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August 1st, 2013

meetings tech - great new apps, in particularWe strive to keep all our readers updated on topics of interest—from the marketing directors, meeting planners, and session producers that count on our convention rentals, to the computer artists and other media professionals that rely on our high-tech gear. Today, we’ll cover 5 New Technology Tools for Meeting Planners & Event Organizers, spanning the entire process from planning, budgeting, and promoting to organizing, managing, and chronicling the event.

Some of the “trends” are new apps or programs, some are behavioral or organizational approaches, and a few are conceptual.

1. Lighten the Load—We are just entering the post-PC era, so if you don’t need to rent laptops for meeting or conference attendees, iPads are a lighter alternative. Before long, if you have a particularly powerful smartphone or phablet you may not need a separate (larger) device at all. Storage is no longer an issue with DropBox, GoogleDrive, and other low- and no-cost cloud storage accounts.

2. Business Is Social, Too—Interacting with Facebook and Twitter users is a natural, low-risk means of communicating with stakeholders and customers—before, during, and after meetings. Social media also has advantages like broad  “message penetration” and hashtags that make following certain stories or news trends much easier (#eventprofs and #eventtech are two of the busier hashtags in the event industry). And YouTube is a must, say many meeting planners, since the sights and sounds of your (past) successful events prime people for your next one.

3. They Call It “Social Curation”—You might just call it publishing, because that’s what sites like Paper.li do. Related stories, blogs, and images from around the Internet can be rmake a hashtagounded up (“curated”) into a “virtual newsmagazine” on any subject. It won’t be long before devices with flexible controls and screens are available for reading your digital mag like a scroll, too. And there are many ways to curate: Pinterest enables photo aggregation, while RebelMouse lets you make a homepage for all the social media content and feeds you want, then lets you embed it in other sites (like a real-time conference recap).

4. Digital Dough—You  may not need to carry a wallet or money at all anymore. Many wallet apps are working just fine now, so you can dispense with carrying (and worrying about) cash. You can access your wallet account on your iPad rental, your phone, or in your own (human) memory, and use it when you need it, safely and securely. The technology also means you can receive payments, even from credit cards, with services like Square.

5. One-Trick Ponies—Some apps are specialized to deal with one particular meeting-related issue. TechSpec, for instance, is a free app for both Android and iOS that aggregates data about meeting venues—WiFi bandwidth, square footage, local hotels, etc.—onto a single page. The Roomer app lets guests or organizers who cannot get a refund on pre-booked rooms try to recoup their money. And apps like HotelTonight find last-minute cancellations, sometimes at dramatic savings. Finally, Speedtest.net enables meeting planners to check a venue’s actual, real-world bandwidth and compare it to what’s advertised. (The bare minimum for streaming video is 1Mbps.)  This provides the opportunity to select a different venue, or plan ahead by securing a wi-fi rental solution.

One call to (877) 266-7725, or a quick message, connects you with an experienced Account Executive. Whatever your needs, we will work with you on unique and effective solutions to your business’s specific challenges. As always, if you know what you need you can visit the Quick Rental Quote page and take care of business right now—24/7/365!

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