Posts Tagged ‘Technological Advances’

Conferencing made easy

Posted on: October 16th, 2014 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author: Maaike Ammerlaan, Conference Sales and Services Manager – University of British Columbia Okanagan

I just came back from our CUCCOA National Conference held this year in Halifax, NS and I have picked up some great ideas again from my colleagues at universities & colleges all over the country and from the very inspiring speakers we were able to listen to.

What always spikes my interest are new electronic gadgets that help make my life as a conference planner a lot easier. At the conference I learned about ‘mobile check-in’, where guests check- in online (like on a flight) and just have to pick up their keys when they arrive at your campus. Off they go to their room with no time to waste at the front desk filling out forms or handing over credit cards. How easy and quick is that?

Or how about at your next big dinner event, you have a large touch screen in the room showing the lay-out of the tables and chairs, and the guests can select their seating by touching the screen and adding their name based on the other people they would like to connect with socially. Social tables it is called. Throws the painstaking time of putting a seating plan together out of the window!

And what if you can see on one map where the hot spots of your conference are by showing the ratings of each event as a colored dot: blue= not much interest, yellow= medium interest, red= lot of interest. By having your participants rate each activity, it instantly shows what is hot and what not at your conference. Cool!

Also getting more popular is the conference app where all the information about your conference can be found on the app. At our National CUCCOA Conference we tried out a conference app called Guidebook. They set-up a simple (free) version where everyone who would download the guide to their smart phone, ipad/tablet or laptop could see the program, speaker information, who was attending, sponsor information and maps of the conference facility and the local and regional area. You could also fill out a to-do list, set-up your own schedule, connect with other attendees by sending your electronic business card through the app and (very popular) upload pictures taken during the conference (of social events mostly!).
Instead of having to find your paper schedule to see what’s on at what time, you just open your app. The upgraded version of the app also gives you the opportunity to download presentations and have interactive maps. That definitely helps you make your conference become a lot greener!

Because attendees can rate each session instantly, as an organizer you do not have to send surveys to participants after the conference, who then have to think back about all the speakers they have listened to (and not mix them up). You can see your stats right away per event and know they are pretty accurate.

All these new technologies not only make going to a conference more fun, as a conference organizer, it makes putting on a conference a lot easier.

Maaike Ammerlaan, Conference Sales and Services Manager, University of British Columbia

Great Technological Advances

Posted on: May 21st, 2013 by Michael Lepage No Comments

Author:  Meghan Burke, Conference Operations Manager, Dalhousie University

We all live in the era of technology – and I’m not talking about your Dad’s first black and white television set kind of technology. I’m talking about hard-core, sometimes confusing, modern-day technology. It’s something that’s unavoidable, especially on a university campus – it’s everywhere. Every department and office uses different software and hardware, all in an effort to maximize their productivity and, in the case of Conference Services, customer satisfaction. The software that you use, especially as a business, can make or break you.

For years, the saying in our office has been “blame it on the system” when something like a reservation disappearing occurred. We seemed to be followed around by this software that was suffering from (what can only be described as) an electronic version of the Black Death.

Fast forward to the spring of 2013 and after months of logistical planning, our office was finally graced with the presence of a brand new, shiny, piece of technology called Kinetics Software (Kx, for short). What we were trying to accomplish in the span of less than three months (the actual configuration of the new conferencing program) was recommended to be done over the span of a year. Did the team at Kx think we were ambitious? Probably. Did they think that we were crazy? Most definitely – in fact, we thought we were crazy. We knew that it was going to be a lot of work in a short amount of time, but we were very eager to roll-out our newly beloved software to all Conference Services offices and residence front desks.

Going from our previous software to Kx was like going from zero to sixty in 3.5. It was especially like that analogy, because we, logistically, did not have a lot of time to ensure that the system would be prepped and ready for our soft opening date of May 3. There were long days, endless amounts of conference calls, training, and perhaps even some tears – but somehow we did it. Before we knew it, we were training our summer student staff on the ins and outs of Kx when we weren’t even experts ourselves.

Every day since then is a learning experience. Every day it seems as though we get a little deeper into our newfound software and learn to love it a little more. Thanks to Kx, we’re able to streamline many processes that we once left up to Microsoft Office and human error. We’re now able to function as a better microcosm of Dalhousie University and by doing so, we’re able to offer our clients and guests a better overall experience when they decide to make us of the facilities at Dalhousie University Conference Services & Summer Accommodations.

Meghan Burke, Conference Operations Manager
Dalhousie University
Email: Meghan.Burke@DAL.CA
Telephone: 1.902.494.3401

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