Today's guest post is by Andrew Taffin, CEO, Tallen Technology Rentals
Here are some of the top developments I’ve seen this year, and some ideas on how meeting planners can leverage these trends going forward to ensure that their meetings are successful.
Trend #1—Smaller-scale and Shorter Events are Here to Stay
Even though the economic recovery hit full stride in 2014 (albeit slowly), one of the many and lasting effects of the recent recession is a big reduction in the scope and scale of meetings—smaller meetings and events are here to stay. One of the most prominent manifestations of this trend that we are seeing is large national meetings being broken down into smaller, regional meetings. By way of example: Our company serviced a client’s annual meeting that in past years would have seen 2,000 attendees at one venue. In 2014, this client asked us to help them transition that single meeting into four regional meetings with 500 people attending each. Along with reduction in costs, the trend towards smaller, regionalized events enables the client to minimize attendees’ travel and out-of-office time.
Smaller meetings do bring some benefits. Because the content is delivered in a more intimate and personalized way, attendees are able to engage with that content in a more impactful, meaningful way, making the meeting feel more intimate. In addition, smaller meetings don’t take up as much space, giving planners more flexibility with regards to the venues they use.
Trend #2 - Mobile Event Apps Achieve Ubiquity
Roughly two years ago, many industry pundits were talking up 2013 as the “Year of the Mobile Event App.” The mobile event app wave was clearly on the horizon. However, for many different reasons, it actually took until 2014 before the meetings community really saw customizable mobile event apps being implemented in large numbers of events across the board. This was the year we crossed the chasm between what one professional corporate meetings planner has cited as “the technologies meeting planners believe should be incorporated into an event, and the solutions attendees expect to be part of their meeting experience."
Trend #3 - Implementing Scenic Elements in a Cost-effective Way
In 2014, the notion that incorporating customized scenic elements into any sized event—without blowing up the budget—became a reality for many planners. The technology behind the creation of a visually compelling event environment is becoming more energy-efficient, faster, more powerful, more reliable, and most importantly, less costly, with each passing day. Newly available 3D-rendering technology can reduce the planning design process from weeks to hours. Lighting and display technology comes with features that enable significant reductions in the amount of energy used. Whereas prior to 2014 a planner would have thought it necessary to engage with a full-fledged production company to incorporate scenic elements into an event, in 2014 much of the technology has evolved and been simplified to the point where a talented AV team now has the ability to create incredibly engaging scenic elements into an event to scenic element and incorporate it with lighting—without breaking the budget.
Trend #4 - Incorporating Live and/or Recorded Broadcasts
Another example of event technology’s rapid evolution and diffusion is that the cost of webcasting reached the point where in 2014 we saw it become very much commonplace in a live meeting setting. The benefits and advantages were always fairly obvious, and by no means is this something that we would call a new trend; this year’s recording and broadcasting of meetings was a continuation of the trend we witnessed in 2013. And it will continue to trend upward.
These are the trends we’re seeing in our daily work, and what we’ve heard from our meetings industry clients. Do you agree? Are there other things you think we’ll be seeing more of in 2015? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
Andrew Taffin, CEO of Tallen Technology Rentals, cofounded the Iselin, N.J.–based nationwide audiovisual company in 2002. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andrew is also one of the founding members and former president of the International Technology Rental Association (ITRA). For more information please email [email protected] and visit www.tallen-inc.com.