As technology evolves, so do the way events use the resulting new tools, capabilities and ideas to entertain, communicate and design guest experiences.
Here are a few tech and a-v toys to put into play at your next event:
Make It Play
Crowd Activation, a division of Vancouver-based Tangible Interaction Design, is home to some very cool, experiential entertainment possibilities. Giant helium-filled inflatables called Zygote Interactive Balls energize and excite the masses. The balloons light up and change colour and patterns as guests touch, punch and bounce them through the air, and can be programmed with the potential to influence music, video or large screen graphics. Social Mosa is ideal for engaging smartphone-savvy crowds. The app grabs live tweets and Instagrams using an event’s hashtag, transforming them into a visually dynamic animated mosaic of messages on video screens. The company also offers Digital Graffiti Walls with potential to upload pix of guest “artwork” direct from the screen to print, email, Facebook or Flickr.
Light It Up
Pin spot lighting is dramatic. Traditional systems, though, require an A-V pro to install, tame power cords and work the control board. Enter Fuel Lighting, a new wireless LED lighting system that promises pin spotting beauty with easy DIY reality and remote control dimming. Fuel’s Angle Light is a goose-necked no-glare fixture that twists every which way out of a small rechargeable battery case base. Weighing 16 oz each and with 14-hour continuous usage at max wattage, the fixtures have both a magnetic strip for easy attachment to any steel surface such as metal-frame drop ceiling, and traditional clamp-friendly mounting capabilities. A handy customized extension pole helps bypass ladders for installations of up to 22 ft. Coloured gels available.
Phone It In
In this day of smartphone technology, who needs printed event materials when you can access and carry it with you online? Toronto-based TheAppLabb builds custom mobile and web-based apps including The EventsApp, a multi-event iPhone or Android platform that informs, updates and engages participants before, during and after an event. Features include intuitive icons for looking up event session itineraries, conference materials, real-time event news and announcements, sponsor lists, feedback and survey capabilities, social media integration, and registration and ticketing. Event organizers have full control over the app’s content management system allowing for content updates on the fly and interactive messaging to audiences. Organizers also have access to detailed analytics and can rebrand the app as needed.
Rental Trax extends its web-based software programs with the 3D Event Designer. An excellent selling tool for venues, the web-based cloud-computing system allows you to input a room’s dimensions, or work in a featured template, to create a virtual 3-D walk-through of the space with seating set up, colours and décor that can be e-mailed to clients. From the easy-to-navigate menu, drag and drop tables, chairs, centrepieces, dance floors, drapes, linens and more into the floor plan to create a real-time visual of seating layouts and how the venue will look decorated. The program can also provide a seating chart with guests’ names, table number they’re sitting at, and even their meal choice. An auto-generated PDF itemizes details for event day set up instruction.
Make It Stick
Have computer? Make stickers! StickerYou is an online vinyl sticker design website that lets users create their own customized designs or draw from an existing database of templates, art and licensed brand images. Affordable, low minimums deliver endless branding possibilities for events. For onsite event use and takeaways, set up interactive stations where guests can create using the company’s Make+Print packages for stickers, iron-ons and temporary tattoos. The company offers a range of sticker-based products including custom wall decals.
Build a video wall and they will watch. Using LCD screen panels like building blocks, APG Displays customizes video walls into unique angles, shapes and sizes. One recent installation saw 25 46-inch screens banked together for a presentation surface that curved – yes curved! – around a room for massive visual impact. And to generate dynamic on-screen visuals, the company recently added Hippotizer to its inventory. The compact plug-in media server enables real-time on-screen creation, manipulation and blending of moving graphics, logos, artwork, patterns and colours that keep pace with live entertainment and presentations.