Over 70 percent of meeting and event organizers believe networking and engagement will be the future of events. The challenge is how to do that. LED walls are one of the most flexible technology solutions you can use to breathe new life into your programming. From creating immersive environments to transforming presentations into interactive activities, LED walls can enhance indoor or outdoor meetings and events in myriad ways.
Let’s examine some use cases and applications where LED walls can support event goals to facilitate networking and improve engagement.
How do LED walls create more engaging and immersive environments?
“The No. 1 reason why we attend meetings is to interact with people,” says Encore Product Manager Damein Futch.
“Instead of you telling me the Top 10 things I should remember, I learn because you’re using the billboard principle in the dining room.”
LED walls also allow you to change the environment without changing the space. “There’s an unlimited palette of opportunities,” Futch explains. For example, there might be a beach scene during the morning session, which turns into a sunset over a mountaintop for the general session.
“You can even put a transparent LED over a window in a breakout room.” This makes it possible to transport participants to different places, planets and emotional spaces without moving them from their chairs.
“Any time you want an interactive display behind something you want to sell or promote, you can use an LED wall,” Futch says. “You don’t have to worry about people walking through the cone of projection.” LED panels can be built to look like a product that you can transform into anything you want with striking visuals.
You may have seen LED walls used to show what people are experiencing while wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets or as a background layer for augmented reality (AR) activations. But have you heard about extended reality (XR)?
“Extended reality is a camera working with a media server and LED wall to create realistic background movement to give viewers the sense of being in another location,” Futch explains. It’s a technique used for TV/film productions to create immersive 360-degree sets. But the same technology can be used for events.
Futch says a professional meeting or event organizer’s use of LED walls is only limited only by their creativity, budget and opportunity. “The ROI of LED is exponentially greater than you see with other mediums. It costs more because it accomplishes more, and you can do more with it.“
A technology solution for all meeting types and formats
“Any time you have a screen or a wall, you can use LED,” Futch adds. “LED walls can be used in general sessions, breakout rooms, digital signage, creative elements, scenic and anywhere else, really.”
What does this look like in practice? The resolution and clarity provided by LED walls make them a good fit for medical meetings or any other gatherings where it’s essential to view high-contrast images. In general sessions, they can be used in place of traditional projections as scenic elements, or they may comprise the entire set. “LED walls don’t have to be rectangular or square,” Futch shares. “You can build and stagger them into any configuration you need.”
Another benefit? You’re not restricted to aspect ratios with LED walls the way you are with traditional projectors. You don’t have to worry about blending because you’re using one surface, whether it’s a window, wall, curved screen or even the side of a building. It can be as large or small as you need without compromising the resolution quality.
LED walls can also be used as creative accents. For example, if you wanted to use a projector for a presentation, you could wrap the presentation with LED walls to drive home the message.
No matter how they’re used, people’s eyes and attention naturally drift to LED walls because they’re so vivid and bright, which makes them an incredible tool for engagement. “You could even put one behind a registration desk,” Futch says. “And people will be drawn in.”
The benefits of using LED walls vs projectors
LED walls possess several technological advantages to projection equipment traditionally used, whether you’re creating scenic elements, relaying information or transforming spaces with projection mapping. These advantages enhance the participant experience and elevate the overall event.
Brightness is an additional advantage. “A projection always competes with stage lights or daylight,” Futch says. You never have to draw the curtains in a room with an LED wall. Examples of this can be seen within exhibit halls or outdoor venues.
Projectors are either rear-projecting or front-projecting. In both cases, a considerable amount of space is required to fit the ‘cone of projection.’ This isn’t the case with LED walls.
“You gain back seating and capacity for your attendees,” Futch informs. “You don’t have to worry about projection distance because everything is displayed on a flat surface.”
When light is projected, it bounces off a screen before it enters the participants’ eyes, making it a passive medium. In contrast, LED walls are an active medium. What they display is directly absorbed by the viewer. As Futch adds, “It is like your TV on steroids.”
It also offers increased opportunities for creative expression. “LED walls are visual LEGOs,” Futch explains. “With projectors, light [is] beamed at a source. With LED walls, the possibilities are endless when it comes to resolution and area covered.”
