Presentation Technology & Tools Blog Posts

Ahead of the Curve

Posted on: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Samsung Curved TV

Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the big buzz was curved TV screens. The benefits are listed in the MarketWatch article below. At the Nielsen C360 Conference in June 2013, Esprit produced the general session using a curved 164’ screen, maximizing sight lines to help immerse the 1,200 audience members.

Esprit is ahead of the curve when it comes to audience engagement!

Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve


Ahead of the Curve in Creating the Ultimate Immersive Experience, Marketwatch, January 6, 2014

“Ushering in a bold new era of riveting realism and mesmerizing immersion, Samsung is blending its innovative Curved TV design with its UHD TV technology. These TVs deliver a bold theatrical experience and fundamentally change the way the world views TVs. The curved screen gives videos a presence not felt on flat screens, plus, a wider field of view creates a panoramic effect that makes the display seem even bigger than it is and draws viewers in like no TV has ever done before. The curved design creates a balanced and uniformed viewing distance for a more true-to-life viewing experience with improved viewing angles and higher contrast from different viewing positions, so everyone watching has the best seat in the house. To maximize the advantages of Curved TV, Samsung developed the optimal curvature of 4200R, which provides the best picture quality from a normal watching distance of 3-4 meters. The combination of the curve and UHD technology creates the ultimate immersive viewing experience bringing images to life and enveloping viewers in spectacular color, clarity and detail.”


Multi-Dimensional Customer Event Marketing

Posted on: Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Siemens was a major sponsor of the Manufacturing in America Symposium, an industry automation trade show and educational conference held at Ford Field (the Lions’ football stadium) in Detroit.

On the evening of Wednesday, March 20th across the street at the beautifully renovated GEM Theatre, Esprit Productions staged the enhanced product rollout of the TIA Portal and the SIMATIC S7 – 1500 Programmable Logic Controller. This major launch will greatly enhance America’s manufacturing capabilities, starting with the automotive industry in Detroit.

To engage the audience, Siemens created a 3D movie in Germany and Esprit Productions produced this exciting one-hour presentation. We brought in state of the art video projection technology to make the movie and their message come alive. During one portion of the evening, the 300+ audience members watched this stunning 25-minute movie about the future of manufacturing. They were taken back by the story line and the visuals that helped share the benefits of this exciting new product.

This was entertrainment at its best!

Esprit produced and directed the entire show using two Christie 20,000 lumen digital projectors, along with a Pandora media server projected on a 15’ x 27’ screen. The GEM Theatre provided surround sound and stunning stage lighting to augment the live presentations. The dining room next to the theatre served as a great backdrop for the Micro Fair and cocktail party that followed the show.

This special evening demonstrated the power of customer event marketing by delivering a very focused and exciting message to a specific group of buyers.

Finding Music Using Shazam

Posted on: Thursday, December 13th, 2012


One of my favorite parts of planning an event is creating the meeting mix playlist. Music is an essential part to the meetings and events because it creates a mood for the audience, without them necessarily knowing it. The background music sets the tone of the meeting as the attendees gather in the ballroom for the general sessions. The music should have an underlying continuous beat that keeps the individuals moving forward and progressing, leading them to mingle with other attendees or find their seat. This music can make the event something special and memorable.

Putting together a playlist for the event can be a time-consuming process because you want each collection of songs to correlate with that specific event. I use different resources to try and find some new songs to get the audience excited about the event and to create a productive atmosphere. One resource that I constantly use is Shazam. This iPhone or iPad app is simple to use. Imagine that you are watching TV and a new commercial comes on and there is a great song in the background that really catches your attention. Simply open the app, press the center button, and the song should be recognized within seconds! The song title and artist name are stored under My Tags for future reference.

Adding new, up and coming songs to playlists gets the audience excited and revved up for the approaching meeting. Maybe the attendees will use this app to tag the songs from your playlists! That definitely suggests a great playlist.

New Technology: asQ-us

Posted on: Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Guest Blog by: Anthony Casimano

We’ve just returned from this year’s Open Forum – a New York gathering of Otolaryngists (Ear, Nose, Throat Doctors) – for a two-day educational event.  This year, technology was abound with the intent of fostering their mantra of “Where Every Voice Counts”.    A combination of iPads®, Smartphones, Audience Response Keypads, Twitter®, and hands-on activities allowed the audience to participate, network, “check-in”, and interact with each other and the on-site experts in an unprecedented way.

