Tech hacks all event profs should know about
It will come as no surprise that event technology is developing faster than event organisers can keep up with. As soon as you learn about one piece of tech you find out there is a newer app, plug-in or AI that can do the job more effectively.
We understand that in the midst of organising events and juggling the multiple pressures associated with the job, that event professionals can sometimes get a little left behind, but it’s important to know your stuff if you want to run slick events for your clients.
At the IET London: Savoy Place we can tell you everything you need to know. We’re renowned for our own state-of-the-art technology as much as we’re known for our world-class events. Every year our in-house AV team of eight experts search for the best digital investments and new tech to ensure we’re always future proofed. We’ve outlined all the hacks, but without the headaches, on the tech you should know about.
Lighting: Often overlooked but can make a huge difference to any event space. Whether a large conference in an auditorium or a small informal dinner, additional lighting can really change the mood of the event. Venues often have different lighting options available or you can hire in some simple equipment.
- Battery powered uplighters – great versatile lighting option that can bring a room to life. Request lights in brand colours
- Production lighting – completely moveable and programmable, with customisable lighting, these lights can take your event to the next level and are perfect for award ceremonies. GOBOs (a stencil projection onto the ceiling, walls, floor or stage) can also be customised to brand logos, icons, patterns, wording and colour for your event.
- Recessed colour changing LED strip lights – a great and easy way to showcase your brand colours. Some high spec venues may offer LED coloured lighting that lets you match to an RGB colour.
Sound: Microphone choice is particularly important for conferences and there is a huge variety of options available. It’s worth investing in microphones and sound equipment to ensure your guests can hear clearly. Especially if your event is being filmed or live streamed.
- Lectern mic vs lapel mic – this age-old debate is often affected by budget. Lapel mics are discreetly attached to the clothing of speakers providing clear audio and are ideal for events with multiple speakers. Lectern mics are a cheaper option but don’t allow the speaker to move around the stage. Headset style mics are another option but can feel a little intrusive and don’t look as good if the event is being filmed.
- Catch boxes – a microphone you can throw into the audience made of a large square sponge. These are great to increase audience participation during Q&A’s. They can also reduce staffing and are totally brand-able.
- Push-to-talk mics – perfect for a boardroom setting, allowing up to three speakers to talk at once. Delegates just push a button to activate their mic when they want to talk. Available in both wired or wireless options.
Presentations: What happens if multiple speakers have multiple presentations on different devices?
Projector Choice vs LED Wall? Is there more than just PowerPoint?
- Electronic Switchers – enable speakers to switch between devices with different presentations on them, without having to fiddle with the HDMI mid-presentation. The switchers can be simple or complex depending on the scale of the conference and how many devices are being used, plus Cat 6 cabling is sometimes possible on top of HDMI.
- Projectors – built-in projectors are great, using two projectors is favourable. By using double edge blend technology you can show your presentation or videos in an ultra-wide format in cinema style quality. Alternatively, if a normal width presentation is used, the extra space at the sides of the screen can be used as Twitter walls, or for branding and logos.
- LED walls – these are panels of LED screens connected together to create a large-scale screen that’s sure to leave a big impression.
- Presentation software – we’re all familiar with PowerPoint but it’s worth checking out Prezi, an online tool, for creating dynamic presentations. If you want to include interactive elements check out Glisser or Slido, you’ll be able to utilize many features such as asking delegates to sign into your event using their phone and running questions or polls via the app.
WI-FI: Do you know what Wi-Fi capabilities you need? Dedicated or Shared? Personalised SSID and Password? Branded Landing Page?
- There currently isn’t an industry standard for Wi-Fi in venues, some venues charge, some don’t, some have fast speeds and others have slow speeds – you need to check all this before you contract – do a speed check during your show round and if you find it difficult to connect or find its slow, so will your delegates.
- If you can, find a venue that offers you dedicated Wi-Fi, this gives you the chance to personalise the SSID (choose your own network name and password), including this information on collateral, can make an event look even more slick. On top of this, you may be able to create a branded landing page with company information where delegates have to agree to T&Cs or sign in – a great way to capture data.
Video conferencing: There are many different systems to choose from. Skype and BT Meet Me are most commonly used in the UK but remember there is a difference between Skype and Skype For Business and they don’t always link up, so make sure everyone dialling in are using the same system. Polycoms systems (the hardware to enable video conference) are set up in a lot of boardrooms. Check that your venue has a bridge that can connect to a webcam on the Polycom system and that there are mics around the room so everyone can speak and be heard.
Digital branding: Venues often have LED or plasma screens set up around the building which you can utilise to brand your event. Remember, digital screens are much more sustainable than having single-use assets physically printed and take up less space, have shorter lead-in times and usually cost less.
This is just a snapshot of the technology available in venues today, but hopefully, these simple tricks and tips will help make life easier when running your next event.