Friday, January 6, 2017
Already deep in your 2017 meeting and convention planning? When we think of a new year, we automatically think what trends will be impacting events—particularly when it comes to audio visual technology. With major innovations in the audio visual sector, it can be challenging to weed out marketing hype from creative ideas that can actually be carried out without logistical nightmares or budget-gouging costs.
We spoke with Mr. André Cauchon, Director of Business Development at Freeman Audio Visual, to give us his unique perspective on what’s next for event tech.
Technology leverages content
“I think one of the most important evolutions in event audio visual is that planners are starting to focus on the content first—and then deciding with their partners what technology can help them deliver that content in the most engaging way possible,” explained Mr. Cauchon.
“In the past, audio visual suppliers were often called upon to intervene very late in the event management process. But now, with event professionals focusing more on the overall content, experience and engagement, audio visual suppliers are now involved upstream right after a host city and venue are chosen.”
What Mr. Cauchon has observed is indeed a change in planner’s audio visual mindset from, as he puts it, “just focusing on the wow” to actually determining what the event’s communication’s goals are and aligning the technology accordingly. “I believe that audio visual partners, such as Freeman, are becoming communications consultants. Content has always been king—and we know what technology will add value to an event.”
"Content has always been king—and we know what technology will add value to an event.”
Engagement continues to takes center stage
Another trend that Mr. Cauchon deems showing no signs of slowing down is the ultra-important, sometimes elusive notion of attendee engagement. “Events involve major budgets. And with attendees being solicited for their precious attention, audio visual technology is a powerful weapon to keeping people engaged throughout an event,” added Mr. Cauchon.
“We’re light-years away from speakers performing monologues and displaying mundane slideshows.” Mr. Cauchon pointed out that Freeman is balancing main conference speakers with second screen infotainment to increase attendees’ concentration and retention of information. Other means of engagement? Interactive kiosks that provide additional event information tailored to the specific needs of attendees.
Which leads us to Mr. Cauchon’s third trend…
Audio visual technology and sponsor branding
“Results-driven sponsors are demanding, now more than ever before, more bang for their bucks when it comes to visibility at events,” said Mr. Cauchon. Logos in an event guide or on a few posers here or there simply don’t cut in anymore. “Audio visual technology can be a planner’s best friend when it comes to convincing sponsors to partner with an event. The branding opportunities are really amazing,” he added.
Mr. Cauchon described how many planners are opting for digital kiosks, signage and lecterns to tailor multi-level sponsorship opportunities for companies to promote their products and services in a fuller and more appealing way. Other events are offering branded cell phone charge stations and Wi-Fi zones to pair brand awareness with useful tools for delegates. “Sponsors love novelty—and that is where suppliers like Freeman can come in to make the sale.”
His best advice? Mr. Cauchon recommends that event planners carefully do the math regarding what leeway they have for audio visual technology. “Organizers need to achieve their communications and engagement goals. Audio visual technology can make them happen. We’ve got a lot of solutions that fall within the entire pricing spectrum. Skimping on audio visual technology is simply not a viable option when aiming for high attendee engagement and satisfaction levels. Considering the long-lasting impact audio visual technology affords, it should be top of mind for any successful event plan.”