Our featured technology, asQ-us, was dubbed “Chalk Talk” by the meeting committee and was an essential instrument for on-demand audience participation.  Using mobile phones with simple text messaging (SMS), audience members could pose questions, make comments, ask for clarifications, and most importantly, receive immediate feedback from a panel of experts.  We created a raised staging platform with six computer workstations, from which the experts viewed, organized, and responded to audience comments in real-time.  Not only were the doctors able to directly answer questions coming in, but they also had the ability to “push” that content to the on-stage moderator for instant consideration when they identified a provocative or common thread.  Attendees were often surprised to hear a direct response to one of their texted questions so quickly and outside of the scheduled Q&A sessions.

The panel was particularly busy during the live case studies of complex sinus procedures, with questions ranging from “what size device is the doctor using for this procedure?” to “He’s doing that all wrong!”.   This year we had over 700 messages received and answered during the two-day event and posted many of the relevant conversations on Twitter as well.  We also used asQ-us to send out reminders, updates and notifications to all attendees; a great way to keep them connected to the conference while inside or outside of the meeting room.

This proprietary system can accommodate Q&A sessions (as above), broadcast messaging, simple polling via SMS, and advanced polling on Smartphones and iPads as well.

Innovative Ways to Give Gifts this Holiday Season

Posted on: Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The holiday season is soon approaching and many of us don’t know what to buy for our friends and family. Or, how we can top a gift from last year. According to the recent article posted by Fast Company, “6 Innovative Ways To Gift”, this holiday season is a time to utilize the social outlets available to find gifts for all of your friends and family. There are apps for food lovers, shopaholics, regifters, or the pickiest person on your list and “…the explosion of players in the social gifting space means there’s a service that’s right for each person on your gift list.”

For a friend that you consider a “Social Butterfly”, rely on Facebook Gifts. You can send a gift to a friend through this social network, allowing them to select another size, color, flavor of this item if they so choose. Once the final gift is decided upon, Facebook will then organize the needed steps to deliver this gift directly. The receiver of the gift will be notified of their arriving package with a tracking number and shipping details. Also, sending subscriptions to online services such as Hulu Plus, Pandora, or Rdo can be given through Facebook.

For a “Shopaholic” download the app Wrapp. This gives you the option to send paid gift cards to your Facebook friends. This type of friend is difficult to shop for and you cannot pick what they would like best, so send them something where they can decide for themselves! The companies that work with Wrapp start the cards at low amounts like $5 and $10 dollars, allowing you to add as much as you would like. A great feature to this app is the opportunity for your friends to also contribute to the amount placed on the gift card.

Some friends may be interested and intrigued by smaller businesses and love the idea of staying in the neighborhood. In this case, Boomerang accesses local businesses to provide vouchers for gifts at these locations. Packages can be sent from local businesses in Chicago, Austin, New York, and Indianapolis. They are also working on adding some larger retail shops for those not in these areas.

We all have those picky friends, the ones that always seem to find something wrong with the gift they received. Giftly “treats gift cards like blank checks by letting you designate a cash amount good for virtually any business or service.” You can be specific with it, like $100 to a restaurant and they choose exactly where the money will be spent. It is basically like sending out cash because Giftly is not directly working with merchants. Who doesn’t love getting cash for the holidays?

Plumfare is a great way to send a gift to your Foodie friend. When you’re at a restaurant and enjoying a meal you know someone specific would love, take a picture of the meal or drink for up to $100. Then, using Plumfare, notify your friend through Facebook, email, or texting of the gift that you are sending. The money is only charged once the friend redeems this gift within 30 days.

We all have the notorious regifter friend and the app Gyft is a great option for them during the holiday season. This app allows you to upload any existing plastic gift cards that you may have and also purchase and send any through the app itself. This app is great for the regifter because you can send any card that you have on your own platform to somebody else. Also, you have access to hundreds of retailers. These cards can be sent through texting, email, and even Facebook.

All of these apps provide great gifting ideas and outlets for your friends this holiday season. Do not let the holidays sneak up on you, get started soon and you will be thankful that you took advantage of all of the available resources to send your friends something that they will enjoy.

2012 Digital Trends According to eMarketer

Posted on: Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Smartphone? Check. Tablet? Check. Laptop? Check. Desktop? Check. eReader? Check.

eMarketer’s latest summary shed some insight on how today’s technologically savvy world provides an abundance of avenues for marketers. New opportunities are presented and content constantly pours through these devices. Rethinking the way material is distributed is vital for companies to “blur the line between advertising and content”, giving more opportunities and ultimately increasing the demand of their consumers.

Experts say that an endless cycle is beginning to form around the nonstop surplus of technology everywhere we go. Where there is a device, there is a need for content. There is a need for applications. There is a need for audio and visual capabilities. There is a need for networking activities. And with that, audience expectations are increasing at an endless rate.

