When you need to deliver an experience that’s immersive and exciting, something truly unique that leaves guests speechless…who are you going to call?

Encore!

The Event Brief

That was the brief from longstanding client TRIBE to Encore earlier this year when they were tasked with designing an event to reward and motivate a leading financial services company’s top performing mortgage brokers. Having worked with Encore across many briefs, TRIBE trusted the Encore team would deliver beyond expectations.

Event Production Solution

The solution for the event’s closing Gala Dinner hosted at Grand Hyatt Melbourne (GHM) was a highly engaging table projection mapping experience. The Encore team worked within the venue space to deliver an intimate dining experience that continued to surprise and delight the 82 guests as the night went on.

To create the pixel perfect projections Encore measured the GHM’s plate dimensions and spaced the guests’ settings evenly down each side of the table. Then using six specific, identical projectors and lenses rigged to the ceiling, we were able to map the content and project down onto the table and settings. The content was designed to transition and travel down the length of each table with beautiful imagery and a custom graphic of the company’s logo that appeared to “grow” on each person’s plate. We matched a graphic to each dinner course, animating their logo and added additional content to transition between the courses throughout the evening. Whilst this was taking place on the tables, Encore also installed three custom gobos to cast beautiful, roving lighting shapes around the venue walls. On the stage the LED wall displayed similar imagery to what was being projected onto the floor to tie the whole effect together.

The Result

This was both a challenging and truly rewarding event with Encore team members from all over the country working together to fit all the puzzle pieces into place during a particularly busy time of the year and within a rather tight timeframe. This was our first table projection event at Grand Hyatt Melbourne since COVID so it was very exciting to see it come to life once again, a metaphor in and of itself. Massive thanks to everyone involved, here’s to many more to come!

Veronica Russell, Venue Director at Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Experts at Table Projection Mapping

Watch this video of a table projection experience we delivered for a famil at Pullman Reef Hotel & Casino in Cairns.

Encore has been pushing the creative boundaries with mesmerizing table projection experiences for decades. If you are interested in having a table projection mapping experience at your next event, speak to our helpful team today by submitting an online form and we’ll get right back.

A Short Guide to Camera Selection for Virtual and Hybrid Events

Your choice of camera and how you use it to stream content directly impacts how remote and in-person participants connect to and engage with your event. How much thought are you giving to the cameras you order? Read on to learn how to choose the best camera for your upcoming hybrid and virtual events.

3 Key Camera Features to Consider

There are three primary aspects to cameras that you need to understand prior to engaging an event technology partner. When they’re discussing options and recommendations it’ll be helpful for you to understand the basics of what they’re recommending and why. Here are the main features that differentiate one camera from another:

Connectivity.

This describes how the camera connects to or integrates with other components of the streaming ecosystem. For simple meetings, the camera may be integrated into a laptop. A better-quality external web camera may connect via USB. And high-end, broadcast-quality events may use cameras that connect via SDI or HDMI*.

*SDI – Serial Digital Interface: type of broadcast-quality cable used to connect cameras to other devices
HDMI – High-Definition Multimedia Interface: a digital audio/video/data connector

Field of view (FOV). 

This is the maximum angle a static camera can see in relation to the camera position and area of participants. Some automated cameras swivel 360 degrees to capture a speaker while others may be fixed with an FOV of 155 degrees, 125 degrees or less.

Camera field of view diagram by www.bhphotovideo.com

Zoom type and quality.

How the camera zooms, or moves in or out of a close-up image, is an important differentiating factor. A camera that has optical zoom typically provides a higher quality image than one with digital zoom, regardless of the level of magnification. This is an important consideration for your viewers to see speakers or audience members as you choose to spotlight them.


Now that you understand the key camera features, let’s examine the details that will help you determine your hybrid and virtual event needs.

Who needs to be in the camera shot?

Mathew Johnsen, Vice President of Product Management at Encore Global, says one of the first questions planners need to ask themselves when considering camera selection is: “Who needs to be in the camera shot?”

Is it:

  • A single presenter?
  • A group of people or panel?
  • A segment of a horseshoe or conference table?
  • Performers on stage?
  • The in-room audience?

The answer will help you identify a camera that provides the correct field of view (FOV) needed for your event.

“It’s all about the remote attendees,” Johnsen says. “What they’re seeing is their window into the meeting.”

How far away is the camera from the subject/s?

“The next question to ask is: ‘How far away is the camera from the presenters?’” Johnsen says. “That dictates the kind of camera you need and its FOV.”

Something to bear in mind is that any time you make changes to your room set up, you need to alert your event technology provider.

For example, Johnsen says, your mainstage may be assigned a 125-degree FOV camera based on your original needs. Then, you decide to add two speakers, which means adding two chairs to the staging. For an in-person-only event, that’s not a big deal. “But if you make changes [to a livestream set], even if it’s just adding two chairs, the FOV needs may go up from 125 degrees to 155 degrees,” Johnsen cautions.

If you don’t communicate changes, then you may inadvertently eliminate important figures from the shot.

Who needs to be heard?

If your meeting size is fewer than 25 people, you may be fine with a camera that has integrated audio.

But it’s important to think about who needs to be seen and heard in the room. “All cameras have different mic systems so it’s important to know and discuss with your tech provider who needs to be heard.”

Here are some questions to help you understand your event scenario:

  • Do you only need to hear the speaker?
  • Do you want everyone in the room to be heard?
  • Do you want the in-room audience to hear the virtual audience?

Each of these scenarios requires different camera and audio solutions.

What level of collaboration and interaction do you want to create?

“Consider the particular type of camera you need based on the type of meeting you’re going to have,” Johnsen says. “There are different camera solutions out there. Some have remotes so you can pan, zoom and tilt to control what the viewer experience will be. Some provide a 360-degree view around the room, which is great for small meetings. But those can get distracting in larger meetings.”

Most broadcast-style events utilize a professional-caliber camera focused on the presenter or people on stage. Adding multiple cameras with a technician who can alternate which camera angles and views are broadcast creates a more engaging viewing experience for the remote-viewing audience.

Conversely, by placing multiple screens around the room and displaying gallery or speaker views of the remote viewing audience, event organizers can help the in-person participants feel more connected to their remote-viewing peers.

The more attendees can see others participating, the more likely they will be to engage with the experience you are creating.

