Event Tech Trends, Part One: Get Ready — Virtual and Augmented Reality Are About To Change Brand Experiences

This is the first installment in a three-part series in which Chris Cavanaugh, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer of Freeman, discusses the event technology that is shaping the future of the brand experiences. This post focusses on the impact and future of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality and how it will shape face-to-face marketing. Creating new ways for event attendees to visualize, engage, and empathize. This post was originally posted on Freeman blog and is the first installment in a three-part series in which Chris Cavanaugh, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer of Freeman, discusses the event technology that is shaping the future of the brand experiences. Keeping up with event technology can be a full-time job. It seems like every week there’s a new application or piece of technology that promises to revolutionize the world of brand experiences. Deciding which technology is right for a given brand, live event, or audience is not an easy decision, given the resources and budget required. There are many drivers, such as the audience’s needs, the strategy, the environment, the brand narrative, and even the brand’s history (to name a few). The best approach is to ask yourself this: what story is the brand trying to tell, and how does this application help deliver the message in a personalized, compelling manner? In this series, I’ll be discussing three technology trends that are currently on the rise, and offering some insight as to why I think they genuinely offer the best opportunities to enhance a brand narrative.
One of the biggest trends that we are all going to see over the next year is the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The technologies are closely related, but VR is about creating entirely digital worlds, while AR is about enhancing reality with digital content. As these technologies mature and prices come down, their applications are becoming more and more evident, not just in creating engagement opportunities for audiences, but also as an integral part of the design process. In other words, VR and AR can be just as useful behind the curtain as in front of it. Let’s face it, not everyone is visual. We could all use a little help, right? In terms of design visualization, VR and AR are creating some breathtaking possibilities. With VR, designers and clients will now be able to preview their designs before anything goes into production — in three dimensions, in real time, and with all the context of size, scale, and depth available to them. In the future, as AR technologies become more refined, clients might even be able to preview their designs and experiences in real-world spaces. These applications aren’t just tools to help us tell stories, they’re also the tools that will help us design and build the worlds in which our stories take place. Let’s face it, not everyone is visual. We could all use a little help, right? In terms of content, VR and AR are just starting to come into their own, and consumers are showing a keen interest. Facebook has invested billions in Oculus, and its developers are working on creating avenues for consumption of 360-degree VR content within users’ timeline feeds. The infrastructure is developing, so now it’s up to us to create the content to fill it. As far as engagement, the research is very promising. Studies have shown that this technology can be an incredibly powerful emotional engagement tool, even more so than TV. There’s a widely held belief that VR and AR have the potential to increase empathy, which in turn could result in a deeper, more authentic connection with audiences. Some brands are even using the technology to let users experience life through another person’s eyes. Consider that we’ve only just scratched the surface of VR’s potential. Brands are currently using VR and AR to let consumers interact with products virtually, visit travel destinations or environments they’ve never been to before, and experience concerts or sporting events from the front row. In just a year or two of content creation, our ability to tell impactful stories has already increased by leaps and bounds.
As developers get accustomed to using VR and AR as storytelling tools, I think we’ll start to see them dramatically expand the use of these technologies and push their limits. In the hands of our most creative people, there’s no telling what new applications are out there that we haven’t even seen yet.
Therein lies the power of VR’s evolution. The Internet was around for years before people discovered that social sharing was the key to driving content adoption. There’s a good chance we’ll see the same growth with VR and AR. Stay tuned for my next article, when I’ll be discussing my thoughts on live streaming and events. The Staging Connections Group Limited (SCGL) was acquired by the world’s largest brand experience company, Freeman, in October 2015. As the world’s largest brand experience company, Freeman helps organisations connect with their customers by delivering seamless, innovative, and immersive brand experiences and events. Through comprehensive solutions including strategy, creative, logistics, digital solutions, and event technology, Freeman helps clients increase engagement and drive results. … Read More

Integrating virtual reality into the event world

ADELE GOES TO IMEX CONTINUED....Virtual Reality at Events! Every year, event professionals, venues, event agencies, and event service providers and suppliers make the pilgrimage to IMEX - the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events. This year, we sent our Marketing Manager, Adele Symonds, to Las Vegas to get the inside scoop on what's hot in the world of events and what we can expect to hit our shores. As expected, virtual reality was a hot topic at IMEX. Here's what you need to know. -- Virtual reality has been around for some time now, and when it comes up in discussion often event managers see it as a risk that could reduce the number of attendees at events. At IMEX in Las Vegas, I saw numerous creative ways to utilise virtual reality and maximise the impact of this technology, truly wowing attendees with incredible experiences like never before. The most effective way of showing off a destination, venue or experience is to actually SHOW IT! And virtual reality gives this opportunity. Business Events Sydney and Hamilton Island both had great virtual experiences on offer. I tried the bridge climb scenario which took me on a tour over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and my fear of heights immediately kicked in! I gently had to remind myself, “Don’t worry, it’s not real!”. Pictured: Adele holidays at Hamilton Island's luxury resort, Qualia, thanks to virtual reality. Hamilton Island’s experience was longer and transported me to the Great Barrier Reef, by helicopter, and to other secluded locations around the island. This sort of experience in real life would have been expensive for an event manager from the other side of the world to attend, so the use of virtual reality in this way was very cost effective and left a unique impression on attendees. Germany also had a very cool virtual experience on offer that took you on a journey around their destination and tourist hotspots. Many brands, venues and destinations jumped on the opportunity to integrate new technologies into their tradeshow presence, and virtual reality is something that really stood out. The VR experiences were obviously popular, allowing attendees to get a taste of the virtual experience. However, content really is key when it comes to virtual reality experiences. I also tried a couple of experiences that missed the mark and seemed rather dull in comparison. It is clear that the technology has to be used well and the content has to be clever, creative and of a really great quality. Pictured: Another IMEX attendee enjoying a virtual tour of the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre thanks to virtual reality technology. What I didn’t see was the use of virtual reality using goggles and a hand held controller to enable me to move around and explore the places I wanted to go. It would have been much more impactful and memorable if I could choose where the virtual journey would take me, but I think the use of this technology will be reserved for tech companies and gaming providers until the software becomes more common place. I look forward to seeing how virtual reality continues to be integrated into the event world. For the events industry, there is a huge opportunity for destinations, venues and tourist experience providers to use the technology to enable event attendees to experience a different world or step into a new reality. ... Read More