Think about the events you have coming up. How would you like to use LED walls to surprise and delight, educate and engage, or entertain your participants? We’d love to provide a free consultation on how this technology solution can help you achieve your meeting or event goals.
Interested in learning more? Click the button below to explore our experts’ guidance on dazzling audiences with LED technology.
Key findings from the Encore 2022 Winter Planner Pulse
With the world of events ever-changing, staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends is an essential tool for crafting successful experiences. To help ensure your event design, programming and format resonates with today’s audiences, Encore surveys meeting and event professionals quarterly to capture a closer look into today’s event landscape and to maintain a pulse on where meeting event needs are heading.
Read on to learn key insights from our latest survey.
Human connection and engagement are the most impactful values for in-person events
In-person events will continue to increase with each new quarter
Most planners expect their audience numbers to grow this year
This data brings a welcome implication — people are actively interested in physically attending conferences, meetings and other events, making now the perfect time for you to invest more resources into their event design. Get ahead of the curve by ensuring you have the best solutions to deliver successful outcomes.
Six of 10 planners will see budget increases — driven by food and beverage, room rates and transportation costs
DE&I is an important ESG area of focus
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives remain an opportunity in 2023. We asked planners about four major ESG issues to collect feedback on the role they play in event planning. Those issues were: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and local legislation that aligns with organizational values.
Our findings? Approximately half of event professionals (55 percent) view DE&I as the most important ESG area to consider while selecting venues. This research speaks volumes about how event professionals now prioritize DE&I when making critical event planning decisions.
When it comes to selecting a venue, event professionals regard the other ESG attributes in the following order of importance:
- Local legislation that is aligned with organization values (45 percent)
- Environmental sustainability (45 percent)
- Social responsibility (42 percent)
In terms of choosing an AV/event technology partner, event professionals prioritize the following attributes behind DE&I:
- Environmental sustainability (40 percent)
- Local legislation that is aligned with organization values (39 percent)
- Social responsibility (35 percent)
Insights-led meeting planning for more engaging experiences
Interested in personalized solutions that can help optimize your next event? Request a free consultation with our event experts! We’d love to discuss your specific needs and help you develop a transformative experience that achieves your event goals.
Phillips 66 was looking for a partner for their Marketing Conference that could elevate their general session production, expo floor, and gala event. They wanted an event partner that could match their level of progress and innovation. The event needed to educate, celebrate, and engage their customers in a way that felt fully immersive and true to their brand.
Leading with strategy, Encore and Hargrove worked together to create a total end-to-end solution for the Power Ahead conference. The creative, design, production, expo, and gala all tied together to create an innovative, transformative experience with comprehensive Phillips 66 branding.
The expo floor had a modern look with hard wall structures fabricated by Hargrove that were branded for each exhibitor. The floor plan layout was based on the Power Ahead arrow design that allowed for the C-Store of the Future and Power Theater to be central focal points.
The thematic design was inspired by the colors of each of the Phillips 66 brands. A custom-built stage, decorative elements, signage, lighting, and graphics were all used to create a comprehensive look through the entire event space. All elements tied together to create a fully immersive and engaging event experience
The Phillips 66, Encore, and Hargrove teams developed a strong partnership that led to an incredible event for over 1,200 customers. Education and hands-on learning were the focus of the daytime schedule, and the evenings were dedicated to celebrating and honoring their customers’ hard work. Highlights included a engaging learning sessions, inspiring keynotes, and energizing celebrations and entertainment.
Phillips 66 team members and attendees raved about how “this was the most amazing show we’ve ever seen!”
More meeting and event professionals are actively booking or sourcing new events now than any time since 2020. According to the Encore Summer Planner Pulse 2022 report, that number represents 71 percent of 461 survey respondents, who represent a diverse swath of corporate, association, administrative, marketing, third-party, independent and special event producers and organizers.
More than half of the meeting and event professionals surveyed say they are booking new events. And only five percent are currently rescheduling or re-booking events — the lowest number since the pandemic began.
Despite rising costs, in-person events are expected to increase in the second half of 2022.