Hybrid Studio
Hybrid broadcast studio at Marina Bay Sands.

How can you best leverage the technology you’re using?

This is where partnering with a trusted tech partner, like Encore , really pays off. Not only can your team point out areas of where cost savings  are possible, they can also help you maximize your tech investment.

For example, Johnsen says, don’t just stream the conference content. Record and repackage it for post-event sale, learning management systems, rebroadcasts or other marketing purposes.

“Since you’re going to have cameras involved in your meeting, make the most of that opportunity by pre-recording content and additional messages that can be played back.”

These pre-recorded segments can range from sponsored “commercials” or event recap highlight reels to full-length presentations.

 “It’s not uncommon to record portions in advance that we can then drop into the livestream,” Johnsen says. 

“We can seamlessly integrate a recorded message or content to provide a flexible meeting experience that’s more than just a scheduled event everyone is attending in real time.”

Planning a Virtual or Hybrid Event?

Encore are experts in helping event planners deliver seamless virtual and hybrid events. Whether your next meeting or event is to celebrate, educate, reward or motivate, Encore’s production team will work with you design and deliver successful event. We proudly offer the largest range of event services offered by a single provider, making us not only one of the most experienced, but also, the most convenient partner to work with. Let’s have a conversation today about how we can apply our expert knowledge to make your planning a stress-free task.

This article was first published on Encore Global and has been repurposed for Encore Asia Pacific.

It’s a sign of the times when the brief to Encore is to go from a virtual event to a large in-person event. The catch – it’s within the same venue space and the next event starts in a little over an hour. Go!

With the world now in the recovery phase since the pandemic, more and more mixed event format briefs are hitting Encore’s desk. As the chosen in-house event services provider at the Victoria Pavilion, Melbourne Showgrounds, the challenge to Encore was devising a solution that accommodated both of the venue’s client’s briefs – a virtual event for a large investment capital firm as well as Essendon Football Club’s Hall of Fame Gala expected to host 450 guests.

Being two entirely separate events, clients and event formats, both wanting to be delivered on the same day in the same venue, the task was deemed impossible at first. Encore’s production team decided to tackle the briefs together, planning a design that would accommodate both events with minimal transition.

The Transition Solution

It was decided the huge 12m wide LED screen and high-gloss stage set used for the virtual event, would remain in place and be used at the Essendon gala too. A win for the Club as the impressive stage set looked incredible with the Club colours splashed across it.

Essendon Hall of Fame Gala
LED Stage Set

Taking a leaf out of theatre production 101, each event’s ops locations were built on rolling stage risers making them easy to roll out and in during the transition. This meant crew had to prep and rehearse for both events and have the ops equipment set-up before the first event started.

Often the most time consuming installation is lighting yet Encore’s production team came up with an innovative solution to run additional truss lines to allow for both event’s lighting needs. This meant all lighting was already in place for the gala dinner. Encore designed the truss structures rigged above the events to be able to move up and down because each event had completely different focal points for different lighting aspects. The virtual event required a studio-like environment whilst the gala was live. The truss lines were lowered for the virtual event and raised for the gala.

Red Gala Dinner Centrepieces

With 450 guests to cater for, table styling was also a pressure point for the transition. The Essendon team chose to set-up 85% of the tables during the rehearsals of the virtual event, leaving only 15% of the tables left to do during the turnaround.

The key to each event’s success was in the overall design, preparation and making sure every crew member was across the plan.

It was one of those events that seemed impossible to execute. We were faced with a challenge of executing two very different events in the same space with the tightest of turnarounds. To say the odds were against us is a big understatement. However, with strategic planning from Encore’s Technical Event Director’s combined with some innovative ideas and having everyone singing from the same hymn sheet we managed to pull it off seamlessly. And importantly, both client’s were extremely happy with the delivery of their events.

Encore’s Venue Director at Melbourne Showgrounds

Photography Credit: Lucas Dawson Photography

Although face-to-face events are back in demand, hybrid events are going to be a part of the events landscape for good, say Michael Magafa, Encore Event Technologies’ National Sales Director and Brien Keys, the company’s Regional General Manager for the South West.

The desire is to have an in-person element to events wherever possible. But the genie is out of the bottle with respect to online events. According to the latest Encore Planner Pulse Survey, just under 30 per cent of planners are expecting to deliver their events in a hybrid format for the foreseeable future.

We’re seeing demand for more sophisticated technical solutions, particularly for the online audience, to ensure they’re engaged and gain as much value from attending as in-person delegates.

Most industries would prefer to meet face to face, but some are more risk averse than others. Often, we are proposing multiple solutions for a single event to meet a variety of potential circumstances.

Future of Hybrid Events

Hybrid is taking over from the virtual format due to that desire to have some form of in-person event. Clients are seeing the benefit of hybrid to extend their audience, reduce the need for travel, as well as extend the life of the event through on-demand recording. The detailed analytics available from hybrid events are also proving valuable for clients.

The other advantage of planning for a hybrid event in the current period of uncertainty is to ensure the event can go ahead no matter what happens, by pivoting to fully virtual or more live depending on circumstances. And hybrid fulfills the need for a back-up online element that allows delegates who can’t make it in person to participate. Isolation and close contact requirements are ever-changing and very last minute – giving the customer comfort that all delegates can still meaningfully engage with the event is important.

Hybrid events are becoming global. They are no longer just a tool to connect teams that can’t meet due to restrictions. We are seeing an uplift in enquiries and conferences that connect Australian, US, Asian and European teams. They are also becoming more complex, with multiple breakout rooms, bringing in multiple presenters from around the world and using newer technologies to elevate the user experience, such as Encore’s Chime Live event platform.

The GO Foundation used Chime Live to engage their virtual attendees around Australia.

Nothing beats in-person meetings. Hybrid contingencies end up being just that – options for mitigating the lack of the ideal – a full in-person event – with a good, but not perfect, solution. However, these hybrid solutions still need time and energy invested in them for the benefit to be realised and as clients become more familiar with the hybrid format, they are less inclined to spend the time and energy needed to get them right. Expecting that a technologically complicated solution can just be switched on at a moment’s notice will be a real challenge to overcome.

Perhaps the biggest change in mindset for event organisers needs to be to understand the cost/benefit of a hybrid event. Too often clients focus on the higher costs of delivering the technology that realises the hybrid meeting without factoring in reduced costs for airfares, accommodation and food and beverage that come with some delegates not attending in person.

