Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mid-Year Analysis of 2014 Meeting Predictions: How Did We Do?

At the end of every year, event planning technologists look into their crystal ball and predict what will happen over the course of the following year. Last November, Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball Associates made 14 predictions about the future of events. I will take six of those ideas and give you my assessment of how plugged in they are into the event planning and implementation cycle.

Corbin’s Predictions

1.      Crowdsourcing and crowdsharing will be more widely used in events.
My Observation: Maybe.

Although I personally believe this is the future of all events, it doesn’t seem to be taking hold like I had hoped. I belong to local MPI and PCMA chapters and have not seen it implemented there or on a more regional level. Shouldn’t these organizations be the flagship for how event planning and implementation is taking shape?

2.      Wearable, ultra-portable computing will begin to work its way into events.
My Observation: Not Yet.

While there is no doubt this is the future of computing, wearable technology is still in the early adapter level of acceptance. Once Apple and Microsoft release their watches, glasses and other innovations -- thus driving broad base appeal to their markets and moving the price point down-- I think you will see movement in this arena.

The biggest thing planners need to be aware of and be ready for is the on slot of privacy issues at an event. As glasses, watches and clothing allow for video recording without anyone knowing it, how is an attendee’s privacy going to be protected? I don’t have a clue and probably most attorneys are scratching their heads on this one as well. 

3.     Conference event guide apps are becoming essential.
My Observation: True.

As Corbin points out in his
PCMA Convene article, there are now ~100 conference event guide apps that can do everything from polling to analytics. When looking at iPad or laptop rentals, chances are very good that you can find an app that will work well on either platform.

4.      Mobile social event networking will blossom.
My Observation: True.

I will add to this prediction one more thing: hashtags are going to help attendees navigate through the social noise. Even though hashtags have been a standard way to promote Twitter event chatter for years, they are now being accepted as a way of posting on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Google+. Hashtags may very well be the new SEO standard. Stay tuned on search methodology, because more will be revealed in the next several months.

5.      The four-screen revolution responsive, adaptive webs design will become mandatory for your website.
My Observation: Very True.

According to the June 2013
Ericsson Mobility Report, there are 1 billion smartphones in use worldwide and that number will grow to 2 billion by the end of 2015.  And according to Gartner, tablet sales will finally overtake PC sales in 2015. In addition, as Smart TVs finally take off, Corbin believes you need to be ready on all fronts: TV, PC, tablet and smartphone. I couldn’t agree more.

6.       Video will be increasingly integrated in the business process for events.
My Observation: Very True.

Nothing speaks to an attendee better than video. Short, looping videos like Vine, Instagram and Tout have the market in the Gen Y and Z arena. Integrate video any way you can before and during your event.

About Hartford Technology Rental

When it comes to audio visual rentals or computer rentals, look no further than Hartford Technology Rental to fulfill your event technology needs. Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to learn more about our offerings! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

On-Demand Desktop Streaming: Why it makes Sense for Your Organization

An On-Demand Desktop Streaming rental option is a solution that is taking hold in with the corporate and legal community. Simply stated, it allows you to manage your software from a server rental and stream the operating system and apps to diskless desktops. The overall benefit of this offering is you can centrally manage all desktops tied to this server as if they are “dumb” terminals, no matter where they may be.

What is required to Implement On-Demand Desktop Streaming?

It starts with one or more standalone server rentals. This is where the master software package is, which is installed and customized by a technician. Next, you determine the number of desktop or laptop rentals you need. You can also connect existing desktops to the server, if you desire.

When Does Desktop Streaming Make Sense?

This solution makes sense in one or more of the following scenarios:
·         If you are holding a large training session with multiple individuals across the country or the globe.

This especially makes sense when this training is required, such as a company or human resources initiative, or it involves rolling out new products or services.  Either way, individuals are receiving the message all at the same time.

·         If you are a law firm and want to make certain that all individuals have access to the master files for litigation support and security reasons.

When dealing with an ongoing investigation that is either highly sensitive or confidential, it is best to have a solution like this where individuals can view the information but not change it or have the capability to download it.

·         If your organization or company is involved in a short-term project that is highly collaborative, such as planning an event or conducting a peer review.

What are the Benefits of On-Demand Desktop Streaming?

Managing a single image versus hundreds or thousands significantly reduces cost, effort and complexity of the system.  Here are other benefits to note:

1.      Reduced Desktop Support Costs: You and your staff no longer need to manage individual desktops, laptops and mobile devices and check to see if the software, apps and security software are all up to standard.

It costs time and money to set up, update, support and retire devices. By streaming a single shared disk image from the server to the diskless devices, you bypass all of the time it takes to manage each individual device at your company.

2.      Reduction in Deployment Time: Again, all the software updates and apps are sent out from one main server. Imaging occurs on a real-time basis and each device is updated when it reboots.

3.      Increase in Data Security: Since the server is the master and the devices tied to it are slave units, there is no risk of data malware or corruption.

4.      Reduced Cost of Data Storage: Citrix estimates that the amount of storage required is reduced by as much as 90% as compared to an individualized desktop scenario.

5.      IT Agility: You add or delete terminals when needed on a real-time basis depending on the organizational needs.

Why Hartford Technology Rental?

Hartford has many benefits, including:

·         Very competitive rental rates
·         No long term contract to sign or upfront investment to make
·         Experienced Citrix certified technical staff that can customize your server needs

Hartford Technology Rental technical sales reps can discuss your needs in depth and determine how our On-Demand Desktop Streaming rental solution can benefit your organization. To arrange a live demonstration, give us a call at 888.520.5667 today! 