Key survey findings:
- 80 percent of events will have an in-person audience
- 20 percent of events will be hybrid, with both in-person and remote audiences
The demands of keeping these dual hybrid event audiences engaged and planning two parallel events are a major stressor, the report finds. Perhaps that’s why the participant experience is becoming a greater factor in event design, with professionals layering technology over the in-person experience to create events that feel like they are in-person+ — with or without hybrid participants.
When asked how future in-person events will compare to pre-pandemic in-person events:
- 45 percent of respondents said better attendee engagement
- 38 percent of respondents said more networking
- 37 percent of respondents said more attendee personalization
This trend drove Encore to create a free guide to help meeting and event professionals meet shifting audience expectations: Boundless Possibilities for Engagement. The Encore team also offers free consultations on how to enhance the in-person and remote attendee experience.
Other challenges meeting and event professionals say they face include lead times, specifically for large events. Event professionals report that a third of their events for more than 250 people (34 percent) must be organized within a three-to-six month window. Only half of these sized events are planned more than six months out. Most small meetings with one to 50 participants (43 percent) are being organized within one to two months out. Most mid-sized events with 51 to 250 participants (43 percent) are being organized three to six months out.
Want to read the full report? Download it here.
Learn how to practice
Attendees’ feelings of belonging and inclusion at events are critical for positive recommendations and repeat attendance. When was the last time you evaluated your event ecosystem to recognize and remove barriers to enjoyment? Do your events connect with people in ways they are comfortable being involved in?
This guide will help teach you to be radically inclusive. By mindfully evaluating your event ecosystem you can ensure your attendees feel engaged, wanted and included in your event experience.
Download our free guide, Practicing Radical Inclusion, and learn the strategy and benefits of bringing your attendees together in a positive way.
Download the free guide: Practicing Radical Inclusion
The basic tools, technologies and best practices you need to engage dual remote and in-room audiences.
What are your event essentials?
Basic event technology requirements
Camera and audio: For small, hybrid meetings, most cameras offer integrated audio and speaker solutions. For larger events, you may want an external camera or a broadcast-quality setup. The three main considerations that will help you select the right camera and audio for your event are:
- Connectivity: Will the camera/audio be integrated into a laptop, plugged in via USB, or will it be a broadcast solution connected via SDI or HDMI?
- Field of view (FOV): Do you need a camera that swivels 360 degrees? Or is a static shot with fixed angle of 125 degrees or less sufficient?
Wired internet: Pre-pandemic, wireless internet was the standard, but for broadcast events, you need a wired internet connection.
- Simple wired internet (3 MB) is ideal for 1:1 videoconferencing but not great for webinars.
- Superior wired internet (5 MB) is ideal for webinars, but not great for hybrid conferences.
- Dedicated bandwidth (varies depending on need) is ideal for hybrid conferences and broadcast events but is overkill for 1:1 videoconferences and most webinars.
Additional displays: If your event is a one-way broadcast, then you don’t need to worry about additional in-room displays. But they are phenomenal at increasing engagement between remote and in-room audiences. They help these dual audiences see and talk with each other.
- Traditional tripod screen kits are ideal for educational meetings, standard presentations and large conference rooms. They’re not great for rooms with limited space or interactive sessions.
- Large format monitors are idea for board meetings, rooms with limited space, collaborative sessions and large conference rooms. They are not great for single-focus meetings.
Enterprise videoconferencing tool: When you’re broadcasting content, you need a reliable videoconferencing tool to stream content. Encore offers an enterprise videoconferencing tool through Zoom that guarantees the highest quality stream available. Encore also provides platform solutions and onsite support for technologies such as Chime Go℠, Chime Live℠, Cvent Attendee Hub® and Notified Virtual Event Platform®
Laptop rental: If you want to be able to show up and start your meeting, or if you need to check email and work during breaks, then invest in a rental laptop. For a relatively small investment, it provides huge peace of mind and frees up presenters and planners onsite. Having a dedicated laptop for your event guarantees:
- Properly configured software and broadcast settings
- Full integration with technology services
- Required processing power needed to display rich media content without glitches
Event technology provider: Producing a hybrid event means you’re designing two simultaneous experiences. With one of them being face-to-face and the other existing in digital spaces, this creates additional layers of complexity and potential errors. Partnering with a trusted event technology partner, like Encore, can eliminate human error, turnaround professional-quality events in an abbreviated period, and help you exceed expectations. Contact Encore for a free consultation.