2022 is going to be about contingency planning and risk avoidance – having a suite of options pre-planned and available as needed is going to be important. The good news is customers now know there are solutions in the hybrid space for just about any eventuality.

This article was first published by micenet in their March 2022 magazine.

Audio Checklist for Hybrid Events

How wonderful would it be to attend a virtual or hybrid event without someone saying, “Can you hear me now?”.

Audio is one of those critical elements that attendees don’t pay attention to until it doesn’t work. So when you’re organizing a hybrid or virtual meeting, it needs to be one of your top priorities.

First things first, let’s clear up exactly what is a hybrid event?

The Hybrid Event Set Up

Hybrid-Event-Set-Up-800px

Hybrid events are a mix of both live and virtual events. Take your live event, complete with an in-person audience, content, and more, and you add a virtual component to it so more attendees can participate and engage with your event, no matter where they are in the world. They can be watching the stream by themselves in their own home or office, or as part of a group in a venue in another location.

Now that we’re clear on what a makes up a hybrid event, let’s understand the process for working out the best audio solution for your event.

Questions to ask your event stakeholders

Start with the end goal in mind – what are you wanting your end event to look like. Understanding what you’re trying to achieve and what the parameters of the event are will help determine the brief for your event production partner. Gather all the relevant information by asking your key stakeholders and event team the following questions:

1. Does the presenter need to be seen on video or are we broadcasting audio only?

2. Will only the presenter audio need to be sent to the offsite attendees? Or will there be discussion and/or Q&A that also needs to be heard? Will that discussion/Q&A be with in-room participants or remote viewers, or both?

3. Will the speakers be connecting to the event remotely? Will they need to be heard by participants meeting onsite? Or are they only connecting to other remote participants?

4. Will participants joining remotely need to be heard by in-room participants?

5. Will participants attending the event in person need sound reinforcement to help them hear each other in the space?

Hybrid Studio
Marina Bay Sands' Hybrid Broadcast Studio, Singapore - via PCMA

The right audio for your event scenario

Small collaborative meeting

If you’re hosting a small meeting where the in-room team can hear each other and they only need to be able to hear the virtual participants, the cameras and microphones built into participant laptops may not be sufficient. If you want a more professional look and feel, consider using an all-in-one camera that has a built-in microphone and speaker. These “smart” devices can swivel to capture the in-room speaker for the remote viewing audience while providing superior sound quality for the in-room guests.

Mid-size collaborative meeting

With a larger room, in-room attendees may need amplification so that they can hear each other speak as well as hear the remote participants. This requires microphones that can capture each in-room participants’ voice and broadcast it through loudspeakers in the physical space. Consider using external microphones and loudspeakers.

Dedicated presenter

If the meeting is more presentation-oriented, then you may only have to focus on amplifying the presenter, with options that can facilitate group discussion and Q&A. The best solution for this set-up is to secure a dedicated microphone for the presenter(s) and in-room loudspeakers. Consider employing additional wireless handheld microphones to capture impromptu comments or questions that might arise to ensure all in-person and virtual attendees can hear.

A note on Microphones

When possible use wireless lavs as they appear better on camera and there is less chance of shifting the microphone which creates ambient noise for the viewer. Also, having an audio operator watching who is speaking will help cut down on a mic accidentally being left on – which your hybrid audience will hear right away.

If you will have Q&A from the audience, rather than having to run around with wireless microphones, consider using a Question or Voting feature in an event platform. Encore’s Chime platforms allow all participants both in-person and online to submit questions for moderation before going live on screen. There is nothing more frustrating for a remote audience than knowing a question was asked, but only hearing the answer and not the question. So no only is everything there on screen, it’s a great way to get all participants actively engaging with the event.  

Get the best audio with the hybrid event experts

Now that you’ve defined your goals and considered the different scenarios, work with a dedicated event production partner to decide on which audio technology is best to keep your audience not only connected, but engaged.

Encore are the trusted experts in designing successful hybrid events.  Whether your audience is local, national, international or a mixture of both, Encore has the technology and expertise to design the best solution for your hybrid event. With the largest range of solutions offered by a single provider we are your convenient nd reliable one-stop-shop.

Head over to our Hybrid+ solutions page to learn more.

Crown Melbourne rolls into 2022 with glamorous NYE Gala

Encore and the events team at Crown Melbourne hosted an
incredible, hotly awaited New Years Eve Gala at The Palladium at Crown to usher
in 2022! Over 1,000 executives and VIPs attended the glamorous “21st
Century Disco” themed event and their expectations were greatly exceeded.
Anticipation for this event had grown in the COVID-affected absence of NYE 2020
celebrations, meaning there was more reason than ever to provide attendees an
experience worth waiting for!

The gala was incredible, honestly that stage blew my mind.

Courtney Madden, Manager – Events, Crown Resorts
Disco Themed Gala Event

Choosing the theme for the gala

Encore’s in-house team at Crown Melbourne considered various
disco themes as their inspiration, settling on a 21st Century Disco theme – taking
elements from the classic theme and giving it a modern twist. Encore took this
concept and blew it up to a production size worthy of Crown’s New Year’s Eve Gala.  

Encore’s in-house team at Crown Melbourne considered various disco themes as their inspiration, settling on a 21st Century Disco – taking elements from the classic theme and giving it a modern twist. Encore took this concept and blew it up to a production size worthy of Crown’s New Year’s Eve Gala.

Disco Themed Event

Designing the perfect stage

The team collaboratively developed an innovative, bespoke design with a focus on the stage as the hero. Inspired by the beautiful stage design, the team christened the unique stage the “I Love Ramp” stage, eliciting the idea of the old roller discos of yesteryear. It spanned over 30m wide and used ramps to connect sections that stepped to increasing heights. Skirting the stage, Encore’s designers added in holographic and pearlescent fringing to create glitter and sparkle.

Disco Theme Stage Design

Adding disco lighting and more

We didn’t stop there! The team decided that the 21st Century theme undoubtedly required lasers incorporated into the design to create visual displays and a disco dancefloor spectacle. Seven colours were carved across the sky of The Palladium as six 30w lasers fired their beams, creating interlacing patterns and waves.