IMEX Insider: 4 event tech trends you need to know about

Every year, event professionals, venues, event agencies, and event service providers and suppliers make the pilgrimage to IMEX - the worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings and events. This year, we sent our Marketing Manager, Adele Symonds, to Las Vegas to get the inside scoop on what's hot in the world of events and what we can expect to hit our shores. Below Adele shares her insights and experience after attending this year's event over two action-packed days in October. Pictured: Attendees queuing to enter the show floor on Day 1 of IMEX 2016. -- IMEX 2016 was big, I mean really big. With over 3,250 exhibitors, 3,200 hosted buyers and 12,000 attendees you could forgive me for frequently getting lost. An event of this size could certainly use a mobile phone app that uses augmented reality to show me where I need to go – think Google Maps for IMEX. Pictured: Staging Connections; marketing manager, Adele Symonds, enjoying a virtual tour of Qualia Resort at IMEX 2016. IMEX claims to be the pulse of the meetings industry, and if the technology on show was anything to go by, our industry is set to embrace event technology like never before. Data will continue to be a critically important tool and future technologies will do more than just basic analysis. They will aggregate all the available data, enabling event organisers to understand where attendees went, what sessions they attended, what social media they used and other behaviour to give genuine return on investment reports and help improve future events. There were four event technology trends that stood out for me: 1. Wearable Technology for events Apple Watch, Google Glass, even virtual reality—they’re all going to become as common a sight at major events as your co-worker’s Fitbit. Smart badges and wristbands will soon replace the name badge and the exchange of printed business cards. Everyone’s wearing them already, so why not make them work for your event? These devices can serve not only to track attendee activity, but to market and promote your event as well, by sending messages and posting on social channels. 2. Beacons Beacon technology is one that I had predicted we’d see more of, but it has been slow to be adopted. Networking in particular can be greatly improved by using beacons to show users locations, stands and sessions in their area. Aimed at facilitating more meaningful connections, using beacons to connect people can create more memorable events. Particularly events as large as IMEX where connecting with the right people can be tricky. Beacons assist by recognising attendees in the venue, and letting them join ongoing conversations with other users at the same session or function, enabling a new level of interaction. Tapping into this engagement, organisers can also run in-app polls in real time and drive survey responses from those same users. Beacons can also be used for to benefit event organisers by tracking how people navigate their way through your event or exhibition. It provide amazing insights about how long on average people spent at exhibitor booths and can provide insight into how to improve your event's layout. Pictured: Over 3200 exhibitor on show at IMEX 2016. 3. Holograms I saw some really cool examples of hologram technology on the show floor, which will enable speakers who are unable to attend, the opportunity to connect with that audience. It will offer limitless opportunities for speaker sessions and entertainment. 4. Gamification Gamification was another key theme at IMEX. I attended a great session ‘Gamification is serious business’, by Charles Beris from Play with a Purpose. The session investigated how brands can blend psychology with technology to create fun, competitive experiences that drive engagement, loyalty and brand/message recall. IMEX America was incredibly interesting, exciting and, above all else, it was completely energising. It showed the strength of the global events industry, the creativity of event professionals, and gave an insight into what the future of events will look like. ... Read More

