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Technology and Transformation:
Keeping pace with the ever-changing way we collaborate

The other day I saw a graphic of a coffee mug online that read, 'I'm older than the Internet'. It made me laugh because I could relate! One of my last university essays was done on a Commodore 64, the earliest version of a personal computer. The internet was in its infancy in 1989. It fascinates me to think back to when it all first began and how, we started to learn about the power of this new world wide web together.

And we have certainly come a long way! During the last couple of decades, web technology has become integrated into our lives so deeply that it is hard to imagine not being constantly 'connected'. Our 'next gen' young people don’t know anything different. They have always had, at their immediate disposal, the world’s entire accumulated knowledge just a click away.

In 1985 BI (Before Internet), our main source of knowledge was some version of the Encyclopedia Britannica and a traditional library. We worked solo to find the information we needed. The introduction of the internet brought along with it a new sense of collaboration. We also began to change our mindset around the ownership of information. 24/7 availability of information for all has balanced the power of knowledge. In the past, only a select few had the privilege of knowing more. Now that we have all been provided with the power and the means to contribute to an ever-changing world, this shift has increased accountability on the historical power base and challenged the status quo. It has empowered the individual.

If I had to reduce THG’s social platforms to one channel only, it would be Twitter. I prefer Twitter’s application of the global perspective of ‘the many’ in real time. When I followed the Boston marathon tweets and actually learned where the villains were hiding before CNN did, I realized at that moment that something had changed. We were all in it together.

Collaboration is at the heart of conference and meeting planning. A successful event relies on the expertise of many who have a common goal for excellence. Reliability and trust are imperative, as well as sharing and being open to another’s ideas. There is more than one way to produce a successful event.

In the spirit of working together, The Howes Group is excited to announce that we will be working with Freeman Audio Visual during the coming months to share technology insights with our community. Freeman works with groups of all sizes and budgets. During the hotel contract review process, we often include AV requirements and have become familiar with the spectrum of details and issues involved. We compiled a list of FAQs and the folks at Freeman were kind enough to respond and share their valuable insights.

In this issue of the newsletter we are providing Part 1 of 5 of a new column entitled Techno Chat #eventtech for #eventprofs. Join us in the coming months and send us your questions. We have the technology (and amazing collaborators) to answer them!

Timely yours, Brenda

Viva Las Vegas! Extra! Extra! The Howes Group is thrilled to be announced as a finalist for the Cvent Plannie Awards (Savvy Sourcing Category).  We are heading to Las Vegas on June 15-18 for the Cvent CONNECT conference. Click here to check out the keynote speakers!  Wish us luck on Wednesday, June 17. #alreadywinners 

Teamwork and collaboration are absolute necessities for a successful conference. One of the key players on your team is the AV provider. In the spirit of collaboration and, given the many recent exciting advances in the AV world, Freeman Audio Visual has graciously shared information that can help you as a meeting planner navigate the myriad of event AV details.

A special 'shout out' to Brent Beatty, Ottawa Director of Sales for putting us in contact with Heidi Welker, VP of Marketing, Paolo DeBerardinis, Facilities Network Project Manager and Trish Richards, Communications Specialist at Freeman Audio Visual. Thank you all for your time and much-needed expertise!

Determining Bandwidth Requirements
Q: How much bandwidth do I need? What is a typical bandwidth usage for a conference?
A: Internet usage for each event is event-specific. There are no industry averages. A meeting planner will first need to determine density. Do you know your usage patterns?

During the initial conversation with a meeting planner, Freeman will develop a usage profile to help determine bandwidth needs for the event. This process allows them to customize a package that will fit usage and avoid annoying interruptions in online communication.

Here is a guide that will help you determine your profile:
Light - Email; general browsing; social posting (Twitter / Facebook).
Standard - Faster speed; stream down to Standard Definition video.
Premium - Further enhances Standard Package; able to download High Definition video; upload Standard Definition video.
Ultra - Ability to download and upload HD video both ways.

Just like knowing your history for contracting a room block, it is highly recommended that you track your data usage from meeting to meeting. Freeman has developed a comprehensive post report which clearly details usage, right down to the individual device and where it surfed.  Did participants post to social media? How many devices? Which sites? Did they use the event app? Facebook? Twitter? This is valuable information because it will also help you begin planning your next event and determine where to place your technical investments.

1. Track your data usage for each event.
2. Determine your density. How many devices do your delegates use?
3. Customize your requirements around your personal usage patterns.

Next Techno Chat (August 2015)
Freeman Audio Visual: Why FREE Wi-Fi is not FREE!

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