To offset the hard industrial lines of the truss and mounted technology, our Event Designer added softer, beautified elements. Giant silver balloons decked the truss lines like diamonds with pops of florals adding glimmers of colours. White chiffon and velvet drapes were also suspended from the truss to create wings, as well as a surface to wash in coloured light. A perfect blend of form and function! Further glitter and glamour were added by draping the walls in silver micro-dot sequins – akin to a classic disco gown.

Disco themed Stage Design

Disco themed Centrepieces

Disco theme Centrepieces

Alternating rows of tables were hued with red to pink linen, creating yet another visual delight. On top of these a simple statement of the theme was delivered by our centrepieces; hollow metallic pyramids were lined on one side with pink threading and completed with a mirror ball and disco light in the middle.

During the dance performances, Encore’s talented vision operators deployed Disguise as our vision system, enabling them to add filters and animations over the live-to-screen camera footage broadcast. No matter where one was seated there was something interesting to watch in the space. From every position in the room there was another element upon which to feast the eyes.

Encore prides itself on our ability to deliver strongly on the fundamentals, and a show of this size deserved nothing less. With Marcia Hines as the feature act and an enormous cast of dancers as support acts, Encore delivered a concert-quality audio experience.

Host an incredible Gala event with Encore

Encore are experts in delivering incredible gala dinners of all shapes, sizes and formats. Whether you’re organising a gala to reward, celebrate, commemorate or motivate, you can trust your Gala will be in the best hands in the business. We are your one-stop-shop, providing everything you’ll need to deliver your event seamlessly beyond expectation. From cutting-edge audio visual technology to bespoke styling solutions – imagine the convenience of partnering with one provider for all your needs. It’s this peace of mind that money can’t buy which is why Encore is the preferred production company for high-profile galas right around the Asia Pacific region. Discover our production solutions for gala events today!

International Women's Day 2022 - Breaking the Bias

Today is International Women’s Day and we celebrate talented Encore women around the globe who help us create events that transform. At Encore, diversity, equity and inclusion are foundational to our culture and core values. We promote an environment that thrives on embracing our differences. Happy International Women’s Day to the great women in the events and hospitality industries around the globe. 

 

Celebrating some incredible women at Encore across APAC

At Encore, we are fortunate to have an amazing group of talented women in our team. In an industry traditionally dominated by men, IWD is an important day on our calendar to recognise the women at Encore. Today, we took IWD as an opportunity to handpick a few of our talented team across a range of roles to learn more about their unique journeys in hope to inspire other women and #BreakTheBias.

Victoria Finney, Learning Specialist
APAC

  1. What has been your proudest moment or achievement in your career to date?

    I am incredibly proud of my career progression and tenure with Encore. From starting out as an Audio Visual Technician I have had the opportunity to hold positions as Venue Director and Assistant Venues Director in our Venues Team, Crew Controller in our Operations team and now APAC Learning Specialist as a member of the Human Resources team. I have developed an understanding and appreciation for the different business groups within the company and rapport with management and peers. I am now able to support all team members as Learning Specialist and give back to a company that has allowed me the opportunity and learning support to grow and advance my career.

  2. What inspired you to follow this career path?

    I have always been passionate about music however not so much about performing in front of an audience so I decided the next best thing would be to support those who could and develop my skills and an Audio Technician. After informing my parents of my newfound passion I discovered that my father had worked in the industry and had his support in honing my skills mixing primarily local heavy metal bands in my hometown. During my senior school years, I had the opportunity to gain a unique insight into a career at Encore (then Staging Connections) via a work experience placement. After a week working alongside the team in the A.C.T setting up foldback for a large scale event I was hooked.

  3. What do you love most about your job and working for Encore?

    The team members, the comradery, and the passion that we share in this industry. When you step back and look at what we achieve together we create moments in time, memories and no sooner have we created a spectacular event do we have to take it down. What lasts is the shared experience we have as a team in building, supporting, and executing that event.

  4. Throughout your time at Encore, what have you observed in relation to females within the business and the business’s support of equality?

    During my formative years with the company and still today I work for and alongside strong females in General Management, Human Resources, as Venue Directors, in Stage Management and Technical roles. I also work alongside strong men who support me as an equal, respect and back me in a way that allows me not to be dismissed or diminished by their support or have them take over but rather allows me the space to step up.

  5. What’s your advice to other women looking to pursue a similar career path?

    Don’t be inhibited by your internal dialogue. Look at the opportunities that arise and instead of thinking of the ways you may not be a traditional fit for a role look instead at what you can bring to that role. Always jump at the opportunity to extend yourself through training and invitation to work on projects. Become a subject matter expert in areas you are passionate about.

  6. How has working at Encore impacted your career?

    I came into Encore as a passionate Audio Visual Technician. Encore has allowed me to take a passion for the events industry and given me the scope, training, and development to advance into roles that continues to grow with me and offer a fulfilling career. I have always referred to my employment with Encore as a career and never a job.

  7. What roles and locations have you worked in during your time with Encore?

    Over the past 16 years I have had the opportunity to work in multiple offices along the east coast of Australia including Canberra and The Whitsundays as an Audio Visual Technician and Sydney where I have held roles as an Audio Visual Technician, Assistant Venue Director, Venue Director, Crew Controller and now Learning Specialist for APAC. I have also visited our Southeast Queensland, Melbourne and New Zealand locations when assisting with project rollouts.

  8. What would you say to your younger self?

    Own your successes and your failures but don’t take on the responsibility of someone else’s. Give more than you get, you lose nothing by sharing your skills with others.

Sheridan Tampion, Technician
Sydney

  1. What has been your proudest moment or achievement in your career to date? And why.

    My proudest moment actually came very early in my employment. I was helping to assemble a large truss arch in one of our partner venues when I heard a voice introducing himself to a colleague nearby, explaining that he was show calling the event that night. I recognised this voice immediately, as it belonged to one of my teachers from an industry related TAFE course I had studied three years previously. I excitedly approached him and said hello – he was both surprised and pleased to see me. We then had a short discussion catching each other up on our career progress over the last few years. I was proud to demonstrate – surrounded by lights and truss – that I had taken his lessons and advice onboard and, after gaining two years of experience in theatres, finally secured an AV role out in the real world. The hard work had paid off.