How event planners are targeting geographically dispersed audiences

As we live in global workforce, companies and event planners alike have to account for their audiences being geographically dispersed across nations, countries, and time zones. With this rise in globalisation and business expansion we're witnessing more and more event organisers look to innovative ways to still engage their audiences in the most cost-effective way. Tim Chapman, General Manager of Digital at Staging Connections explains the satellite event phenomena and what it means for Australian Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs). -- At the recent MEA Conference 2016 held at the Melbourne Conventions Centre, I was invited to speak on webcasting and the benefits of digital innovations in facilitating more meaningful connections with our audiences, across the globe. Whilst webcasting is not a new technology, what has been interesting to see and something that has become a hotly discussed topic is the rise of satellite events using webcast technology. Satellite events are smaller, geographically dispersed events which run simultaneously to the main event which is being live streamed to the smaller venues. For example, your conference may be held in a convention centre in Melbourne and be attended by 300 people while there would be 5 different boardrooms, with 50 people positioned in each, at each of the 5 metros watching the main event take place. Satellite events are popular amongst professional conference organisers in the UK and US and we’re starting to see this trend permeate the events industry here in Australia. Why? Satellite events increase webcast engagement and decrease drop offs Webcasting is an essential element of your event if you want to maximise attendance. It lets you reach attendees in different countries, at more convenient times and sometimes in perpetuity depending on your webcast hosting plan. Webcasting has a huge potential to positively impact your event, however, the key is how you shape your event and communications around webcasting from the outset. When attending a webcast, the average person’s attention span is 90 minutes. That means if you are webcasting an event that runs over this time, you are likely to lose a large portion of your viewers. After 90 minutes your satellite attendees can take a break, go and enjoy some light refreshments and discuss with fellow attendees what they’ve just learned. This break away from your content, means your attendees will come back re-energised for another round. Satellite events make webcasting more social Human beings are social creatures. We need interaction for us to feel engaged. Expecting a viewer to sit alone and watch an event on a screen all day is unrealistic. Satellite events are mini-events in that the attendees get the experience of attending your main event but with fewer people in the room. One of the biggest pull factors for conferences and association meetings is the opportunity to network and mingle with your industry personnel. Satellite events make networking possible. Medical meetings, technology conferences, union announcements these are some examples of events where attendees enjoy networking and meeting people within their field. Networking at a satellite event might lead to new ideas, new business or simply, new friends. Satellite events achieve higher content retention Just like in-room audiences, webcast audiences need to be engaged through tailored presentation tactics and interactivity. An event webcast has higher content retention when watched in a group environment. When you are able to actively and openly debate and discuss the content you have just watched, you are more likely to remember what you have just learnt. Even better, you also have the ability to build upon it by listening to the questions and opinions of other attendees. For an educational seminar or conference, you could plan for your attendees to break out into groups to complete activities relating to the content. Then when the session recommences, you could discuss the findings of each group. Satellite events still allow for live participation Despite being held in different locations, satellite event attendees still have the option to participate in Q&A sessions and live audience polls via Event Poll, in the same way as the main event by using live audience polling. In some respects satellite events create opportunities for greater attendee engagement because attendees can even join the conversation happening over social media thanks to Event Feed technology which scans social media platforms for pre-determined hashtags and displays them on a screen for your audience. If you are hosting a product launch event via satellite events, your webcast attendees can still ask questions, answer polls, or tweet their teaser posts just like as if they were in the room. The key to making satellite events successful As with any event being webcast – the key is shaping the event around webcasting from the outset. This means developing a communications plan to ensure it is adequately promoted, RSVPs are managed, reminders are sent etc. Some things you can do to be sure that your satellite even will be a success is to make sure your speaker or presenter engages your satellite audiences by addressing these attendees personally. As attendees of your satellite events will have dwindling interest after 90 minutes, it is best to ensure that, at each of your satellite venues, there is a break room. You can also go the extra mile and organise catering for the break. You can also maximise the success of your satellite events by organising content-related activities for your satellite audiences to complete during their break. These activities should encourage thought-sharing and networking between the attendees of your event. The content for your event should also include audience interaction via live polling using Event Poll and should encourage social media use amongst the attendees of your satellite events, via Event Feed. Is webcasting right for your event? Is your target audience widely spread across a country or the world? Are you hosting your event during office hours? Do you want to sell access to your event recording after it concludes? Is your event part of a series you wish to make available over a long period of time? If you answered yes to any of the above, then you should consider webcasting your next event. Staging Connections offers Australia’s most customisable webcasting platform, which has the ability to stream your event recording alongside the synchronised presentation slides on a branded website. It even has the ability to embed downloadable documents, advertise sponsors, and encourage Live Chat and social media integration. Webcasting is becoming a common feature to most events even awards nights and gala dinners. In this day and age where time is precious not all of your intended audience can physically attend your event. Webcasting allows them to experience your event at a time, or place that suits them. Plus depending on your content, even planners can even increase their return on investment as we’ve previously explained. If you’re interested in discovering more about webcasting your event, speak with a Staging Connections representative today by calling 1800 209 099 or by sending an online event enquiry. -- Written by Tim Chapman, General Manager of Digital, Staging Connections. ... Read More

