Here are the remaining K-Z technology tips, tools and trends from Colorado Meetings and Events Magazine.
KRISAM GROUP AND GLOBAL EVENTS PARTNERS
Giving planners “The Nuts and Bolts of Virtual Events” in a free webinar series. The four-part series provided a complete overview of planning hybrid and virtual events, including an in-depth review of virtual meetings done right.
Now has a free app for iPhone, Blackberry, Android and more. “It is a hugely powerful tool,” says Julia Blankinship, president of B Distinct Events in Boulder. “I can stay connected to a lot of people even when they move positions. I also like the fact that if I need to contact someone at an organization, I can look up that company and see if I know anyone there. If I don’t, I can also search to see if I know anyone connected to someone at that organization.”
This online portal features a comprehensive list of mobile applications available to meeting and event professionals in a variety of categories, including meeting management, conferences, ground transportation, green tools and more.
Just as technology has created new tools for planning and promoting events, it has created new career paths as well. “I networked a lot after I was laid off and kept hearing the same thing from business owners: ‘We know what we need to do online and with social media marketing, but we don’t have time ourselves and we can’t afford to hire another employee.’ At that point, I figured I could make a living being a marketing consultant to multiple businesses,” said Kevin Kowalczyk, who began his career working in the Denver concert industry.
Providing webcasting and virtual environments for training, conferences, meetings, product launches, expos and tradeshows. On24 extends its services to 700 global organizations in publishing, life sciences, technology, government and financial services. “Because our events our virtual, our audiences are often global. And the physical location of the client becomes irrelevant,” says Senior Director Tricia Heinrich.
With all the other options available—online registration, e-vites, Facebook event pages—are paper invitations passé? “With the dynamics the way they are with our archaic mail system and people having a need to be more eco-friendly, people prefer to send and receive notices via e-mail,” says John Tobey, founder of John Tobey Event Design. “I enjoy using Paperless Post for our higher-end clients as there are no advertisements attached. You can actually open the envelope on the screen and pull out a beautiful, customized invitation.”
Chances are you’re seeing more of these little boxes made of black and white pixels, and for good reason. Quick Response, or QR, codes are another fun and free way to disseminate information. Users can generate and print their own QR codes for smartphones to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR code generating sites or apps.
The major online registration and attendee management system, has unveiled their new Theme Designer, a robust design feature that makes it easy and cost-effective ($3.95 per registrant) to customize the look and feel of event websites, registration pages and email marketing campaigns.
Okay, you know how to create a Facebook page for your event, how to use a Twitter hashtag so attendees can find your tweets and how to post a video of your keynote speaker on YouTube. Here are some other uses for social media you may not have thought of.
Keep the buzz going. Using TweetReach.com, a Twitter analytics tool, users can search for a phrase, Twitter name, URL or hashtag. TweetReach then analyzes the searched tweet and reports the reach and exposure data. The purpose behind the tool is to help business measure the impact of social media conversations.
Leverage LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is probably the best of all social media platforms for generating leads. People are on there to find business and jobs. Be sure your company has a LinkedIn page and that you’re posting relevant information on a daily basis on your personal account,” says Kevin Kowalczyk of Layer Cake Creative in Denver.
TRACK YOUR MAC
Log on to Hidden after your iMac or MacBook goes missing and this app will locate it anywhere on the planet and take pictures of the thief using it and screenshots so you know what they’re up to. They’ll even work with the police to help you recover it. Pricing plans start at $15 year for one computer.
UNLOCK YOUR FUTURE
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on new technology being tested that will do away with hotel key cards in favor of using a permanent card issued to frequent guests. The card uses radio-frequency identification and assigned phone numbers that guests dial from their cellphones, which they hold to the door to prompt unlocking with a tone.
Businesses have shown an increasing interest in utilizing virtual tradeshows to reduce expenses, especially traveling costs. Also, virtual tradeshows present an opportunity to archive speeches and seminars.
Neatly package your next meeting or event onto a colorful, customized MP3 player from Tourz2Go.com. In addition to a unique walking tour of your host city, these unique MP3 gifts can include a customized message from a CEO or other executive, meeting presentations and other materials. The price for new, reusable MP3 players that come with a USB connector range from $15-$25 each.
X IS FOR APEX
There are a lot of meeting and event planning software programs out there, but if you want to be sure you’re following the standards being set by the Convention Industry Council, you want the APEX Meeting and Event Toolbox 3.0 by OfficeReady. Includes housing forms, rooming lists and event specs, plus automated APEX document templates such as RFPs, post-event reports and more for a cost of $99.95.
No signs of deflating when it comes to promoting meetings, events and organizations. The city of Boulder highlights its news, election candidate profiles and recent happenings on its own YouTube channel. Resorts, hotels and event venues also have turned to YouTube to offer virtual tours of their facilities and amenities, such as the Rocky Mountain Resort Management in Keystone.
Remember when audience polling keypads were the hot new thing? Now mobile apps like Zuku also allow users via text messaging to anonymously ask questions, send comments or respond to polls or surveys, only cheaper.