Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RFID Taking Off

One of the new technologies we’re keeping an eye on is RFID (radio frequency identification).  It’s been popping up all over the place, from the early Vail ski resort applications to the Coca Cola event we wrote about in our April 2011 e:News.  Dimensional Communications took the idea even one step further with the Mercedes-Benz Performance Center at the PGA this past summer. More than 25,000 people were given VIP passes with RFID chips embedded in them. This allowed them to check-in at iPad kiosks at the event using their Facebook accounts as well as check-in for other interactive experiences, including a golf swing analysis lab and a driving game. 

RFID is in its infant stages, but we have a feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this. What do you think?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Are You a Planner, or Curator?

I used the phrase “event planner” yesterday during a conversation with Cara Kleinhaut, founder of Caravents, an award-winning live events company in Los Angeles. (She’s going to be part of our upcoming trends issue, which will hit your mailboxes in early December.)

Cara took issue with the term “event planner.” She prefers the terms “curator” or “producers.” Her team, she said, curates the content of the event—what the audience will see, hear and experience, from providing an intriguing backdrop for the step-and-repeat to extending the reach of the event with RFID bracelets.
“It’s not about the linens or the lighting,” she said. “Tools of the trade have evolved.”

Those tools, she argues, are technical expertise in live video production, social media, interaction and engaging the mind as well as all the senses.

We’ll show you what she’s talking about in the next issue. In the meantime, what do you think? Are you a planner, or a curator?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Night of the Zombies

  Photo: Marija Majerle

What do you do with a broken-down bus full of zombies, stranded on the freeway late at night?
With Halloween coming up, this scenario may not be all that far-fetched for event planners who have spooky events on the to-do list.
In this case, the event was the seventh annual Zombie Pub Crawl, which took place last Saturday night in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. An estimated 7,000 undead were lurching about the streets that evening, covered in blood, gore and entrails, along with spilled beer and other potent beverages, I suspect.
My own 20-something zombie happened to be on one of the city buses that transported the ghastly groups about town, from bar to bar. And his bus happened to be the one that broke down.
As I listened to the gruesome tale the next morning, my first thought was for the bus driver, who, I was told, looked like he had been yanked out of retirement to do this gig.

The poor guy. It’s bad enough to have your bus break down. But at night? On the freeway? With a bunch of zombies screaming "WE WANT BRAINS!"
This driver took it all in stride, I am told, even when his cell phone died when he tried to call for a replacement bus. He simply borrowed a phone from one of the zombies, then went along with the flow, posing for pictures and being an all-around good sport. That’s the kind of guy I want working my events.

Especially with zombies around.