TECHNOLOGY HAS BECOME AN INTEGRAL PART OF MEETINGS AND EVENTS, yet the landscape changes faster than most people can keep up. Here are a few things to consider in 2014:

Mobile Apps
Over the last few years, mobile event apps have become a prevalent part of meetings and events. Most significantly, the price points have been lowered and there are now apps that fit just about every budget. Attendees are expecting to see them and adoption will only increase. There will also be tighter integration of mobile event apps with existing social networks so that users don’t have to create yet another login. We will see apps like Topi gain market share as they put an emphasis on networking before the basics like agendas and speaker bios.

Social Media
Event organizers are getting more strategic use of social media. This year we will see more creative uses of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest in addition to the usual Facebook and Twitter. The key here is planners are starting to understand how these tools work and are using them with better results.

More Tablets
According to Staples, by next year there will be more than 80 million tablet users in the United States. By placing easy-to-use, easy-tocarry devices in the hands of meeting attendees, planners have much more flexibility in terms of where they hold meetings and how they distribute content. Thinking about having a session on the beach? Everyone can grab their tablets and bring the presentation with them. 

As you can see, the underlying theme is that social interaction is converging with mobile technology. This trend will make it easier to reach and engage attendees. How do you get started? Take a look at what you want to accomplish and then figure out the tech from there.


Jessica L. Levin, MBA, CMP, CAE, is president and chief connector at Seven Degress Communications, LLC. She can be found at sevendegreescommunications.com

The times they are a-changing, and that has never been truer than when it comes to selecting an A/V partner and deciding whether the in- house A/V vendor or an outside third-party provider is the right partner for you. Due to advancements in technology, lighting and other A/V equipment that has come down in price, planners are now finding op- portunities to use previously out of budget technology with a much more palatable price tag. 

 

Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.

 

No matter the scope or size of an event, it’s best to have some sort of common thread that ties everything together. This can be accomplished using décor, lighting, food, floral and even music.
 
It’s when you don’t have a cohesive look that the attendee experience can feel disjointed and not provide the outcomes you set out to achieve.