Making sure that facilities under consideration are able to power both your program’s — and your attendees’ — technology requirements is the topic of “Tech-Friendly Venues,” the latest video in The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Inspiration series, presented by PCMA and PSAV Presentation Services.
As Dena Kaufman, the COO of Opus Events Agency, explains in the video, planners usually look for specific things in their venues, such as the capability to access the Internet “at a vast level” or the ability to provide electronic signage. But you can’t assume that every venue is able to meet your particular group’s needs without communicating those needs. And that requires that you first understand your attendees.
Kaufman gives Wi-Fi as an example. Producing events primarily for financial-services and technology clients, Opus uses what Kaufman calls the “times three” rule — many of their attendees will come to meetings with a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone. Being able to use all of their devices to access Wi-Fi is increasingly an expectation of attendees across the board, Kaufman said, which needs to be factored in to your bandwidth requirements.
“So much of it comes back to communication,” she said, and conveying your specifications before the meeting. You need to have “collaborative conversations with your vendor partners” and an understanding of “the parties that play within a convention center or hotel.” That can mean asking your venues if they have other technologies that can be brought in by other players, or getting advice from subject-matter experts if you need help understanding those technologies or what it is that you’re paying for.
In the end, all of that groundwork should enable attendees to get the most from their conference experience. “So much of the future of events is the audience taking in the education the way that they want,” Kaufman said. “Not the way you want to give it — the way they are comfortable receiving it.”