New Christmas party styling ideas for Queensland events

We're only halfway through the year and the last thing on most people’s mind is Christmas. The many months that separate July and December give the illusion that booking a venue and planning a holiday event is not a pressing matter. You, however, are a savvy event planner, and you know that Christmas venues are already being booked up, and the time for planning a knock-out Christmas party is now. To help you get into the Christmas spirit and holiday party-planning mindset, Staging Connections in South East Queensland has released a selection of Christmas party styling themes so you can start planning a stress-free and beautifully enchanting holiday season event. This year, we’re offering party planners a collection of fresh ideas and some popular revamped classics. Whatever vibe you’re aiming for with your Christmas party, our Christmas themes can help you blow your party’s attendees away. Whether it be a sit down gala dinner, held in combination with your annual awards night or a poolside cocktail party, all of our Christmas party themes can be customized to meet the needs of your Christmas event’s budget, venue and brief. A Fairytale Christmas event theme Fairytales come to life in this beautiful celebration of Christmas. Christmas is a magical time of year surrounded by enchanting tales that warm the hearts of the young and old. This year, we’ll be recreating the magic of these tales in our revamped, “Fairytale Christmas” event styling concept. This theme is all about incorporating rich reds and textured fabrics, like velvet, into your styling and table centrepieces. Add traditional European, medieval-like decorations to your table style to create a luxurious and decadent atmosphere. Ensemble centrepieces of Victorian urns filled with glossy red apples, berries and roses. Bring warmth to the table by adding clusters of red ruby glass candle holders throughout the table. This Christmas styling concept works best on long king tables, which adds a regal atmosphere to the decadent affair. If you’re looking for an enchanting traditional event style for your office Christmas party then this is the perfect concept for you. Glittery Winter Wonderland event styling There is such childlike joy in the thought of snow and we so rarely get to experience its delights here in Southeast Queensland. Whether it be for a festive Christmas event or a stunning gala evening, we can create a magical frozen fantasy to transport your guests to a world of winter white and starry nights. Ethereal snowflakes drift around the room, across sheer chiffon draping in the ceiling and walls of black star-cloth, settling upon a landscape of pristine linens in the purest white. Austere, bare branched centrepieces drip with icy chandelier crystals that twinkle in the light creating a sparkling canopy at every table. With our Winter Wonderland Christmas party theme, your guests will be transported to a world of sparkling white reminiscent of the gleaming north complete with all the enchanting trappings of a white Christmas. Enhance this frosty winter theme with a custom printed Event Backdrop of a Winter Wonderland, or consider projecting snowflakes across your venue walls, or display wintery vistas across a set of digital banners or widescreens. With our range of audio visual technology and lighting systems, we are literally boundless with how we can make your event standout and truly memorable for your guests. Immerse your guests in our 12 Days of Christmas event theme Undeniably a favourite Christmas carol, we’ve brought the ’12 Days of Christmas’ to life as an immersive holiday event theme. With the application of the latest in digital technology, there are limitless ways to make a real impact at your Christmas party with this theme by turning your event into a live countdown to Christmas. Coordinated graphics can be projected onto screens to create a ‘room look’ that changes every half hour to the next day of Christmas, eventually coming to rest at the Twelfth day. This is a contemporary design concept that celebrates an elegant and romantic Christmas tradition. Festive table linens, in shades of Gold, Cardinal Red and Forest Green, create a luxurious atmosphere. 12 different centrepiece designs depicting the 12 days of Christmas coordinate beautifully with the colour palette. This Christmas, create a tonne of excitement at your Christmas party or holiday event with our 12 Days of Christmas party theme. Platinum Colour Pop Add a burst of colour to sophisticated and clean styling with our new Platinum Colour Pop concept. Along crisp white table clothes, silver sequin table runners add sparkle and a sense of luxury to this styled Christmas party look. Our beautiful silver Manzanita trees are decorated with silver baubles all with different finishes and textures, accented with bright pops of colour. Chair covers in silver grey are arranged with coordinating ‘feature chairs’ to match your accent baubles. This holiday theme comes with an entry feature or stage backdrop that includes our lovely and very versatile crystal curtains and spiral chandeliers. To complete your holiday party theme, you can include coloured lighting to match your accent colour in order to create a cohesive and impactful look for your Christmas event. Party in a tropical Calypso Christmas event theme A fun tropical style, the Calypso Christmas party theme is perfect for Queensland’s hot Christmas celebrations. Featuring a riot of bright colours in chair covers and chevron print table runners, you can utilize different elements of this holiday party theme to coordinate or clash to give your tables individual flair. Our pair of pineapple centrepieces in Pink, Lime, Yellow and Teal are the perfect centrepiece for a Queensland Christmas! For an authentic Aussie Christmas feel, you can add our beautiful floating LED orbs in and around a pool area if you have one available, or you can place them on your stage to add a lovely illuminated element to the décor of your holiday event. Christmas Party Styling Top Tips: Event Backdrop – An event backdrop adds a degree of versatility to your Christmas party. Using our range of Event backdrops is a great way to tie your Christmas party theme together while still highlighting your brand. You can use an event backdrop as a stage background, a media wall or as a photo wall. Event Feed - A sure fire way to plan a standout Christmas party is to engage your attendees with a live social media feed. Our Event Feed platform software will pull social media posts with your event’s dedicated hashtag and display them on a feed. When it comes to adding drama to your Christmas party, lighting is your best friend. We offer a range of sophisticated event lighting options to ensure your party shines bright. From branded or themed roving gobos, uplights along the venue walls, to moving pin-spot lighting to make your tables come alive. Change up your seating style – consider ditching the traditional banquet rounds for long king tables, or create a lounge zone at the back of the room, use a mixture of seating options for an eclectic look. In addition to our beautiful and highly customizable Christmas party themes, Staging Connections offer you more than 30 years of event planning experience. We have an event production team that can help you plan and seamlessly execute a Christmas party or holiday event that leaves attendees breathless with enchantment. If you would like to know more about our Christmas party themes, get in touch by calling 1800 209 099 or by sending an online enquiry. Why you should partner with Staging Connections for your office Christmas party The Staging Connections South East Queensland team have delivered countless Christmas parties and end of year office functions for over 30 years. We understand that when it comes to putting on a good show, you need creativity, innovative AV solutions and reliable equipment. Backed by Australia's largest range of event services, you can count on us to make your Christmas party a truly memorable one. We would also like to welcome the newest team member, Pat O'Hara, who is now heading up Event Design at Staging Connections' South East Queensland. Pat O’Hara is one of Australia’s premier event specialists, highly regarded for producing business events of distinction for clients such as Qantas, Emirates, Citrix & Oracle to name a few. He has cemented a reputation for exceptional attention to detail, showcraft, reliability and client service. Specialties and passions include Design, Production Management, & Show Direction. Whilst holding various roles over the years, his connection to Staging Connections goes back to the mid 1990’s. Now as Creative Services Manager, replacing Sean Sturges who has left the business for personal reasons, Pat and his talented team oversee the creative offerings and event design in the South East Queensland region. Sales Manager for South East Queensland, Susan Hamilton, is excited about what the future holds for Staging Connections' styling services with Pat at the helm. “We are thrilled to welcome Pat back to the Staging team! His expertise in production management and creative services, along with his passion for the industry, means he is the perfect fit for our business, and our customers will continue to receive the latest products and event services technology for their conferences and events. Watch this space ...” ... Read More