Want to read more about hybrid essential technology? See this content and more in guidebook form by clicking the link below:
It’s exciting to watch in-person meetings and events return. According to Blackstone Securities, group meetings and convention gatherings will return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. However, in this post-lockdown environment, attendee expectations have changed. Event technology has advanced. Your audience will also look very different than it did pre-pandemic. Consider these February 2022 findings from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics:
- 3 percent of people over the age of 55 have left the workforce
- 9 percent of the entire American workforce (47.4 million people) quit their jobs in 2021
The pandemic reshaped how we work in America. Even as offices reopen, roughly 6 in 10 US workers (59%) who say their jobs can be done from home are working from home all or most of the time, up from just 23% who worked remotely before the COVID-19. (Pew Research Center, Feb. 16 2022)
According to the Q1 2022 U.S. Travel Association Business Tracker, business travelers say developing relationships is the most important aspect of their business trips. Education and networking traditionally are the No. 1 and 2 most-important reasons to attend events. But the way education and networking components engage participants needs to change. No one is coming out of this pandemic with the same set of values or expectations they had going in. And that creates significant barriers to enjoyment if you intend to plan your events the same way.
All this means event designers must adapt to meet evolving audience expectations.
As an event designer, you have the opportunity tonew event strategies and help discarding their outdated ones. There’s never been a better opportunity to position yourself as a strategic team leader. The rules have changed. It’s time to step up your game. This guide will help you adapt, transform and outperform expectations. Are you ready to play? Game on!
Consider the following:
- The number of in-person events are increasing as fully-virtual events decrease, yet nearly a quarter of all meetings will remain hybrid through 2022. Source: Encore Planner Pulse Spring 2022 Report
- Association professionals report more than 50 percent of their second and third quarter 2022 events will be hybrid and 35 percent will be digital/online only. Source: PCMA Convene Covid-19 Recovery Survey
This data signals a need for meeting and event professionals to shift their mindsets. If between 25 percent and 50 percent of an organization’s events will be hybrid, it might be useful for organizers to think of hybrid events as being ‘in-person+’ rather than just added work or a passing fad.
What do we mean by in-person+?
We mean that technology developed for virtual event platforms can be adapted to enrich the in-room event experience and allow in-person attendees to switch between real-time and on-demand engagement, as needed. For example, if a participant gets an important call during a session and has to leave the room, they could use the event platform Chime Live to consume the content virtually and toggle back to the in-room experience once the call is over.
Virtual attendees are valuable members of any meeting community. Research by MPI and PCMA have proven that virtual events don’t cannibalize in-person attendance. In fact, people are more likely to attend an in-person event after experiencing it as a remote participant. Offering that virtual option allows people who can’t attend the in-person gathering to still experience your event’s content and community. It broadens your reach and helps you engage new audiences. It also amplifies your event return on investment (ROI) by increasing potential participant engagement, transactions and revenue from sponsors and exhibitors.
One of the best ways to create a seamless experience is to focus on engaging both the in-person and remote viewing audiences. Let this document be a guide to help you navigate the process of innovating your event and content design processes so you can access the boundless opportunities for engagement in-person, hybrid and digital events offer.
What’s in this guide
The purpose of this guide is to help you navigate these new opportunities by focusing your attention on seven key areas:
- Developing an innovation process for event design — How to generate, select, and evaluate ideas as well as how to catalogue and store ideas for future use.
- Leveraging event technology for engagement — The basic tools, technologies and best practices you need to engage dual remote and in-room audiences.
- Mapping the attendee journey — How to map the customer journey for your event participants and key stakeholders so that your event design achieves your desired outcomes.
- Creating healthy event ecosystems — Events comprise multiple components, or ecosystems. This section will help you test the health of each one and fix unhealthy ecosystems.