  2. What inspired you to follow this career path?

    I studied music performance specialising in voice after leaving high school. The auditorium there had an audio mixing console and simple lighting desk at the back of the room that caught my eye. Electives were offered that showed us how to use this equipment, and I was hooked.

  3. What do you love most about your job and working for Encore?

    Two years of pandemic pandemonium and long-standing lockdowns has reinforced what a good bunch of people we have working at Encore. As with many companies worldwide, Encore took a financial hit, and we sadly lost people as a result. But I will never forget how upper management went out to bat for us, and many of us were kept employed despite worldwide shutdowns, no events, and other hardships.

    When I returned to face-to-face work, seeing my colleagues was like returning home, and that sense of belonging and inclusion is very special.


  4. Throughout your time at Encore, what have you observed in relation to females within the business and the business’s support of equality?

    Regarding technical roles specifically, there are more men in these roles than women. This has been the status quo for many years, but it is important to acknowledge the shift that has taken place as more women become interested in a career in AV. Gender is not the barrier that it once was and, as a result, we’re seeing more women behind the operator’s desk. On a more general business level, women are well represented in many roles including venue directors and sales – the people with which I interact most often outside of the technical circle. It’s also worth noting that NSW’s General Manager is female.

  5. What’s your advice to other women looking to pursue a similar career path?

    My advice to women would be the same as my advice to people who identify as any gender – look for opportunities to get experience wherever you can find it, such as your local theatre, church, and school. Immerse yourself in the AV community, try new things and start networking, because opportunities sometimes come from unusual places. Furthermore, you do not need a fancy degree and a mountain of student debt nowadays to get your foot in the door. The internet is an immensely valuable resource for learning virtually anything you need to know. Combine this with some diligence and hands on experience and you’ll be a formidable employment candidate.

  6. How has working at Encore impacted your career?

    Encore launched my career in AV. My previous job roles were unrelated to the field and lacking direction. During that time, I volunteered at several theatre companies to build experience in AV and open some doors. Encore (at the time called Staging Connections) was the first company to see my potential and made the decision to recruit me.

  7. What would you say to your 8 year old self?

    I would encourage her to tell her parents she wants to play those shiny instruments sitting in the AV room. She is three years away from discovering music and her ability to sing but is already giving that saxophone the side eye.

    I’d tell her to take the opportunity to get involved in high school events in the school hall – as a back stage helper as well as on stage, for I was too shy to express my fascination with the equipment at that time, and it could have saved me five or more years of delaying my start into the workforce due to indecision and lack of exploration.

    If you have a niggling interest in something, delve further into it. Maybe you’ll decide later it isn’t for you. But what if it is?

Luisa Mate, Venue Director
Fiji

  1. What has been your proudest moment or achievement in your career to date? And why.

    My proudest moment was successfully executing a hybrid event on February 12th, 2022, at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa. We had the opportunity to work alongside a group of Advanced team and Executive Techs that flew in from Washington DC for the Official Visit to Fiji by the United States Secretary of State, His Excellency Anton J. Blinken. It was a proud moment of our small team of technicians, operation, and I as we delivered and experienced this high-level meeting and be a part of Fiji’s Historical event.


  2. What inspired you to follow this career path?

    I joined the Hospitality Industry in 2009 in the Sales & Marketing and Events team for about 7 years where I grew my passion of customer engagement and understanding the customers unique needs and how an offering fits into the picture. Encore gave me this same opportunity 5 years ago when I joined the team in 2017 and I never looked back as I am doing what I love the most Sales, interacting with people and being able to grow my knowledge on audio visual and now hybrid technology.


  3. What do you love most about your job and working for Encore?

    The team of course, here in Fiji we are a small team of 11 amazing technicians and admin, venue directors, and operation team too and two awesome leaders, Adam & Tim! Working for Encore has given me a sense of belonging and has challenged my professional development.


  4. Throughout your time at Encore, what have you observed in relation to females within the business and the business’s support of equality?

    I believe when women are given access to opportunities for career growth, they can make a huge impact on their company and support equality as whole. Encore has shown me this value and loyalty which has impacted my career.


  5. What’s your advice to other women looking to pursue a similar career path?

    Take pride in advancing your career, demonstrate you’re up for a challenge, and continue to network. Remember that you are your best advocate, and deserve to be treated equally, so show them you’ve got what it takes!


  6. How has working at Encore impacted your career?

    The company direction and purpose through COVID was a source of encouragement for colleagues and me, especially coming from a small island nation and I will continue to show my committed to doing more great work.


  7. What roles and locations have you worked in during your time with Encore?

    Venue Director at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa since 2017. I worked remotely from Fiji for about 3 months assisting Matthew Jordaan from Sofitel Auckland, New Zealand and Pedro Martinho from Pullman International, Cairns during COVID Fiji lockdown in 2021 which was an amazing opportunity and learning experience.


  8. What would you say to your 8-year-old self?

    Be kinder to yourself, always know your worth! Nothing is impossible when you believe!

Tanya Cosgrave, Venue Director
New Zealand

  1. What has been your proudest moment or achievement in your career to date? And why.The proudest moment for me to date, would be when I received the medallion from the Joint International Configuration Review Board and MIDS International Review Board committee after their week-long event at the Pullman in Auckland in November 2019.  It was a five-day event with multiple breakout venues with multiple sessions per day.  At the end of the conference on the last day, I was called up together with the technical team and we were publicly thanked in front of all the attendees and were handed the medallion as a token of appreciation.  This was the first time that New Zealand had the opportunity to host this international event and we were very grateful to be apart of a historical event.
  2. What roles and locations have you worked in during your time with Encore?I started with Encore as a Venue Sales Executive at the Pullman in Auckland in 2018 and I am now a Venue Director, assisting with several hotels in Auckland.
  3. What inspired you to follow this career path?I saw an ad with a recruitment company for a Venue Sales Executive based in a hotel. I went to the interview thinking I would be interviewing for a role with the hotel, only to find out that it was for Encore. I took a chance and thought I have so much to gain, so why not and here I am 3 years later in a Venue Director role.
  4. What do you love most about your job and working for Encore?No two days are the same. Walking into a venue with a client pre-function seeing an empty shell and then on show day walking into the same venue, all set up with stage, lighting and styling and seeing their facial expression for the first time. It makes all the long hours and hard work to get to that point all worthwhile.
  5. Throughout your time at Encore, what have you observed in relation to females within the business and the business’s support of equality?I have found the females that work in Encore have got strong voices and are not shy to be heard. I feel that females are well supported and are not overlooked when opportunities arise to further their careers.
  6. What’s your advice to other women looking to pursue a similar career path? Don’t be afraid to try something new. I came into the industry, knowing very little to nothing about audio, vision, lighting etc and used my knowledge gained during my work experience at various hotels and in the events industry to help me get through. During my time at Encore and thanks to the support from management, the technical and wider team it has helped me to grow from strength to strength.
  7. How has working at Encore impacted your career?I found it has broadened my horizons to a whole new industry, that I previously had little experience with, and I find that I am learning something new every day. It has brought me out of my comfort zone, of just a sales role, to a more diverse role knowing a lot more about our products and services that we have on offer. It has also made me feel confident when speaking to clients about what we are all about and how we can assist them with their events.

