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The Event Industry News podcast, the leading portal for event organisers

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In this episode of Talking Events we welcomed backed Co-founder & CEO of Grip, Tim Groot to discuss the subject of beacons and whether it could be a short-lived technology. 

Beacons have received an increasing level of hype and coverage in the last couple of years for the way in which they can help to push information to users, with the added ability to create indoor navigation by using multiple beacons within a given area. 

However, podcast host James Dickson asked Tim whether beacon technology could face a similar fate to the MiniDisc format, that was superseded relatively quickly by the rise of digital audio files and digital audio players like the iPod. 

Giving a unique and insightful opinion on how he sees things progressing, Tim explains his concerns about their longevity.

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The latest episode of the Talking Events podcast welcomed co-founder and CEO of Grip, Tim Groot.  

The company launched in April 2015 and built the first artificial intelligence (AI) powered event matchmaking system, and has subsequently worked with some of the world’s leading meeting, exhibition, and conference organisers to help connect their attendees in a more effective way. 

The Grip service is available via dedicated apps, but Tim explained to the podcast that the provider has recently introduced its own API, giving third-party events apps the ability to integrate Grip’s engine and deliver smart, intelligent matchmaking to their audience. 

During an in-depth quizzing about how AI can be deployed within events, Tim firstly explained the basic principles of the Grip system.

“Artificial intelligence is about the component of reasoning. It takes data as an input and is able to reason and form actions based on that reasoning. In our case, we take people’s networking behaviour within the app and their social profile and based on that, our system then reasons what it thinks is going to be the users networking intent and what it wants to achieve at an event […] That’s what we use to recommend the right people.”

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The Talking Events podcast was recently given the unique opportunity to set up its studio in the President’s Suite at the Victory Services Club in London. This tri-service all-ranks members club is a hidden gem in the heart of London’s bustling West End, with several unique event spaces available to organisers. 

Operations Director Mark Field joined the podcast to discuss member organisations and their place with the meetings and event sector.  

Joining Mark was Deputy Director for Meetings and Events at the Royal College of Physicians David Parker, another member organisation that features high-quality event space in the heart of London. 

The two guests talked about the importance of attracting events to their premises to help sustain the primary focus of serving their members.  

“Many people now want a bespoke experience”, said Mark. “The nature of our club, combined with the spaces we’ve got, means that we’ve got to be open minded. Sometimes the requests come from left-field, so you’ve got to both accommodate but also manage expectations and find something that works for them.”

During the episode, David Parker also spoke about continuing A/V investment at the Royal College of Physicians. 

“Because of the nature of what we do and the fact we’re operating for 300 days a year, pretty much all of our A/V is in house. We’ve got a rolling investment of between £250,000 - £300,000 per year on audiovisual equipment to keep that equipment at the best level.”

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A new book designed to offer insight and expertise from a range of different event professionals has been launched.  

The Event Professional's Handbook is available as a free downloadable e-book from the major digital outlets and has been created to give readers a chance to quickly absorb and digest bite-sized pieces of information relevant to their jobs. 

The book was discussed in detail during the latest episode of the Talking Events podcast. The creator of the book Simon Burton was joined by fellow contributors Kevin Jackson and Jason Allan-Scott to discuss the content chapters, why they decided to source different contributors for each chapter, and what they hope readers will learn from their own unique experiences within the events industry.  

“Sometimes the event industry can be the same people saying the same things”, said Simon. “Kevin and I were determined that the book’s aspirations and its audience were wider, which is very much why we sought to get content from lots of different contributors.”   

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The Event Supplier and Services Association will open the doors to its 2016 conference this week as it welcomes members and delegates back to the Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. ESSA Director Andrew Harrison spoke to the Talking Events podcast about The Conference of Things and what is in store this year.

“Sometimes conferences can be quite restrictive if they are billed as a ‘sales’ conference or a ‘marketing’ conference”, said Andrew. “Our membership and our industry is a very broad church, so in many ways, we wanted to create a conference that would attract all people from all levels within the supplier community, and also the venue and organiser community.”

With such a clear drive to attract people from the full extent of the events industry, Andrew also explained what has to be considered when taking that approach.

“Our biggest worry was that we would not dilute the content in order to make it applicable to the broad audience that is due to attend. Historically at conferences, there’s a lot of peaks and troughs when it comes to the quality of the sessions. For us, we’ve sourced the very best from beginning to end. When it comes to the technical delivery, we’re also planning to do some special things with the lighting and the creative elements as it plays a really big part in how people engage with the content.”