Friday, June 19, 2015

When Disaster Strikes Your Business, Who Are You Going to Call?

Whether it is a hurricane, tornado, flooding or an earthquake – every region of the country is susceptible to some sort of natural disaster. In addition, the crisis could even be something man-made such as a major IT failure or city-wide power outage.

The point is, no matter what the problem, it can take down your business for several hours, days or weeks. Without a fluid and thought out business continuity plan, you could be putting your organization at serious risk.

Today’s blog will focus on statistics associated with laissez faire planning, questions to ask when conducting a disaster planning audit and how Hartford Technology Rentals can make this whole process less painful.

Startling Statistics

·         According to in a survey of 600 small to medium sized businesses, 74% of them did not have a disaster recovery plan.

·         40% of small businesses do not reopen after a disaster, according to FEMA.

·         According to AT&T, 29% of all organizations invoke their business continuity plan at some point during the company’s existence.

·         In an Information Week survey of 430+ business professionals, only 23% were extremely confident that they could get their business up and running again in a reasonable timeframe.

And probably the most eye-opening fact of them all is…

·         …The average cost for time lost is $250,000 to $500,000 per hour, according to GlobalScape.

Key Questions to Ask

Now that I have your attention, here are eight questions to answer when putting together your disaster plan.

1.      What are your mission critical services?

2.      Have you ranked them in order of most to least needed?

3.      When was the last time you conducted an asset inventory?

4.      Do you know the location of all your assets?

5.      Is all your data backed up regularly?

6.      Is it backed up on storage or the cloud?

7.      Can you retrieve the data quickly?

8.      How long will it take?

How Hartford Technology Rental can help

It doesn’t matter if you and your team are in a hotel, warehouse or trailer, HTR can load the computer rentals with your backup files and customized software and deliver the units to you with the solution you need within hours of the request.

Hartford Technology Rental has:

·         24/7 on-call technical staff
·         State-of-the-art inventory, including a full-line of Apple Mac Rentals, printer rentals and copier machine rentals
·         Wi-Fi Hotspot Rentals

In addition, HTR can help you develop a cost-effective plan that includes redundancies and contingencies.

About Us

Hartford Technology Rental can provide you with a communication subscription plan that entails 24/7 on-call support to your business. Our goal is to get your organization up and running in the shortest possible time if a disaster should strike. Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to learn more about how we can help you!  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stressed Out Planning Your Meeting? Don’t Be: Following This AV Checklist!

Meeting professionals are great planners. They like to focus on the attendees, speakers and event logistics. But when it comes to the AV equipment…not so much.

However, understanding your step-by-step audio visual plan can make your stress level go down while your understanding goes up. Since audio visual rentals are integral to the successful of any event, I have provided the following checklist to help guide you.  

The Ultimate Planners’ AV Planning List

        Put together an AV Budget.
Before you get started looking at technology or quotes from area vendors, have an overall idea of how much you are going to spend for audio visual on your event. You don’t need to have it broken down between
iPad rentals , projector rentals, and such -- just an overall technology budget will do.

        Determine how much Wi-Fi you need.
Even though each venue can offer some level of Wi-Fi, the truth of the matter is if your attendees are bringing their smartphones and you are renting
Apple devices that will be utilizing mobile apps; the amount of Wi-Fi the venue provides is probably not enough. Check the CIC Bandwidth Estimator to obtain an idea of how much Wi-Fi you will need and poll your attendees’ months beforehand to see what they are bringing to your conference. 

        Get Everything in Writing.
From the speakers’ requirements to the audio visual RFP, make certain to get everything in writing. This will prevent any confusion and allow you to see everything in black and white. If things change, make certain to obtain a written record of the change from the vendor and how that change will affect your budget and/or contract.

        Understand the Contract Before Signing.
Take a look at the equipment, labor and any other charges. Ask questions and “red line” the contract until you feel it is a win-win for all parties.

        Take your partner on the site visit with you.
Since AV is such a big part of your event, take your vendor onsite to make certain you have the right equipment set up in the right room. The last thing you want is a sound system that doesn’t work appropriately, a screen that is too large or small, or a room that has too many obstacles. Your partner can advise you on options to solve room configuration challenges.

        Have Regular Conference Calls with a Set Agenda.
I recommend that you start out with monthly calls, move to weekly when you are three months out and then move to daily calls the last two weeks before your conference. This should include all your suppliers, not just AV. These don’t have to be long; 30 minutes or less should be enough time unless you are tackling a major issue.

        Obtain Speaker Presentations 7-10 days in advance of Your Conference.
Having the presentations early allows your AV technician a chance to load the PowerPoints onto the
computer rental, test them for sound and visual components and identify any problems. In addition, if you have several presenters, your tech can load them in the order of the presentations and save a lot of time the day of the event.

        Make sure the AV tech remains onsite during the conference and has backup equipment and supplies with them.

        Have a Contingency Plan.
Things happen – the electricity can go out, the presentation equipment can freeze or your speaker may cancel at the last minute – whatever the problem, have a plan to meet it. Your AV partner can help you write this plan.

In summary, it is important to communicate and have contingencies. But all in all, proper planning in this arena will help your conference run smoothly and allow you to relax more when the event date arrives.

About Us

Hartford Technology Rentals’ job is to make your life easier in the area of technology. We can provide equipment from industry leading manufacturers. Give us a call today at 888.520.5667 to get started!