How to deliver an action-packed, Australiana themed gala dinner for 1000+ international VIPs on Sydney’s harbour

Amway is a world-leading company in beauty, lifestyle and homecare. Every year, they reward their top distributors with immersive events around the world. This year Amway Taiwan chose Sydney as their destination and flew over 1150 guests for week of learning, networking and of course celebrating. They came to us with a proposal – they wanted a big, extravagant event. Exactly the sort of job that excites us. Whilst these big event briefs are exciting to work on, they’re also laden with logistical challenges to overcome. As an experienced AV company, we wanted to share some tips for delivering large, high profile events of this kind, in the hope it will aid event planners facing similar challenges. Watch the video See below our top tips for delivering an Australiana-themed event for 1000+ VIPs. 1. Choose an iconic Australian location Amway Taiwan chose Sydney for a specific reason – they wanted to surprise and delight their guests with a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience and where better than Sydney. For an event of such size and spectacle, we needed the right venue. It needed to be large enough to accommodate the guests with enough access points for crew and audio visual installations but also offer an exclusive feeling, fitting for such a prestigious event. That’s why the client loved the Cutaway at The Barangaroo Reserve Headland Park. Located on the shores of Sydney’s harbour, the Cutaway is one of Sydney’s most anticipated venues, only opening in August last year. Flanked entirely on one side with a sheer, 18-metre high sandstone wall, this unique layout rendered the venue the perfect candidate for projection mapping. Our multimedia team created content that captivated the audience, branded the space, and supported the live performances. 2. Entertain the crowd with a host of recognisable Australian acts and performances. From the moment guests arrived, they were met with performers – stilt walkers dressed as iconic Australian buildings, bouncing kangaroos and caricatures of Aussie lifesavers, plus Australian animal petting areas. Guests were then surprised by five flag-bearing water skis passing the cove, and watched a spectacular aerial acrobatics show by Strange Fruit. Soul Mystique also mesmerised crowds with their innovative dance and magical costume transformation routine. As the entertainment continued through the night, guests were witness to a 40-strong cast from Decendance and the NSW Aboriginal Dance Company, a custom choreographed aerial show and an incredible performance by New Zealand (which is close to Australia!) opera singer Hayley Westenra. 3. Use projection mapping to turn a large venue into a themed experience Projection mapping is a clever way to turn an inanimate backdrop into a dynamic visual journey. The magnificent sandstone wall lining the Cutaway made the perfect, albeit rugged, canvas for us to project onto. Our in-house design team produced a stunning multimedia sequence showcasing iconic Australian buildings, animals and landscapes. We projection mapped this onto the rock wall, turning it into a talking point of the night. It is a clever way to keep guests entertained, theme a relatively bare venue and provide a beautiful backdrop for the on-stage performances and presentations. 4. Use simple, yet clever table styling that captures the Aussie spirit While the dazzling performances were crucial, we couldn’t forget that our guests would be sitting down to gala dinner. Our event stylists were tasked with the challenge of creating stunning centrepieces and tablescapes, and then replicating it for the 100+ tables. No mere feat. Each table featured incredible native Australian floral table arrangements with tiny LED lights that made them glow, casting a warm light around the venue. In true extravagant style, we even had custom-made embroidered Amway napkins and rings designed for this special occasion. 5. Surprise and delight with big, extravagant acts When you need to keep over 1000 guests entertained over a long period of time, you’ll want to consider using big, flashy acts interspersed throughout the event. They’re fantastic for getting the crowd excited, which is great for a fresh injection of energy. They’re also handy at creating a diversion, for when you need to draw your guests’ attention away so your events team can bump-in or out any changes to the event. For our Australiana themed event, our Event Directors covered all bases – flashy cars, water acts and a mesmerising fireworks display. Amway Taiwan asked for a grand entrance for their awards winners. We used seven vintage 1969 Mustang convertibles to give the Amway winners’ procession a red carpet arrival, driving them right onto the stage. During the day, we hosted all the guests on the water’s edge, entertaining them with a water-skiing stunt show. After such an action-packed day, we needed to end the night with a bang. We organised a magnificent fireworks display over Sydney’s harbour, with the entire show running 5 minutes longer than Sydney’s coveted New Year’s Eve fireworks! Staged from two barges on the water, and six positions around Nawi Cove, the shards of coloured lights lit up the harbour, casting a beautiful glow over the venue and a dazzling end to the event. 6. Partner with an experienced Audio Visual company With big, extravagant events come higher stakes. As all of your most important stakeholders are in the room and with so many individual elements, you’ll need an experienced AV and event company you can rely on. Staging Connections has been the name behind some of the largest and most technically demanding live events to hit Australian soil. Having been in the events business for over 30 years, our experienced team of technicians and event directors understand what it takes to deliver to this scale and profile. We only use brands we trust; we take a tailored approach to every brief using everything from the latest in AV, lighting and staging through to event styling and engaging digital media; and we work with you every step of the way so there’s no surprises. If you’re interesting in finding out what Staging Connections can do for your event, get in touch with us today by calling 1800 209 099 or by completing our event quote form. See all the action of Amway Taiwan 2016 Amway Taiwan Incentive Event 2016 from Staging Connections on Vimeo. Business Events Sydney on the Chinese Incentive Market from Staging Connections on Vimeo. ... Read More