Nicha Komsun, Venue Director
Thailand

  1. What has been your proudest moment or achievement in your career to date? And why.

    The most proudest and achievement is to work with Encore. I have been in the event industry for 17 years and Encore is the best company I’ve ever worked with. I’ve always felt extremely grateful that I work here. The company is very supportive and I work in a team that is helpful and encouraging. I feel safe and know that I can help the company grow and in turn grow with it.

  2. What inspired you to follow this career path?

    The excitement of events is why I love what I do. I meet a lot of people (colleagues, client, teams, partner and vendors). I love being part of a team and collaborating with all kinds of people.  We aren’t just working together, we support each other on a deeper level to ensure we deliver every event successfully. Everyday is a new day to learn, improve and to keep challenging myself.

  3. What do you love most about your job and working for Encore?

    People at Encore are what I love the most. The way we work together, the way we support each other. Everyone is supportive and I never feel alone. I know I have my teams and company beside me and help me to be the best that I can be.

  4. Throughout your time at Encore, what have you observed in relation to females within the business and the business’s support of equality?

    I believe everyone at Encore is treated equally. For females in particular, Encore is very supportive and gives us opportunities to further our careers.

  5. What’s your advice to other women looking to pursue a similar career path?

    If you know what you want to do and be then stick to it. Do not stop learning and develop yourself. Keep walking and you will be there one day.

  6. How has working at Encore impacted your career?

    Working at Encore grown my mind set a lot especially in the people development. The company are very supportive in my career so I can do the job well and I can improve my capability a lot.

  7. What would you say to your 8 year old safe?

    Be a good person who surrounded by all good person. Stay positive in all situation and whatever you want be try to be the best you can be.

Feeling inspired? Join the Encore team

At Encore, our people are our great asset, because without our talented team we wouldn’t be able to deliver the incredible experiences that we do. We are always looking to bring on new talent for passionate, dedicated and hard working individuals. If you are interested in joining our team across our ANZPAC offices, please explore our open opportunities today.

Since the start of COVID-19, thousands of events have been postponed, cancelled or pivoted to virtual platforms. While the vaccine has allowed many businesses to resume events and meetings as usual, new variant waves have continued to stall the return to face-to-face encounters. So, what does all of this mean for the future of in-person meetings?

In early December 2021, Encore surveyed a number of meeting and event planners to gain insight into what trends they are seeing and what they predict for meetings going forward. Keep reading to learn more or check out Encore Global’s Winter 2021-2 Planner Pulse Report.

More planners are requiring vaccinations

Many organizations across the country, including the event planning industry, have implemented new protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help attendees feel comfortable attending in-person events. Last fall, event professionals noted that reduced interest for in-person gatherings was due to a perceived lack of safety precautions. From requiring masks to creating socially distant floorplans, event planners are taking additional measures to promote a healthy environment and build confidence about meeting in-person.

According to our survey, 48 percent of planning organizations now require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend in-person events. Meeting professionals have opted for enhanced protocols to create both a safer meeting environment and more peace of mind for attendees.

Planners continue to use hybrid platforms

It’s no secret that the rising number of COVID cases and the presence of the Omicron variant have led to some hesitancy to attend public events. That is why hybrid events have been one of the leading meeting formats over the past 18+ months.

Our survey indicated that 49 percent of meeting planners have executed hybrid events during the last six months—a 4 percent increase over the number of hybrid events conducted since conducting our survey in fall 2021. While the goal is to get more attendees to participate in-person, planners are starting to make virtual meeting components a permanent option.

Planners anticipate higher spending in 2022

One of biggest ways the pandemic has impacted the events industry is by how many resources businesses and organizations are willing to invest in their meetings and events. Thankfully, there is a lot of optimism going into 2022. According to our latest Planner Pulse survey, 11 percent of event professionals indicated that their meeting spend has already recovered to pre-COVID 2019 levels, while another 46 percent are expecting to do so this year.

Planners predict an increase of in-person events

While virtual events have taken the industry by storm since early in the pandemic, many attendees are eager to get back to face-to-face gatherings. As previously mentioned, the vaccine is allowing for in-person events to make a comeback…slowly. While there is no specific timeline on how quickly in-person meetings will start to be a more regular occurrence, meeting planners are confident that we will see a steady rise in the second quarter of 2022. Event professionals are suggesting to other planners that they use this time to learn how they can leverage some of the best practices from their virtual and hybrid events.

Meeting planners are optimistic that the number of in-person gatherings will continue to increase throughout 2022—stateside and worldwide. Encore not only has the solutions you need to present your events through virtual and hybrid formats but is also dedicated to promoting how in-person meetings can happen safely. 

What's hot from CES 2022

January 2022 saw the in-person return of one of the most exciting technology symposiums, Consumer Electronics Show (CES). While there were notable last-minute exhibitor absences and 45k attendees vs the 170k that attended the 2020 show, a slightly subdued CES delivered an impressive lineup of tech that felt equal parts concept and market ready (per the norm). From cyber strollers to pet facial recognition, smart pillows to flying ‘cars,’ CES had something to offer any tech enthusiast.

Including robots. So many robots.

Encore Product Management scouted the show floor for the next great add to the Encore development pipeline. Below is a sampling of the tech that caught our attention (spoiler, there are no robots):

Abusizz Lamp+

Lamp+ from Swiss company Abusizz can turn any desktop surface into a smart table without adding any technology to the table. An overhead projector, Lamp+ uses a proprietary operating system to accommodate a minimalist interface for touch interactions without physical inputs.