“Video is the fastest growing segment of online advertising,” and should therefore live to it’s full potential. Pictures say a thousand words, but videos say even more. This trend is beyond favorable for the meeting and events industry as watching these events live leave most clients speechless and wanting more. Taking a picture of the keynote speaker or the set-up of the general session does not give it justice. Videos are laced with songs that stir emotions and capture the eyes of the audience. Videos portray the speakers in ways that they deserve.

Meeting planners should take advantage of this trend and provide videos to amp up the audience before the event. Videos should be shown to advertise what the event will accomplish and after the event, they can demonstrate what progress was made. Streaming videos to employees that are not able to attend is crucial in taking a step forward towards the revolution of technology. According to eMarketer, “This type of media reproduces the richness that consumers associate with TV…” The amount of spending that is spent on video usage annually increases and will continue to do so as the benefits continue to shine clear.

Five Ways to Go Paperless

Posted on: Thursday, October 11th, 2012


A recent Biz Bash article referenced that as companies continuously strive to become more sustainable, new ideas are surfacing on ways to leave less of an impact on the environment. Going “green” is an ongoing trend in the meeting industry as companies strive to become environmentally conscious. What better way to do this than to go paperless? The article, “5 Tips for Hosting a Paperless Conference” provides great insight on how to utilize the readily available technology to replace regularly used items. This will also pay it forward to the company as they save on costs. The author claims, “This shift is not only environmentally friendly, it’s also cheaper (eliminating printing and shipping costs for materials) and facilitates post-event engagement by allowing attendees to save everything on their smartphones (as opposed to printed conference materials that often get thrown away).” By eliminating paper, the company not only saves money, but also attendees gain an advantage; they are able to save things in an accessible location and reflect on the event by referring back to these stored materials.

The first tip to go paperless is to inform the audience of these changes ahead of time, by using QR code technology or websites. Many attendees expect the typical paper route and if something varies, they may be thrown off course. By filling them in on the upcoming alterations, they can download the necessary software or applications and prepare by learning how they work.

Next, create a mobile-friendly website providing the attendees with the information they would have otherwise received via paper schedules. Attendees will be much happier with a website that is simple and easy to read on a mobile device.

Thirdly, provide assistance during the event. Oftentimes, technology does not work the way it should. In order to counteract potential errors, set-up a booth or station so individuals can ask questions and get support if need be. This also helps attendees feel more relaxed knowing that an expert is there to help them just in case.

Displaying QR codes in diverse locations throughout the event will give the attendees another avenue to learn more about the company or the event itself. Each attendee has a specialized name badge with a QR code linking back to their contact information. This is an easy way to start a conversation with one of your colleagues and it is an organized way to keep track of new networking.

Finally, filling out online evaluations is much “greener” than paper copies. This saves time for the attendees and for the company because the collection of information is done immediately.

Why Millennials Don’t Buy Stuff

Posted on: Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Being a millennial myself, I always find it interesting to read about my generation’s habits and how we may be affecting the economy compared to other groups. The article from Fast Company, “Why Millennials Don’t Want To Buy Stuff”, discusses the disinterest that Generation Y has in regards to purchasing things.

Apparently, the constant use of technology and an alternative reality in digital space has given Generation Y the motivation to think differently than older generations. They are always plugged into their phones, laptops, or tablets looking for instant gratification and ways to connect with one another. The endless exposure to technological advances within society leaves the millennials with a different mindset when it comes to actually owning something. Many young adults may find it completely unnecessary to acquire something when they are able to access it at the touch of a button or the flick of their finger. Purchasing things that can be found via digital networks is not needed and may become obsolete – businesses need to recognize this change in purchasing behavior. As the author said, “Instead of kicking against the wave (which is the tendency of many institutions and leaders), we can help our organizations thrive in this strange new marketplace by going with the flow and embracing the death of ownership.” In order to benefit from this switch in behavior, businesses need to re-design the way that their products are advertised to millennials.

Generation Y seems to be more concerned about the question “What’s in it for me?” when it comes to ownership. Why should they bother purchasing this? What is the benefit they will get in return? Is this product/service indispensible? Businesses must prove to the millennials that these items can do something important, that they can be shared, and the message that it could deliver to others.

In other words, it is all about the experience. A millennial must feel a connection with the product and recognize an experience that can be drawn from its purchase and ownership. If a good or new product can provide the millennial with links to others and something valuable, it may be worthwhile. Generation Y purchases things when they feel that they will gain something from it intellectually, socially, or spiritually.