Put the spotlight on your event with the latest in pinspot technology

Think lighting your event means simply flipping on a light switch? Think again. Our event lighting experts share how you can make your event look stunning with the use of pinspot lighting. Watch video What is pinspot event lighting? A Pinspot light is an individual computerised table light that can change colour, patterns and position throughout the event. They’re a great option for gala dinners, weddings and social events and add extra wow-factor to dramatically change the look and feel of the table décor. How pinspot lighting can add drama and style to your event From a simple white light focused onto the centrepiece, to a highly choreographed schedule for each table to change colour or patterns, pinspot lighting gives you endless opportunities to get add some drama to your event. Suspended above each table is an LED light that is capable of moving and focusing to wherever the table may be placed. Its colour can then be chosen as one set colour or can change throughout the night at pre-determined times. On top of this, clients can choose to have an open circle of light or choose from a selection of striking patterns to cast beautiful shapes onto the table and centerpieces, making the table a styled feature. Awards nights can utilise the changing colours of pinspot lighting onto the tables to increase the exctiement levels and anticipation of award announcements. Weddings will benefit from subtle moving patterns on the floral centerpieces. And social events can have corporate or club colours projected onto every table. The combinations and creative concepts are endless! Here are our top tips for using pin spots to put your event in the spotlight. 1. Pre planning with your AV experts When considering table lighting options, it’s important to visit your venue at a similar time of day to when your event will be held. That way you will get a clear idea of what the light will be like in the room on the event night. Look around the room and see where the fixed lighting is focused. Lights that illuminate the walls, windows, and ceiling can draw attention away from the centre of the room. Pinspots help to keep your guests’ focus on the tables and each other. This is one part of the lighting design process Staging Connections team of AV technicians goes through in planning for each event. As each venue provides a different environment, each event requires a tailored lighting solution. Therefore, it's important you consider partnering with an AV provider who knows your venue well so you can be sure you're getting the best lighting solution that will meet your expectations. Recommended: Explore Staging Connections' venue partners via Venue Locator 2. Use colour Think outside your event colour palette when you use pinspots. For example, if you've used a particular colour throughout the event, you may like to avoid this colour with your pinspots as it may be too much of one colour and wash away the impact. It’s also a good idea to consider colours that complement all skin tones, like magenta or a soft rose, rather than yellow or green. Take advantage of the effect colour can have on the atmosphere by changing the shades through the course of the night. For example, if your cocktail hour starts around sunset, you can splash your room with golden tones. During dinner, consider soft lighting that will mimic flickering candlelight. 3. Programmed lighting changes A great way to add excitement and anticipation, particularly at award ceremonies is to use programmed lighting changes in the count-down to announcements. It's a great way to highlight tables where winners are sitting as their award is presented. 4. Event styling with pinspots Lighting your centrepiece with pinspots can make them look like pieces of modern art. This works particularly well if you centrepieces have glass or reflective elements to add an interesting glow to each arrangement. Work with your Staging connections event designer to figure out which type of pinspots will best suit your event. You’ll get an event environment that's bound to impress. Additional lighting options If you need to raise the profile of your company brand or message at your event, you may like to consider additional lighting products like gobos. These can be used to create illuminated logos on your dance floor or entrance feature. For weddings, gobos can also be used for the bride and grooms initials, wedding date, or any other wedding motifs. Recommended: What is a gobo? Quality counts when it comes to event lighting When it comes to event lighting it’s vital you can be sure of a quality, dependable safe product. Staging Connections only uses the best quality lighting equipment and manufacturers for our events and events held at our partner venues. This is important because these products are dependable and give a far superior effect to lower quality brands offering simple wash lights which can cause problems or safety issues in the long run. Staging Connections showcase of pinspots at the InterContinental Adelaide from Staging Connections on Vimeo. Staging Connections showcase of pinspots at the InterContinental Adelaide from Staging Connections on Vimeo. ... Read More

