Google.” —Mo Twine

Custom Construction

“We’re seeing newfound appreciation for the old ‘vertical integration’ model. As experiential and event marketing grow as a part of the marketing mix, the emphasis is moving from logistics (putting on an event that runs smoothly) and into the creation of experiences that dazzle. This often requires specialized fabrication and engineering. That requirement is growing as brands seek to achieve differentiation of their brand activations via superb craftsmanship that enhances their brand.” —Scott Kellner, vice president of marketing, George P. Johnson Experience Marketing
Source: Bizbash

#2016: Tech Trends to look out for this Year #tech #eventtech

Facial and gesture tracking, expanded use of virtual reality, and a focus on creating frictionless user experiences are some of the topics...


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