An example of experiences holding the utmost importance, has now introduced ‘Stir’ events where singles can visit local bars or hot spots to mingle with one another. The events are meant to draw singles to locations that may spark some chemistry between individuals. ‘Stir’ events have given members more things to experience and in turn, have given possible members a reason to join. These events will provide more of an incentive for millennials to become members, as more events are appearing.

YouBthere: Where Every Voice Gets Heard

Posted on: Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Engagement and connectivity between the audience and a speaker in a corporate event is vital to its success. Oftentimes, attendees do not devote all of their attention to the speaker because they are busy using their smartphones, tablets or laptops. Without a doubt, speakers find this to be distracting, disrespectful, and a little defeating. Sooner or later, our whole world will be accessible via smartphone or tablet. Meeting planners are also searching for ways to receive quantifiable feedback to not only improve the event, but to know what the audience is looking for. If used in the right way, technology can help audience participation and speaker engagement and this particular tool, YouBthere, does just that.

YouBthere is a web-based app that is used to achieve communication and connectivity between the speaker, audience, and event planner. This tool is dynamic and interactive and has several main components. First, the audience is able to connect to the speaker’s profile directly by using the app. Scanning a QR code, or simply searching for the speaker that is presenting through the database connects the speaker and fellow audience members. Here, the audience can ask questions that go directly to the speaker. The speakers can instantaneously download data and therefore, immediately improving their performance. When accessing the speaker information, the attendees have an option of whether or not they want to provide their e-mail address. If they do, this gives the speaker additional contact information for follow-up and feedback.

Another interesting tool that is very beneficial to the speaker is the polling option. The audience has the capability to rate the presenter, on a scale from 1-10, during their presentation. As the audience submits their scores, the speaker is able to gauge how well they are engaging the audience. If scores are high, they know they are capturing the audience. If scores are low, they are able to adjust the way they are presenting in order to fully involve the audience. People love participation and giving their feedback, so this is a great way to emphasize the opinion of the audience.

YouBthere is currently in the process of creating an overtime blog in order to build a community for the conference attendees once the event is over. Questions that didn’t get answered can get posted and a continuous conversation can keep the attendees involved in the subject matter well after the event ends. An additional tool that is close to completion is the availability of live streaming, referred to as YouBthere anywhere. It is an excellent option to reach individuals that were not able to attend the conference and still looking to gain insight.

One last advantage that this tool holds is the survey option. There is an opportunity to customize questions for the audience to gain awareness on the success of an event. Having all of the information and responses in one location not only makes it easier for the audience to respond to, but it is much simpler for the meeting planner as well.

As YouBthere’s founder Chris Revord says, “It is in the front end of where everything is going.”

Let Them Have Phones

Posted on: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

In our newsletter, we have touched on how connected millennials are, and how they are always on their smartphones. But these days, many people have smartphones and they are glued to them. When you’re putting on a major conference or event, you fantasize that your entire audience will be completely rapt when listening to the speakers and presentations and that mobile phones will only be a distraction. But the reality is that people have smartphones and they are going to use them, so don’t fight it. Instead, pursue ways to incorporate their mobile addiction into your event.

We’ve talked in past blogs about how to use Facebook and Twitter before and during your event to keep your audience engaged, but there are also a lot of fabulous new tools and technologies available for smartphones to make the conference experience better for everyone.

This summer, I presented to a class at Kendall College and made sure to take full advantage of the available technology. To accommodate the millennials constantly using their smartphones, I included links to blogs and other websites to enhance the deliverance of the message. Students were encouraged to use their phones to learn more about the topic being presented.

Another thing you can do is develop an app just for your event. That way all of the information regarding the conference would be available to attendees at the touch of a button. Hotel info, personalized schedules, surveys and polls, agendas, exhibitors, you name it. Everything can be right there in one tidy app for your attendees. An Australian company called Crowdcomms has an app available for your conference that can do all these things, but there are many companies that have entered this arena. Think how beneficial it would be for delegates to have all necessary and often changing information in one place specifically designed for the mobile platform.

Yasmo Live offers a tool that they consider to be a cross between Foursquare and LinkedIn, that helps conference attendees connect with each other, taking some of the awkwardness away from connecting in a cavernous and crowded meeting space. You sign to Yasmo Live by using your Facebook or LinkedIn account, and then you will be able to see a list of fellow attendees with photos, making them easier to identify. It takes all the anxiety away from trying to locate people and read nametags.

One important tip for speakers at events is to make your PowerPoint presentation available to the audience before the meeting. What an advantage it would be to have the presentation to view on your phone or tablet during the meeting. No struggling to see the screen and no wasted paper.