- Practicing radical inclusion — How to avoid common problems that leave attendees feeling disengaged, unwanted and excluded from your event experience.
- Designing engaging educational experiences — How to help event participants engage with content before, during and after your event in ways that will help them learn, remember and value your conference content.
- Maximizing return on education, return on objective and return on investment (ROE, ROO and ROI) — How to analyze event data, report results and use them to improve the event experience, revenues and ROI.
Developing an Innovation Process for Event Design
How to generate, select, and evaluate ideas as well as how to catalogue and store ideas for future use.
Step 1: Identify what needs to change
Sun Tzu wrote, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
If you begin the innovation process without knowing what needs to change, you’re prioritizing tactics over strategy. That’s why it’s important to look at data and feedback from past events or marketplace research before you design your next event.
- Data-point outliers: In which areas did your event score the worst? Where did it score highest? Build upon your successes. Look for areas of opportunity. If something isn’t working, either tweak it or stop doing it.
- Strong anecdotal feedback: Survey results don’t tell the full story. What kind of feedback did you, event team or staff gather from hallway conversations or complaints? Note: People will be more forthcoming and honest with an independent third-party auditor.
- Customer or industry pain points: What keeps your customers up at night? What arethe industry’s biggest pet peeves? These are friction points that your event might be able to solve.
- Big fails: Was there anywhere else you feel your last event (or other events by your competitive set) fellshort?
All will present opportunities for change. Identify three to five items that would make the biggest impact on your event or audience. These are the areas on which you want to focus your idea generation efforts.
Step 2: Invite the right people to generate ideas with you
If everyone in the room looks the same, has the same background or works in the same department, chances are that they’ll generate similar ideas. You don’t want an echo chamber. To generate ideas, you need diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and opinions.
To achieve this, invite a cross-section of key stakeholders and internal team members, including people who may not be directly connected to your event team. Make sure they all feel welcome, included and have an opportunity to share their voice.
Step 3: Lay down some basic rules
If you don’t lay down a few basic rules for idea generation, you’ll end up with a brainstorming session dominated by a few people. Avoid this by:
- Making space for introverted contributors: Before group conversations or any sharing begins, let people have five to seven minutes to write down their ideas on a set topic or question. This allows people to generate ideas without fear of being shut down.
- Create a clear activity schedule: Idea generation should be a time of pure brainstorming. Help participants resist the urge to start shooting ideas down or discussing them by creating different time-bound segments of the idea generation process. For example:
- Make it clear that idea generation time is solely for generating ideas without discussing or debating them. If you allow people to start judging ideas now, you’ll shut everyone down. If anyone offers an opinion, remind them there will be time to discuss the ideas later.
- Follow idea generation time with an activity that allows groups to add bullet points or creative strategies to ideas that speak to them. For example, if you’ve got five areas to innovate, divide the participants into five groups so there is one working on challenges and solutions for each area.
- After these ideas have been fleshed out and contextualized, give groups time to present on the challenges and solutions they worked on. Now is the time to discuss, debate, tweak and improve.
- Develop a parking lot: When people get off-track, gently steer them back on course. One of the easiest ways to do this is to take items that they want to discuss and place them in a “parking lot” that you can come back to later, if time allows.
- Decide on winning ideas and innovations: Ideally, the group in the room can also make the go-ahead decisions. But if that’s not possible, enlist their help in creating the presentations, videos or pitches required for the senior leadership team or event decision makers during the idea generation session. Remember: You don’t need to change everything. Trying one to three new things may be all you can handle.
- Determine how you will measure success: This is an important item to discuss while you’re debating and discussing the ideas. Once you know how success will be measured, then identify who will be responsible for implementing, tracking and reporting those measurements so you can evaluate the success of the experiment post-event.
Step 4: Capture the ideas and innovations generated
- Document the process: Film the presentations, assign dedicated note-takers for each group, or capture what is discussed in some way that makes it easy to archive.
- Create a knowledge database: Sometimes you’ll discover a great idea or innovative process that won’t work for the current event, but which you’d like to try at some point. Don’t lose these ideas. Instead, create a knowledge database.
