At live events, technology is the magical stuff dreams are made of, but there are both good and bad dreams. Integrating new technology into events can be either a magical dream full of wonder and amazement, or a terror-laden nightmare, plummeting downward for what seems like an eternity. The difference between those two experiences can grow uncomfortably close, so here are five tips to help you make the most of new technology in your event environments, and hopefully prevent the dreaded bad dream.
Never, ever put all of your event eggs into one technology basket. New stuff breaks, or can often times be fraught with issues, so be sure that however you feature your technology, you leave room for the very real possibility that it will not work as expected, will work at the wrong time or fail totally. Be prepared to pick up where you left off, as though nothing happened. If it fails, remember that humor will keep the mood light. People could laugh if the new thing doesn't act like you expect it to, so be prepared to poke a little fun at your own expense if you must.
You have the newest, shiniest toy in the room, so of course everybody wants to play with it. Be prepared to answer many, many questions, and almost all of them three to five times. Develop a 30-second, 1- minute, and 3-minute overview you can present at a moment's notice – you'll be asked to discuss, describe and contribute to conversations about this exciting device or concept you just revealed. Remember, it isn't that they don't care about the other components of the event; they just care more about the new technology.
People will have questions, concerns, applications you haven't thought of, and several you have thought of but don't want to undertake. It is essential that in all discussions, meetings, presentations and post-event mixers that you are available, able and willing to speak at any length about your new discovery, how it works, how it doesn't, and what you plan on doing to up the stakes even further next time you use it.
They might not like technology, or some facet of this specific product might bother them. This is a huge opportunity to learn from other event goers what they would prefer to see in the event space themselves, and even if you disagree with them, their perspective deserves a listen, if only because chances are they aren't the only people that felt this way. The things that people ask questions about can often lead to the next big development for the technology in question. If your new tech can't do something people are asking about, take notes – this is what your audience is still seeking.
Unless it's a product launch, try to blend your new technology with the existing event-scape. Make it supportive of the theme, style or general ambiance of the event, as opposed to something that starkly contrasts with the rest of the environment. That way, when it works flawlessly, it will enhance everything else in the design that it's affiliated with or that it's physically near. A rising tide lifts all ships, not just the newest one in the harbor.
Cassius Wright is the Meeting and Expo Director at Venue One, an Event Creative Venue. He divides his time between technology in Chicago, and beaches in the Caribbean.