Delivering the world's largest global LNG conference - LNG18

In April of 2016, Perth played host to the world’s largest global liquefied national gas conference, LNG18. Held over four days at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre in Western Australia, the conference saw over 6,000 LNG industry professionals register to attend the conference and exhibition. Amongst those in attendance were CEOs from Chevron, Shell and Woodside and even attracted Australian Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and other Heads of State. Watch Video Staging Connections were proud to be appointed as the official audio visual provider for the conference, delivering all audio, vision, set design and staging, lighting and multimedia content for all events over the 4 days. This included the main Opening and Closing Plenary Sessions, the daily plenary sessions in the main theatre and accompanying breakout rooms as well as AV for several ancillary keynote events that ran alongside. Contemporary set design using the latest in projection mapping A hero feature of the conference was the spectacular stage set designed by Staging Connections’ team of in-house designers and technicians. Inspired by a contemporary, industrial look and isometric shapes, the hexagonal shaped set spanned the entire length of the main theatre stage, standing 7.5m high by 20m wide. A scaled-back version was also created was the breakout room, standing 3.5m high by 15m wide. The hexagonal shapes created a perfect canvas for projection mapping stunning scenery of Australia’s landscape and integrating vision of current and future LNG projects. This was projection mapped onto the hexagonal shapes and surrounding stage screens using 12K Panasonics in the breakout theatres and 18K Christies in the main plenary theatre. Watchout software was used to manage the vision playback whilst a Spyder was used as the vision switch control. The stage set was designed with this in mind and the combination of the shapes, scenic content and on-stage performances made way for a very impactful stage experience. LNG18 also gave Staging Connections the opportunity to showcase our multimedia production expertise, having produced all on-screen content for the plenary and breakout sessions as well as captivating videos for the opening and closing ceremonies and sponsor loops. Inteli-Touch - bridging the gap for exhibitors Making it’s debut at the conference was Staging Connections latest digital offering – Inteli-Touch. Inteli-Touch is our answer to “what comes next after PowerPoint and Keynote?” - an interactive touch-screen presentation software that unlocks many opportunities for a seamless presentation experience. Inteli-Touch was utilised by Exhibitions & Trade Fairs (ETF) who delivered the huge scale exhibition at the event. ETF needed a solution that enabled them to display floor plans with the added capability of securing bookings for the 27th World Gas Conference in Washington. It was important that their stand stood out from the other grand scale exhibitions and our touch screen technology, Inteli-Touch enabled them to do just that. The interactive technology enabled visitors to filter floor plans based on their needs, for example stand size and view the available positions in detail. They could then either send an enquiry, or book directly from the ETF exhibition stand. Rodney Cox, Event Director at ETF, says, "[Inteli-Touch] was really beneficial to be able to show prospective exhibitors of the next LNG exhibition including the available stand positions in real time. The technology also enabled exhibitors to secure a booking immediately, right from the stand. We loved the interactivity of the Inteli-Touch system. Exhibitors were clearly impressed by the state of the art touch screen. So I’m sure it positioned us at the forefront of technology.” Delivering LNG18 from Staging Connections on Vimeo. Partner with Staging Connections for your next conference Staging Connections has been the name behind some of the biggest national and international conferences for over 30 years. We're the preferred event services provider for corporate events due to our proven-track record for first-class events as well as our unrivaled breadth of event services and in-house venue partnerships. Speak to a Staging Connections representative today to start planning your next corporate event by calling 1800 209 099 or sending an enquiry. ... Read More