- Keep records of your experiments: The knowledge database is also a phenomenal place to keep track of what happened when you applied your grandiose ideas and innovations to your event.
Step 5: Analyze results and iterate on your success (or failure)
- Analyze the results: What did you learn implementing this idea or innovation? Why did it work or not work?
- Present your findings: Who is invested in the success or failure of your event? What is the best way to communicate this information to them?
- Iterate and build on your success: Innovation is an iterative process, not a one-and-done thing. That’s why it’s important to examine and improve on your innovations, even if they were successful. If it worked, is there a way to build on that success? If it didn’t work, is there a something you can tweak that might help it work next time?
People are returning to in-person events. But the audience doesn’t look the same. One reason might be because the majority of Americans care more about their mental health, physical health and family than they did before the pandemic (Source: The Harris Poll, “The Great Awakening”), by 67 percent, 71 percent and 72 percent, respectively.
It’s clear that if you want to expand your in-person event’s reach, adding a hybrid element is the way to go. According to the Spring 2022 Encore Planner Pulse report, 25 percent of events will continue to have a hybrid component through the end of the year. For associations, that number may be as high as 50 percent, if recent PCMA research is any indication. True, 70 percent of people surveyed prefer attending events in-person, but do you really want to shut out 30 percent of your potential audience?
That’s why event organizers should start to think about hybrid as being ‘in-person+’: A way to enhance the in-room experience and make sure that everyone who wants to can attend your event.
Maximizing virtual event management
There are three things every hybrid event needs:
- Event Platform
We’ve covered how to select the best camera and why audio matters for your hybrid events. Let’s talk about the boundless possibilities for engagement that hybrid event platforms offer by examining one of the platforms the Encore team recommends: Chime Go℠.
Chime Go is a fully supported, quick start event site that the Encore team can configure in multiple ways. Setting up a Chime Go microsite is an easy way to add hybrid functionality to your in-person meetings. Think of Chime Go as a dedicated website that we create just for your event that brings the essential elements together in one location that your in-person and online participants can access from their own device —mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc.
- Branding and theming
- Pre-event and onsite access
- Agenda with meeting map
- Q&A with audience upvoting
- Platform analytics
- Web accessible for screen readers
- Support for more than 10,000+ users
- Sponsor banners
- Fundraising links
- Chat & sentiment stream
- Closed captioning
- Creative services
- Broadcast or on-demand video
- and more.
Being able to engage participants prior to the event and after maximizes the ways you can connect with your audience to build excitement, leverage word of mouth marketing and keep them buzzing long after they return home. The functionality keep audiences tuned in and gives everyone a chance to have a voice, express their opinions and connect with the content and each other. And being able to self-register and build personal agendas gives event participants the tools they need to maximize the value they get out of the event. The data you gain from the event dashboard will tell you what worked, what didn’t and help you improve the experience for everyone next time.
Want to learn more about the boundless possibilities for in-person+ engagement? Contact the Encore team to schedule a free consultation.
With a conference, content is king, and context provides value. That’s why agendas play such a pivotal role in convincing people to attend an event. Once they’re there, you want to reduce any barriers to enjoyment and make it easy for them to navigate the experience and extract value from it.
Think about it: If someone is going to spend money on travel, or ask their company to do so, they need to know the event will be worth their investment. If you’re asking them to leave work and family obligations behind, you need to let them know what they will experience. And you need to reinforce that value onsite with seamless interactions with your event technology.
That’s why you should consider using an event site for your in-person meeting with robust agenda and audience engagement features that attendees can conveniently access with a mobile or other device, so they can check what’s ahead and where they need to be next. If you have at least three weeks to organize your event, Encore recommends the mobile-friendly event technology platform Chime Go℠ to take your in-person event to the next level.
Ideal event types
Chime Go is an ideal solution for in-person conferences with added touches that show participants you appreciate their attendance and want them to have a wonderful experience. This platform is a full-service option, which means that you don’t have to set it up by yourself. The Encore team can configure Chime Go in multiple way to support events.
Boundless possibilities for in-person events
Chime Go helps attendees navigate and participate in the event in a convenient, handheld format. Features can include:
- