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April 6, 2008

Technology: Are you heading for a hi-tech disaster?

As technology starts to play an increasingly important role in events, so the implications of a technology “drop out” become all the more dire. Having someone to set up and manage the technology you are using and ensure that everything runs smoothly is of paramount importance.

Although little is spoken of successful technology implementations, rest assured that a technology failure at an event will make visitors think twice about returning the following year.

Technology for conferences was one of the hot topics of discussion this year at a new conference for events organisers and suppliers to the oil and gas industry, held at Monaco’s leading conference centre, the Grimaldi Forum. The Global Forum for Oil & Gas Events saw a gathering of representatives from 27 countries to discuss and formulate best practices in the industry.

Large oil and gas conferences rely heavily on technology, so the correct set-up and management of the numerous hi-tech elements is critical for a successful conference.

In his keynote speech, Evan Berger, chief executive of Traversio Technology Group, spoke about the process and how strategic planning for large conferences can significantly reduce not only direct technology costs, but also the risk of equipment failure.

Commenting on the rising trend to outsource the management of technology for large events, Berger said: “Events have become completely dependent on technology, and delegates are expecting more sophisticated technology each year. AV equipment, secure networks, live internet broadcasting, high-speed internet access, translation and multi-language facilities, voting systems, barcoding and even fingerprint technology can all be found at large conferences.

“There is a tremendous amount of equipment and software to set up in a very short time, with no room for mistakes. Dozens of technology suppliers have to be co-ordinated. To manage this process requires an in-depth understanding of technology, project management and event organising. Proper planning and project documentation is vital.

“This is why we recommend using a multi-skilled project manager or an events technology specialist with experience in large conferences. There is too much at stake to risk your technology not being ready in time or failing during the event.”

Malcolm Berger, managing director, Traversio Technology Group

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