Wednesday, October 29, 2014

5 Tech Companies You Need To Know

One thing IMEX America has done for event professionals like me (buyers of services besides hotel rooms) is expand the number of technology exhibitors and attendees. Of course, you still have all of the registration companies and mobile app companies who are racing to become all things to all people. However, I found 5 companies offering very special and very needed services to our industry.

CatchTalk.TV is a free-to-use video platform for professionals. They aggregate and host high-level B2B video content from conferences, events and summits, making high-quality content from industry leaders easily accessible to you. Whether it’s a recent talk or industry-specific opinions you seek, CatchTalk.TV can provide it. You simply sign up with your LinkedIn profile. You will receive personalized recommendations to content that is most relevant for you, saving you time and keeping you up-to-date with business trends.

Crowd Mics turns iOS and Android devices into wireless microphones. Guests can simply talk into their smartphone or tablet and are instantly broadcasted over the sound system. No more passing microphones or telling your guests to get up and go to the microphone in the middle of the room! Crowd Mics can also be used for sharing text comments and polling. Wi-Fi connection is all that is needed.

Evenium's ConnexMe is a web and mobile application that allows guests to interact with other guests, take notes, share and promote their experience during events. Guests have access to the guest list and are able to communicate and share information with other guests by synchronizing their social networks. Imagine a fully integrated system that connects your content to attendees and attendees with each other!

InitLive takes a mobile-first approach to managing teams on the ground. InitLive manages scheduling and communication so the team can focus on other tasks. Through this application, managers and volunteers have access to dashboards to keep them updated on information. These dashboards are used as a gateway to access details surrounding the event. Managers and volunteers will also have access to a master schedule as well as individual schedules for the event. Thanks to this application changes can be made without having to re-print schedules and any changes made on the web will be immediately updated in the app.

AVforPlanners has been around for a year or two but their concept is so disruptive to the way planners typically source AV, it has taken them awhile to educate the industry. They offer a simple three step process: Free equipment & labor RFP builder, nation-wide AV company directory, and a comparison evaluation of AV proposals. I wish they had been around when I was an in-house planner!

If you are searching for a partner to help you with your event content marketing process, click on the SocialPoint link above. I’d love to chat with you about social networks (public or private), learning games or experiential marketing for your event or trade show booth.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Does Age or Personality Create Success with Technology?

The "generation" discussion seems to be coming into vogue again. Five years ago it was a hot topic and the reason I chose the digital divide as the topic of my blog was because I saw older people struggling to adopt a new way of networking. I saw younger people having an easier time with the technology, but not having the work/life experience to communicate well.

I'm a late Gen Xer, which really means nothing because I am a product of so many other situations and experiences beyond the fact that my parents are baby boomers. One "Gen Y" trait that I do have is that I am open to technology. This makes me think that the digital divide is the conversation we should still be having and we are stereotyping people the wrong way.

The "generation" discussion seems to be resurfacing - partially thanks to my friends +Joe Martin and +Whitney Wilson. Joe started the #GenYMtgProfs hashtag and they have now presented on the topic at least twice. I was fortunate enough to see one of these panel presentations at the MPISCC Weekend Education Summit. The topic of what future generations want to get out of meetings and events is valuable and I hope they continue to refine that discussion.

I tell people all of the time that I think success with new technology has more to do with personality than age. I know lots of baby boomers who enjoy using social media, cloud computing, mobile apps, etc. At the same time, I hear about younger people who don't use social media (or certain platforms) or are just not interested. Until Gen Yers get enough professional networking experience in the traditional (old) way of doing it, they don't make the connection to how they should be doing it online.

Regardless of whether or not "kids" are using Facebook these days, our entire society has changed and we won't be going back to a time where we don't communicate online anymore. Most people have adapted. It was harder for some than others - depending on age, to an extent - but I think personality as well. What do you think?