Technology: Ideal In Its Place
November 13, 2011 1 Comment
Host Committee Member, EventCamp Producer
Tahira Endean, CMP
As we began planning EventCamp Vancouver there was an overriding sense that this would follow the model that focused on innovation, Social Media and technology, following the vision laid out when these began. The fantastic thing about Event Camps however is the ability for the host committees to model innovation in the way that best suits the current EventCamp, so all eight have been quite different, and all valuable to the participants for various reasons.
Case in point, while ECV11 took place at the same time as EventCamp DC, Traci Brown and Adrian Segar stood by innovation, but focused this via a true peer conference strategy as found in Adrian Segar’s Conferences That Work, a book that shows how and why a peer conference can be optimal for small group deep-dive learning and relationship building. In the end, both events worked on many levels.
In this post we will look closely at the methodology and technology at EventCamp Vancouver. First, we believe the point of technology is
to support the message. It cannot overwhelm the message, but its power to enhance learning when used to its maximum potential is irrefutable. Below are the tools we used and why we used them.
1. Registration Website.
This gave us a place to direct potential participants to where they could find out more information on what they would gain from attending, and ultimately to register. Running on the fantastic etouches platform we were able to build the site within their space, manage the payment process, link to our social platforms including the Pathable community, and provide reports in a variety of ways. In short it was simple for both the participant and the organizer. The one requirement was a website designer to build the webpage within this and thankfully Eric Lukazewski from Echelon Design supported this process, creating a simple and clean space for finding information.
2. The EventCamp Vancouver mobile app developed with QuickMobile allowed us to do the following
- Eliminate paper agendas
- Manage a community – you could see everyone who was attending both face to face and remotely.
- Run a game that would encourage sustainability and show our participants many ways that they and our supplier partners could all contribute to making any event more sustainable, enhancing learning
- Create a gallery where anyone with a smartphone could upload and share photos
- Recognize our collaborators and make it easy for participants to find out more information about them
3. Virtually Eliminate signage
- With the support of Bell, the in-house digital and internet provider at the VCC, we showed off their kiosks, a tool that allows event planners to do a myriad of things including providing program information and collecting evaluation information if you chose
- Imagine not having to produce paper signage for every meeting room – we had one sign. The rest used the electronic screens outside each meeting room – saving on production, preparation, shipping and setup – imagine the possibilities!
- Direct Impact Media produced both our logo loop as well as our collaborator recognition and we were able to run these on the screens in the room several times during the
meeting providing one form of recognition in a green way
4. AV Basics
Ideally, a show of this magnitude has a Producer (Tahira), a Technical Director (Fred), someone to seamlessly call the show throughout without distractions, A1, V1, vision mixer, camera operators, LD and lighting op – wait basically without our collaboration with AV Strategies, Sonic Foundry, and supported by the infrastructure of Bell, lighting from Riggit and added details from Direct Impact Media, this would have been a meeting with a flipchart! All of us are grateful for the experience created that used technology to support the messages.
From the front of the house, this was a standard setup. A nice stage provided by Scene Ideas and enhanced with sustainable florals from Full Bloom Flowers, simply uplit, two screens for the audience and a comfort monitor for the presenters, along with suitable furniture for the presentations from LoungeWorks (more on how they created this environment in another post).
We also had a plethora of wireless handheld and lav mics so the audio feed would be properly captured for the livestream (and archive), a podium with laptop feed for when it was needed, music playback, video playback, ppt / keynote slides, skype specific computer for remote presentations, feeds to the live stream from all of these outputs, a camera feed from the room, and a team of experts to setup and seamlessly operate the above (did I mention the 4am move in?) who not only know exactly what they are doing, they make suggestions that make the show better, and make the right decisions that will provide the best audience experience. They come with all the right pieces, and most
importantly the knowledge and the attitude to adapt to on-site changes.
5. Hybrid Meeting – Connecting Globally
Without technology and the support of Bell, we would not have been able to share the fantastic educational offerings with remote participants. WiFi for all the participants allowed those that chose to join the Twitterverse could. With participants from countries across the
spectrum we felt very fortunate to have this option for event professionals. We were also able to get their feedback, thoughts and opinions on subjects ranging from collaboration to hybrid meetings to the challenges we face as an industry, and to have a diversity of thoughts allows the collective information to be so much stronger. It is the partnership of Sonic Foundry and their MediaSite that allowed not only the live streaming but also the ability to archive and catalog the information, so you can go back and see it when you have the time.
6. Presenter Opportunities
The VCC with its partner Bell is fully set up and able to do video conferencing from any room in the facility. The challenge we ran into was that those on the other end did not have mirroring technology, so we returned to the default of Skype. This allowed us to bring in presenters that were simply not able to travel due to their already busy schedules, but whose thought leadership we recognized would enhance the experience. This happened in real time so we could easily interact and ask questions in real time of these presenters. Thank you to Ruud Janssen, “Pink Deb” Roth, Mary Boone, Liz King and Heidi Thorne for making the time to share with us.
7. Hosts – Live, Social Media Concierge and Remote Hosts
With three hosts, Glenn Thayer live, our Social Media Concierge Marc Smith in Vancouver and Liz King in New York City engaging with the remote audience we were able to share and collect more timely and relevant information and to interact in more meaningful ways with the remote audience. Twitter is a great medium for encapsulating timely snippets and creating a cohesion of the information being shared into ways you can apply now or later, and their ability to drill down to the meaningful posts made the experience richer.
Ultimately, when technology is used to enhance learning, engage the attendees, provide information in a more meaningful way as it touches on more than one sense, allowing our brains to process the data in ways that connect the dots and make it applicable for us, then using technology is the right choice. When we add in the added benefits outlined above, the right use of the right technology is something you should be considering as you develop your initial plans and budgets for your meetings, beginning with your objectives and discovering your options. Let the learning begin!