By Leanne Andrecyk
Today’s busy event planners are constantly juggling copious amounts of information. Organized by nature, the planner is the ultimate multi-tasker so it’s great when easy-to-use technologies, like meeting apps, are available to help improve efficiency and streamline tasks to foster the success of an event.
At the top of the list is the smartphone – with an emphasis on “smart.” Talking and texting are the secondary functions of this little gem combining a phone, computer and camera, all in one. It is quickly becoming the Swiss army knife in the industry’s event toolkit.
The importance of technology is very evident on the day of an event but also leading up to the event during the planning and production phases, well before the high-definition projectors and dynamic video walls are setup. Below are a few “tools of the trade:”
In event production, on-site communication is key between team members. At one time, it was hard to beat the reliability of an old-fashioned walkie-talkie to get a message across, but with the proliferation of the smart phone, “voxing” is the new walkie. No need to lug around a bulky radio for instant connections. Voxer is the only live “push to talk” app that turns a smartphone into a walkie-talkie, allowing a planner to send and receive live-streamed messages.
Gone are the days of email ping-pong trying to find a meeting date that works for everyone. With the help of Doodle, planners can post the options online allowing team members, committee members or suppliers to choose their availability and vote for their preferred times.
“Real-time” online registration eliminates the daunting task of assigned seating by putting guests in control of the seating plan. Sound scary? Think again – engaging guests and delegates prior to a corporate event or conference fully engages them onsite allowing them to plan their networking strategy to connect with preferred suppliers and partners.
While on the topic of real-time, nothing is more real or timely than cloud computing. The silver lining in this technology is the demise of the event binder. Cloud computing puts the planner’s files at their fingertips anytime, anywhere via their laptop, iPad and that little gem in their pocket, the smartphone, by storing files on a web-based service that are then easily shared with co-workers, committee members or any individual who is “invited” to have access.
For those on the other side of the event fence, including guests and attendees, technology is also a given part of everyday life. Staying connected is paramount – event attendees do not want to be asked to unplug! Gone are the days that started with the polite request to turn off all cell phones and electronic devices. Event and conference formats will need to embrace technology and create innovative ways to incorporate new methods of networking into the event agendas. Encouraging onsite tweeting can actually help expand an event’s reach. Rather than limiting comments to around the table, the conversations now move around the room — and beyond — to the many business networks of those in attendance.
Advances in technology also contribute to “green” initiatives. The use of smartphones means an event can go virtually paperless with apps to provide attendees with directions, menus, agenda and floor plans. Is there an app for that? Why, yes, of course!
About the author
As VP of Innovation & Execution for ZedEvents great productions, Leanne Andrecyk oversees operations, assignments and creative direction for the company. A graduate of the University of King’s College, Leanne designs concepts and directs a production team, overseeing the exacting work that makes for successful events and conferences. As a Certified Event Manager in the Atlantic region, Leanne is a leader in the industry and was awarded Planner of the Year for 2013 by MPI Atlantic Canada Chapter.