Features include:

  • Built in omnidirectional audio
  • Casting capabilities via Airplay, Chromecast, and Miracast
  • Accurate and responsive to touch recognition
  • 500 lumen output, standard for many pico projectors
  • A larger model called “Table+” with improved audio coverage and image brightness

While Lamp+ is meant to be an installed technology, the economics of temporary/modular use in the meeting space is not prohibitive. With a UI so simple, discoverable, and deployable, Abusizz is certainly a company to watch. 

Learn more at Abusizz.ch.

Fairy Devices Linklet

Wearable technology is becoming more prevalent with the steady adoption of smart glasses, GPS watches, cloud-connected rings, and the promise of smart clothing inbound. Japanese manufacturer Fairy Devices showed off their contribution to the wearable revolution with Linklet, a hands-free video conferencing device; worn over the user’s neck.

Features include:

  • First-person point of view for remote participants
  • Image stabilized for less blurred imagery typical of head mounted solutions
  • Integrates with Teams or Zoom
  • Links with WiFi or LTE mobile, so users are not bound by the limits of their network coverage

A quality first-person communication device opens the door for hands-focused presentations, like cooking classes or trade school instruction, as well as improved remote site visits.

Click here for more info the Fairy Devices Linklet.

Noveto N1

The N1 is a personal audio device that aurally cocoons the user by employing sound beaming technology. The result is what Noveto calls an “invisible headphone experience”.


Watch the video here:



Features include:

  • 90% reduction of audio outside of the sound pocket
  • Sound pocket determined by motion sensors that alter the beam direction to ensure there are no dropouts in volume or clarity
  • Whisper-level sonic output is still audible
  • Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm connectivity

Even on the rowdy CES show floor, the noise reduction could be appreciated. N1 can be used for video conferences, music, podcasts, and standard phone calls without disturbing those around you. N1 is scheduled to ship late in Q1 2022.

More on the Noveto N1.

LG XBoom 360

While not officially highlighted at CES 2022, the XBoom 360 caught our eye (and ear) as it was positioned around LG’s desolate QR code-powered exhibit space. This premium Bluetooth speaker is omnidirectional with a unique aesthetic and serious sonic oomph.

Features include:

  • 360-degree audio coverage
  • Bluetooth multipoint (multiple connected devices)
  • Wirelessly paired with an additional speaker for greater coverage
  • USB-A and 3.5mm inputs
  • A customizable mood light near its peak
  • Estimated ten-hour battery life
  • Smartphone app implements EQ curves, customizes mood light color, and engage “DJ Mode.”

The DJ feature allows for some novel delay effects and drum samples to be dropped in on a whim. There is also a sample creator option, which allows recording of up to a 5 second sample. This could be utilized for audience guidance and announcements over the course of an event. “Everyone, please stop dancing and take your seats.” 

Learn more about the XBoom 360 on LG’s website.

Samsung Odyssey Ark

We heard about it before we saw it. The CES exhibits space was abuzz with talks of the Odyssey Ark. As Samsung’s largest curved monitor at 55”, the Ark engulfs the user in whatever content they view.

Features include:

  • 55”, 16:9 aspect, 4k resolution, 1000R curvature
  • With multiview capabilities and a wireless hardware dial, separate inputs can be positioned and resized within the screen’s real estate to optimize the desired layout
  • Can be used in standard landscape mode or in portrait orientation
  • Portrait mode sees the monitor literally towering over the user’s head, allowing for a novel type of immersion

Paired with Multiview, this functionality allows for impressive and customizable productivity stations. Technical details beyond the basics have yet to be divulged. The Samsung Odyssey Ark is slated for release in the second half of 2022. Obviously uses include digital signage and engagement spaces, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see large versions of this screen appear in the future.

Read more about a review from Man of Many on Samsung’s Odyssey Ark.

VideowindoW

VideowindoW took out this year’s Best of Innovation award in CES’s Smart Cities category and it’s easy to see why.

VideowindoW is a modular solution that changes standard glass panels into transparent displays while actively mitigating glare. Similar to E Ink solutions, VideowindoW uses no backlight and relies on external ambient light to showcase imagery. The opacity of grayscale images adapts to sunlight/overcast conditions. While the company is currently focusing on airport applications, we see this technology splitting into several classes valuable to meetings and events, chief of which includes scenic applications and command/control of installed venue displays.

Check out a demo of VideowindoW on their website.

Holographic Touch

Just as we can’t seem to escape hologram technology, ‘contactless’ is a word we’ve all become familiar with over the past two years. This typically means utilizing a personal smart device to complete something like a transaction or menu selection. Holo Industries has taken the phrase literally with their Holographic Touch technology. Offering users a new way to interface with displays and kiosks, all the standard operating movements of a touch display are present: touch-to-click, swipe, scroll, pinch-to-zoom etc. The user receives auditory feedback of a successful selection; however, it certainly takes some time to get accustomed to the feeling of poking a point in mid-air. It will be interesting to see if these touchless interactive displays gain traction.​​​​​​​

More information can be found on Holo Industries website.

PORTL M

Holographic solution provider PORTL announced a desktop version of their “holoportation” device. At 1/5th scale of their life-size product, the PORTL M is designed for holographic video conferencing as well as playback of content recorded and uploaded from a smart device.

Features include:

  • Integrated speakers
  • AI-enabled smart camera
  • Multitouch display.

While holograms have often been seen as a gimmick, the PORTL M may convince consumers to invite a Star Wars-esque experience into their homes. We could see the PORTL devices being used for remote presentations, exhibit booths, and unique artwork displays.​​​​​​​

For more about the PORTL M and the life-size product, PORTL Epic, head over to portlhologram.com.

STARcase

The STARcase jumped out as an interest item for gift bags, swag giveaways or prize raffles. Available for most major smart phones, STARcase illuminates the back of your device with its customizable LED matrix display. Controllable via app, users can choose from predetermined “light shows,” scrolling text, and notifications from other smart phone applications. Paired with a smart charge battery, the STARcase can also give your device some extra juice. While it certainly is a novelty item, STARcase could be a creative way to inject branding or sponsors into an industry event or tradeshow.