Registration for the conference is still available via the ESSA website. The full interview with Andrew Harrison can be listened to in the latest episode of the Talking Events podcast.

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In part three of a special series looking at rigging and lifting, the Talking Events podcast returns to the home of Blackout to discuss a newly launched apprenticeship scheme specifically for riggers.

The development of the Trailblazer apprenticeship in Live Events Rigging has been facilitated by the National Rigging Advisory Group and some of the leading rigging companies within the industry. The apprenticeship will provide the best information, experience, advice and guidance, allowing candidates to first gain and then demonstrate their competence. 

Joining the podcast to discuss the topic were Plasa’s NRC Manager Paul Riddiford, Technical Director of Unusual Rigging Robin Elias, and Blackout’s Human Resources Manager Adelaide Johannsen.

This episode follows on from ‘Up in the air parts 1 & 2’, which have discussed the National Rigging Certificate, the new National Event Lifting Certificate, and also the National Rigging Conference.

 

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Augmented reality and virtual reality platforms are moving on at a rapid pace. More and more mobile devices are being launched as ‘VR ready’, and as the technology becomes more accessible it is inevitable that consumers become more accustomed to using it.

For our industry, the obvious effect of consumers becoming more accustomed to using it is that organisers will also become more aware of how to incorporate it into their events. Discussing the subject of virtual reality on the latest Talking Events podcast was CEO and Co-Founder of MetaVRse Alan Smithson.

Alan joined the podcast on the line from his headquarters in Boston, USA. During the episode, he highlighted the significant advancements in hardware that he thinks will open up the marketplace and make virtual reality more accessible at all levels. 

“Wind back just a couple of years and the cost of producing VR content was quite prohibitive. Despite having the mobile phones and related headsets to access it, the content itself couldn’t be produced fast enough to satisfy demand. Fast forward to now, and you’ve got off the shelf cameras like the Samsung Gear 360 and Nikon Key Mission 360 that are VR ready. You literally film it, stitch the footage together on your computer using software that comes with the cameras – or even on your phone – and post it directly to Facebook. We’ve come a long, long way in just a few years and the tools are now trickling down to the prosumer and consumer level.”

 

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Alex Patriquin, founder of Event Geek, joined the Talking Events podcast from his base in Boston, USA to discuss the company’s unique project management software and the inspiration behind its creation. 

Having worked for several startup companies in a digital marketing capacity, Alex’s role quickly evolved to include the planning and running of events. It was this experience that prompted him to think that a new solution for project managing events was perhaps needed within the sector.

“Event Geek is project management software for events. As someone who was responsible for running over 50 events a year with a $1 million budget, I struggled to find a project management tool that was completely designed for my needs as an organiser. Before we even wrote a single line of code we spoke to over 150 event planners and marketers in order to find out what tools they are using and what their frustrations are. This allowed us to create something that we knew would have synergy with potential customers when it was eventually released.”

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In the second episode of a three-part special, the Talking Events podcast looks at the subject of rigging and working at height.

Recorded at the offices of Blackout in south-west London, part two looks at the newly created National Event Lifting Certificate (NELC). The qualification was created to serve the training needs of event professionals that may need to raise equipment off the ground, but who themselves don’t actually work at height.

Joining the podcast to discuss the topic were Plasa’s NRC Manager Paul Riddiford, Technical Director of Unusual Rigging Robin Elias, and Blackout’s Human Resources Manager Adelaide Johannsen.

The NELC has close ties to the National Rigging Certificate, which was discussed in part one of the series. The qualification was also set to form an integral part of the Rigging Conference, which took place during the 2016 PLASA show at London’s Olympia.

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In a special series recorded at the London HQ of Blackout, the Talking Events podcast welcomed experts from the world of rigging to discuss several of the key topics set to affect the industry. 

Plasa’s NRC Manager Paul Riddiford, Technical Director of Unusual Rigging Robin Elias, and veteran rigger & rigging trainer Eric Porter all joined host James Dickson to discuss the National Rigging Certificate and the forthcoming Rigging Conference.

The 2016 edition will be the 7th time the conference has formed part of the PLASA show, which this year will be held at London’s Olympia. During the podcast, the guests discussed the merits of the National Rigging Certificate (NRC) and what it has brought to the profession since its introduction. They also discussed why it was brought in and the assessment process that riggers go through in order to gain the certificate. 

The episode is the first of a three-part series that will look further into the world of rigging, including the new National Event Lifting Certificate (NELC) and the launch of a brand new national apprentice scheme for trainee riggers.

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