2013 has seen some major advances in technology and we are a big fan of using them to simplify the work that needs to be done when planning and operating events. Here are a few of our favorite examples from projects we worked on this past year.
- One of the most challenging and possibly time consuming parts of operating an event is knowing where your key resources (staff or volunteers) are and who is available to help should problems arise. We have started using a smart phone application called Glympse to be able to know who is where without having to make a string of radio or phone calls when the need arises and time is of the essence. Users simply activate the app which sends a link to our central communications hub. When we want to know where someone is, we click the link and a real-time map pops up showing us a person’s location. No more interruptions, missed calls, listening to and returning voicemails or having to set-down the box you are carrying to answer the phone and tell someone your position.
- There are a number of reliable messenger services available now. When it is critical that you quickly and accurately disseminate information to your staff and volunteers, you can avoid making dozens of calls or worrying whether the context was conveyed accurately. Of course texting, Blackberry messaging and iMessaging are all manufacturer solutions. Whether you use one of these, or another smartphone application, the key to successfully using this type of communication is to build the recipients list and test it before you’re in a situation that requires it.
- RFID (radio frequency identification) programs are perhaps the fastest growing of all event technologies in the last year. With an increasing number of events involving heavy mud and other conditions that have typically been a weakness for this technology, manufactureres are now making more durable and reusable chips and readers. Perhaps even more importantly, software is quickly maturing to take full advantage of all that this technology has to offer. RFID has allowed for:
- Simplified (read quicker and better-for-participants) check-in processes.
- Live timing results available seconds after a participant crosses the finish line.
- Giant leaps forward in automated social media activation.
- Even automated photo and video tagging so participants can quickly search thousands of photos for their personal pictures.
Multiple events we produced this year used RFID tags to automatically post an update to participants’ Facebook pages as they passed a milestone mark on the event. This keeps your event’s supporters at home actively engaged in the event, allows you to share your organization’s name and mission easily, and can even be a sponsorship activation opportunity. Many vendors are even willing to help your event secure sponsors to help off-set the cost of this sometimes pricy technology.
The use of technology has helped us locate staff when and where we need them, communicate with them better and provided options to keep tabs on participants and share event specifics with friends and family who aren’t on event. We’re excited about the technological advances we may gain in the year ahead. But before we jump into the future, we’d love to hear from you. Hit the comments section below and tell us what technology did you see that helped enhance the event experience this year?