 

Learn more about STARcase

Lastly, an honourable mention to E Ink

It wouldn’t be proper to post a CES article without mentioning the star of the conference. Turning heads and making headlines, BMW introduced their iX Flow concept vehicle featuring color-changing technology using E ink. Microcapsules coating the car surface are stimulated to a positive or negative charge for black or white colors respectively. BMW states that this is an advanced R&D project so don’t expect the iX Flow to hit streets any time soon. This technology can’t help but excite an event industry focused mind with the possibilities of E ink for scenic, signage, and décor. But with E ink’s struggle to gain significant holding in the mainstream since its introduction in the early 2000’s, do not expect to see an E ink powered scenic solution in 2022.

Discover more about the technology behind the iX Flow’s look at Eink.com.

Watch the cool colour changing paint here.

A final word

While the above list is by no means exhaustive (our initial findings report included over a hundred products), we hope this gives you a glimpse of where consumer tech is headed for the next year and how it can be applied to our industry. Some of the component-level technologies we’ll be considering in research and development range across the Internet of things (IoT), Smart Cities, Computer Vision and Tracking, and Home Automation. We plan to include some of this capable tech in future product and solution concepts, so we may share these details with you soon enough. ​​​​​​​

Until then, we wish you dreams of functional robots.

Learn how to master your event budget for hybrid events

By now we’re all well and truly familiar with the concept of a hybrid event. They became a life raft for many events throughout the COVID pandemic and continue to help forge the path back to recovery. For some event planners, the benefits of a hybrid event were so appealing they’ve even become the preferred format moving forward. However, like with anything worth doing, hybrid events come with a few more considerations and steps in the planning phase. For one, unlike traditional in-person events, event planners need to consider both event experiences that need to be executed simultaneously.

One for the in-person attendee and another for the participants who are attending virtually. But this two-pronged meeting experience doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. If you’re worried about how to budget for hybrid events, Matthew Johnsen, Vice President of Product Management at Encore, has some advice  to you manage can help, or even reduce, hybrid event-related expenses so you stay within budget. 

Variable cost reduction

One thing working in your favor is how common it has become for professionals to conduct business remotely. “Before the pandemic, I would never believe that so many people would become comfortable with hybrid meetings,” Johnsen says. 

You can leverage that familiarity to expand your virtual audience while limiting the number of participants you invite to join you on-site. “When you reduce the amount of people coming to the in-person meeting,” Johnsen says, “that can also reduce the food, beverage and travel costs.”

If your hybrid event is being hosted across multiple locations, another option to manage venue hire costs for in-person attendees is to partner with a venue or hotel brand that can host you at all locations. The more rooms equals more leverage with negotiations. Better yet, this can also be applied to the event production partner you use too. Having the same provider in-house at all locations means you can often enjoy benefits of consistency, greater leverage thanks to economies of scale and convenience of dealing with one company that is accountable for everything.

Scalability

Another factor that can help you control costs is scalability. Look at the scope and scale of the virtual production elements you need to achieve your meeting objectives and determine where it’s most important to invest your money. 

“A hybrid meeting doesn’t have to be complex. It can be a simple Microsoft Teams meeting,” Johnsen says. “If it’s just a small meeting, you can have participants bring their own laptops and arrange them around a conference table.” The in-person attendees can then use standard videoconferencing software, like Zoom, to connect with the remote participants. This might be more affordable than the kind of in-person meeting you may have done in the past with standard projection packages, microphones and mixers. 

If you need something a little more sophisticated, add a centralised camera and screen to the in-person space. “Smaller meetings that didn’t need speakers and microphones may need them now for broadcast.”  

For larger events, the silver lining is you probably already have what you need for broadcasting content. “If you’re hosting a meeting that in the past had sound, light and a camera for recording, those costs haven’t changed,” Johnsen explains. “That $50,000 event isn’t jumping to $150,000. It’s quite possible that the only additional cost is adding an encoder [to stream content to the internet].”  

You also may need to add a dedicated broadband connection to any room that is streaming content. Every venue has different internet capabilities and costs so speak to your AV and event production partner to estimate your bandwidth requirements and expected costs for upcoming events. 

Focus on the 'Big 3' hybrid expenses

Johnsen says hybrid events tend to have expenses concentrated in three key areas: 

  1. Hardware costs 
  2. Platform costs 
  3. Virtual team costs 

For a small meeting, the hardware costs will most likely be minimal. What is needed to ensure that participants and speakers are seen and heard may be the same or less than the audiovisual costs you normally would incur for an in-person meeting. For large meetings that already have fully produced sessions and keynotes, the only additional costs might be for an encoding device that allows the video and audio streams to be broadcast online. 

The platform is what your virtual participants will use to view and/or interact with your broadcast content. For simple education or informational meetings and events, ZoomGoogle Meet or Microsoft Teams might be the only platforms you need. If you want to enhance the experience and increase participant engagement, or customize the experience, you may want to invest in a platform with more bells and whistles. The costs and features vary, from self-service to fully produced. If you’re unfamiliar with options or need assistance, it’s good idea to partner with a team like Encore, which provides a variety of platforms and production solutions. 

Encore also can provide virtual team members who can perform specific creative functions, like designing lower-thirds and motion-graphic animations for broadcast content or provide production staff, like virtual stage managers, who manage speakers and coordinate key behind-the-scenes components. 

Virtual team costs are scalable. For example, if all you want to do is make a Zoom feed look professional, you may only need to hire a presentation graphics designer to create branded speaker frames and a streaming engineer to overlay them on the stream. If, however, you need professional-quality broadcast streams from multiple locations. You may need to build “pop-up” studios in each location and staff them with technicians.  

Potential revenue generators

Hybrid events can generate additional streams of revenue to offset costs. Virtual and hybrid platforms, like Cvent’s Attendee Hub and Chime Live, offer branded sponsorship opportunities and expanded ways to generate revenue from exhibitors and sponsors. 

Sponsorship is a fantastic way to leverage audiences and create positive brand association. In this article, How to drive revenue from virtual event sponsorship, we share 10 ways you make more money from the online component of your hybrid event. The more money it makes, the better ROI.

Another revenue stream can come from repackaging your content. If you’re already paying for elements that enhance the sound and light quality to make your content broadcast-ready, consider recording it. With a little editing, all those sessions can be sold online or rebroadcast as pay-per-view sessions, webinars, or virtual events.