Conference wizardry

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Conferences can be dull, but with the right technical kit, you can make theright impression. Scott Beagrie looks at the latest…Repeat this mantra after me: It is worthwhile going to conferences. No –really it is. And with the right tools, you too can become a self-styledconference guru and maximise your experience. All you have to do is streamline your operation. Dispense with your heavyshoulder bag, and forget heading off to pick up your voicemail and e-mailsthree times a day. You need to get totally wired instead. That way, you can capture key data, multi-task during the less relevantmoments of a presentation, respond to e-mails or edit documents, and free upyour coffee and lunch breaks for networking. So here’s a guide to some of theleading technologies and gadgets that will help you achieve this goal. Spotme Conference Navigator What is it? An ingenious, pocket-sized wireless device which not onlypinpoints where you are, but locates and tells you where other people are inrelation to you. Its infrared technology facilitates point-and-shoot actions,such as business card exchanges, and it can also beam news announcements,update conference agendas and deliver messages directly to delegates inreal-time, via point-to-point links. Spotme, developed by Swiss company Shockfish, is a service provided by eventorganisers. A digital image of the delegate is captured during theirregistration by the Spotme photo-station, and fed into the database. Spotme’sbase station broadcasts all database updates. Conference application You know all those times when you’ve attendedevents intending to meet up with someone and you either just miss them, can’ttrack them down or simply forget their name? Spotme ensures this won’t happenby alerting you when they are near. It can be set to vibrate, and a pop-updescription photo appears so that the user can decide whether, as the manufacturerstates: “to take the plunge and make that crucial handshake”. A swiftelectronic exchange of business cards can ensue, courtesy of the device. Spotme’s radar function discreetly lets you know who is within 10 to 30 feetof you. The messaging facility allows you to contact any other delegate to setup a meeting. Plus, when you highlight a person’s name, it will show thatperson’s photograph and contact details. So during coffee, you can decidewhether you really want to talk to the person next to you. Just remember thatthose you may wish to avoid can use it to track you down too, so when you feelthat hand on your shoulderÉ Back in the office The event organiser will e-mail your personalisedcontact log with all collected cards and photos, and can be copied directlyinto your personal information management system. Signed up for it? The European Private Equity and Venture CapitalAssociation used it at its annual symposium last year, and the London BusinessForum will be the first to deploy it in the UK at its annual event in March. Cost As Spotme is a service provided by the event organiser, youshouldn’t have to buy one. More info www.spotme.infowww.shockfish.comOlympus W-10 What is it? A high-quality digital voice recorder with built-in lowresolution camera. It can simultaneously record sound and take photographs,allowing you to create multimedia slide shows. With 16Mb of memory, it canstore an impressive three-hours of dictation, and up to 250 images. The imagequality won’t impress the David Baileys of this world, but it is functional. Conference application This is one of those devices that makes youwonder why nobody thought of it sooner, as it’s useful on several fronts. Ifyou want to record that keynote seminar speech at Harrogate and theaccompanying PowerPoint presentation or slides, this will do it. The imaginghas been described as being of ‘sketch’ quality, but should be good enough tocapture readable information. While recording audio, the point at which theuser presses the shutter is given an index mark by the recorder’s in-builtsoftware, so during playback the photos appear on cue. When networking, you canuse it to record business card details and match them with photos of theindividuals to help identify key contacts. You could also use it to takepictures of prototype products that have not yet made their way into thecorporate brochure. Back in the office Both audio and J-PEG files can be transferredinstantly to a PC via a high-speed USB interface. During playback, thephotographs provide visual indexes to specific points in the voice recording.So if you were the only one in your department fortunate enough to attend theMichael Porter lecture on productivity, for instance, you could download theentire presentation and e-mail it to your team. Signed up for it? The W-10 is so handy, expect Personnel Todayreporters to be using it for their Vox Pop interviews at this year’s HRD andHarrogate events. Cost £150 More info Ultra Professional Optical Mouse What is it? A breed of super mouse that knows no bounds. The bullet-shapeddevice works in mid-air and is both PC and Mac compatible. It doesn’t need lineof sight to work and can operate at a range of 100 feet, thanks to thegyrosensor technology behind it – the MicroGyro 100 that senses the motion ofthe hand and body. It has a built in rechargeable battery and there are nomoving parts to go wrong. Conference application This one is more for when you’re presentingyour masterclass, rather listening to one. As the mouse works in mid-air and upto 100 feet away from a laptop or projector, the presenter can roam around theroom, interacting with the audience. It is the ultimate in freedom of movementand expression for a presenter and features 80 special effects, including theability to highlight objects or text, underline particular words, zoom in andout, or launch video clips or soundtracks. Favourite control tools can beassigned to button and scroll clicks, as well as hand gestures. Back in the office It performs well on the desktop – the makers claimit can transmit data up to 160 per cent faster that other cordless mice. Signed up for it? It’s what trainers and conference speakerseverywhere have been waiting for. Cost: £160 More info www.gyration.comToshiba Portege 3500 Tablet PC What is it? One of the most powerful Tablet PCs on the market. Incase you missed the hype (and not wishing to state the obvious), they are atablet-shaped device on which you can write with a digital pen or stylus.Tablet PCs generically run Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, but areexternally designed by a number of Microsoft’s hardware supporters such asAcer, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard. Toshiba’s thin, highly-specified offering has a more than respectable 1.33GHz PIII-M processor and 12-inch screen. It also comes with integrated Wi-Fi(wireless networking technology), Bluetooth, 56kps modem and ethernet port. Conference application Tablet PCs may take a while to convince someof their worth – especially those who are perfectly happy with their laptops.But the ability to jot things down will be appreciated by conference goers whowant a more informal method of taking notes, rather than keying them in.Although PDAs can be fine for this kind of thing too, their limited screen sizehardly compares to the Portege’s. The stylus can also be used to create drawings or annotate documents whichcan be saved in Digital Ink form, or converted to text. The Wi-Fi connection, tipped to be the fastest growing mobile technologythis year, means that e-mails can be sent without having to plug in a singlecable. To transform it from a notebook, the Portege’s screen swivels and locksdown, turning it into a writing tablet. Back in the office Are you kidding? This is a tool for the seriousroad-warrior who wouldn’t be seen dead in an office. Cost £2,100 More info technology breakoutsTubula RasaA variation on the conference navigator theme, it involves namebadges embedded with tiny chips. Sensor units with a range of 5 feet whichdetect the unique ID for each name badge, can be placed at strategic points,such as seminar room entrances. Organisers are then able to non-invasivelytrack who is in attendance. This may signal the end of stewards having to scanthe barcode on your name badge.www.t-rasa.comThroughlinesThink you know where the training video is headed? Things don’thave to be so predictable with this interactive video platform technology.Throughlines is developed by New York company Static & Motion, and is aimedat trade shows, corporate meetings and training usage. It allows delegates todecide the outcome of various hypothetical situations. Audiences of between 20and 2,000 people can use individual keypads to vote what happens next atcertain points in the video presentation. The audience response isautomatically calculated, and the video continues with the scenario thatreceived the majority vote.www.static-motion.comwww.throughlines.comOptionPowerDebuting this month at the Training 2003 conference in Atlanta,this software application turns a PowerPoint presentation into an interactiveexperience. Presenters can receive immediate feedback from the audience throughwireless hand-held keypads. Using drop- down menus and tools, the presenter canuse this information to make new slides in Comments are closed. Conference wizardryOn 25 Feb 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more