How to capture the spirit of Australia with table styling

It's all hands on deck when you're delivering one of the biggest events in the Australian corporate events calendar. On Sunday 27 March, the Staging Connections NSW team delighted 1,150 Amway Taiwan VIPs with a breathtaking, Australian-themed gala dinner as the pinnacle event of the 5 day major Asian incentive. The incentive gave Staging Connections the opportunity to showcase our ability to deliver technically demanding live events encompassing the breadth of our event services. With so many seats at the table, it was crucial the table styling also left a lasting impression and did justice to our beautiful country. Creating Australiana-themed centrepieces and table styling for 1, 150 guests The brief was big, an Australiana-themed spectacular for the people of Amway Taiwan. Staging Connections accepted the challenge to create an incentive event to outshine and out-sparkle any other we’d ever seen. Naturally, how everything looked was going to be an essential part of it. Therefore our talented Event Stylist, Felicity Webb, had a big role to play in getting it right. “I was responsible for finding the perfect look for centrepieces, table décor and linen,” Felicity says. “It was about conceptualising and realising the client’s specific brief, and finding the right solution that would result in an appropriate and beautiful execution.” Aside from all the incredible acts and dazzling performances – the gala dinner was a crucial element of the whole event. It was more important than ever that the styling was carried out across every element of the evening, so the Amway guests continued to be immersed in the spirit of the theme at every opportunity. That’s exactly why the event styling and centrepieces had to integrate perfectly with the Australiana-theme as well as be a feature, all on their own. “Each table had unique Australian-themed centrepieces with textural native flowers. The miniature bud lights in the flower displays twinkled and there was an LED light in the center of the arrangement, which also made the flowers glow. We even had a nod to Easter, with a few little eggs and bunnies making an appearance too.” Not only was the theme reflected throughout the event styling, but as with any corporate event, the Amway brand had to feature strongly too. The styling team designed custom-embroidered napkins with Amway branding as well as engraved napkin rings, some of which were produced overseas, requiring even more attention to timing. Another element of the event styling brief was to create a special section for Amway's VIP guests. Positioned directly at the foot of the stage and over the red carpet, the VIPs were treated to an oppulent table setting. "The brief was to create a luxurious table that made the VIP section stand-out from the rest. We draped the tables in gold sequin cloth and covered the chairs in pleated gold satin. In keeping in theme, we used the same wreath base for the main guest centerpieces but added more styling elements such as clusters of pillar candles which created a stunning warm glow reflecting off the sequins. Each VIP guest also received their own individual chocolate gifts, comprising a gold Lindt bunny and basket of Easter eggs," says Felicity. Felicity's tips for creating a winning table style and centrepiece design Every event planner knows in order to run a successful event preparation is key. For stylists, with so many objects and materials to coordinate, preparation is paramount. It's about ensuring you have everything you need, looking the way you intend so every guest has the same experience right down to the finest detail. Those small details, whether they’re LED lights or the right shade or texture on the tablecloths, are what our style teams thrive on. Order more than you need. If you have wriggle room in your budget it's always best practice to over order so you have plenty of back-ups just in case. This applies to table runners, chair covers, napkins, centrepiece elements and more. For large events, repetition in styling is what creates a beautiful event landscape so you'll want to avoid having anything missing or looking out of place. Treat all of your elements separately. Calculate the time and people needed to create all of the individual pieces. Give vendors notice and be sure to over-estimate time to give yourself as much leeway as possible. Know who your styling for. Consider styling implications for working with different cultures as the aesthetics and customs are likely to be different than that of your own. The reward of delivering an event of this scale An event like this certainly takes hard work – and when the centrepieces and table décor takes 32 staff (and counting) to create, it’s clear Event Stylist like Felicity had her work cut out for her. But as anyone in events will tell you, there’s nothing quite like seeing it all come together on the night – and that’s exactly what happened for Amway. “It was so satisfying seeing everything come to life on the night knowing we’d really pleased the client." says Felicity. Tony Chamberlain, Managing Director, Staging Connections commented on the impact that this type of major incentive has on Australia’s reputation for hosting spectacular business events. “Asian incentives look to Australia to offer their guests experiences that they cannot have anywhere else in the world and this market is experiencing major growth, contributing massive economic benefit to our country, based on our international reputation for excellence. “We have delivered a range of international events, from the G20 in Brisbane, to the Rotary International Convention, Joymain Incentive and the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, and now the Amway Taiwan Leadership Seminar. Our teams have excelled in delivering superior results for these clients, putting their events in the spotlight on the global stage and delivering lasting memories for attendees, which have all contributed to Australia’s strong reputation for delivering world class events,” said Mr Chamberlain. Partner with Staging Connections for your next incentive Staging Connections has been the name behind some of the biggest international incentives for over 30 years. We're the preferred event services provider for corporate events due to our proven-track record for first-class events as well as our unrivaled breadth of event services and in-house venue partnerships. Speak to a Staging Connections representative today to start planning your next corporate event by calling 1800 209 099 or sending an enquiry. ... Read More

New event solutions unveiled at Event Masterclass - watch video

Staging Connections unveiled their newest product offerings at an exclusive function for 100 top event professionals and major clients, at the Hilton Sydney. The inaugural Event Masterclass – an evolution of Staging Connections’ popular Backstage events – provided an in-depth demonstration of the latest products, services and event trends. Unveiled for the first time was the newest addition to the Staging Connections digital portfolio – an interactive touch-screen presentation platform due to go to market in 2016. Lucy Kratz, Sales Manager for NSW and ACT said it was exciting to show clients new technologies that will propel their events to the next level. “Whilst Inteli-Touch is yet to officially be released to market, it was exciting to see where event technology is heading and show our clients some of what they can expect to see from Staging Connections in 2016 and beyond. “Our team scour the globe for the most impressive, boundary-pushing technologies, and touch screen displays are just one of the many new solutions we will be adding to our product suite this year,” said Ms Kratz. Set within the Hilton Sydney Ballroom the team showcased the latest screen products available in Australia including a gigantic 27m x 5m curved screen, six modular digital banners (pictured below), and a suspended Event Backdrop. Paul Hutton, Vice President Operations, Hilton Worldwide was impressed with the technologies on display. “From the moment we entered the ballroom the effect of the curved screen was overwhelming, it provided the perfect backdrop for the Event Masterclass, and combined with all screens in the room really brought our event to life,” said Mr Hutton. The Event Masterclass demonstrated the latest capabilities of Staging Connections popular event technology, Event Poll and Event Feed, and the latest in webcasting, 3D projection mapping, multimedia and motion graphics, digital screens and projection. The team’s latest work was presented including examples of stage design using state-of-the-art projection mapping for wide and curved screens as well as 3D objects. One of the most talked about products of the evening was the Event Backdrop which featured two custom printed canvases, one suspended above the other, to create a 3D entrance to a wine cellar (pictured below). The Event Masterclass coincided with the Hilton Food and Beverage Masterclass – an internal competition for Hilton worldwide to showcase and reward their talent. It gave Staging Connections an opportunity to use their latest products in a real, world-class event environment. Staging Connections Sydney Events Team Our Sydney team is proudly led by Nicole Russell and comprises some of the most talented design and styling professionals in the industry, offering event excellence across 18 key venues. If you're looking to host your next corporate event in Sydney, than we're the experienced events team you can rely on. We proudly offer Australia's largest range of event services across audio, lighting, staging, vision and extending to styling, multimedia and digital event solutions like webcasting, live polling and event social media. Get in touch with us today or call 1800 209 099 to speak with one of our event experts. ... Read More