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September 7, 2008

MeetingPod could make events greener

With growing pressure being placed on venues to reduce their carbon footprints by organisers keen to increase the sustainability of their events, a new piece of technology could prove popular by helping reduce the amount of paper consumed.

Makers of the MeetingPod from Synanto claim their product not only offers a paperless meeting solution, but also a more efficient way to manage meetings in general.

“As everyone who has been to a meeting knows, they are very paper-intensive events,” said Dave Wickett, Synanto’s sales director. “Each piece of paper used in a meeting has the equivalent carbon emissions of burning a 60W light bulb for 1 hour. As such, a meeting of 10 people will typically have emissions of around 1.6kg of carbon dioxide – equivalent to driving a typical 4x4 vehicle for six miles.”

Figures from Syanto suggest the same meeting using MeetingPod would have a carbon footprint of only 0.2kg of carbondioxide. So what is a MeetingPod and how does it work?

Described by Wicket as a “paperless, electronic meeting system”, it is much more energy efficient than using paper, and uses a fraction of the energy used by laptops.

Paperless meetings: The MeetingPod in action

“It holds all necessary meeting information, which each attendee can view on their own MeetingPod,” Wicket continued. “This means that they do not have to print agendas, minutes from the last meeting, or any other information relevant to that meeting. Even separate presentations can be viewed on the built-in screen making meeting room tables more efficient and easier to layout and use.”

The MeetingPod also benefits from solving a huge range of common communication problems often encountered in meetings, such as making available an agreed set of minutes before everyone leaves the room. It even emails a full record of the event to every attendee at the end of the meeting, along with contact details for further follow up.

“Venues are starting to look at their Corporate Social Responsibility policies very closely,” said Wickett. “By not having a strategy to reduce their carbon footprint, many meeting and conference venues are telling us that they are starting to lose business.”

The MeetingPod also gives venues the ability to communicate directly with individual delegates with whom they usually have little contact, creating key marketing opportunities. Using MeetingPod, attendees can receive relevant information about the venue, which can be tailored to each meeting with the potential to be a powerful new marketing channel for the venue.

The technology is currently being trialled at a number of venues across the UK, while MeetingPod has received support by the Meeting Industry Association, which plans to showcase it at its upcoming Networking Session on 29 September between 12-2pm at the Bonnington Rooms in London.

UK venues trialling the technology include Wyboston Lakes, Park Plaza Hotels, Marriott Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels and the Ricoh Stadium, home of Coventry City Football club.

Watch out for a report on the outcome of the trials on EVENTS:review shortly.

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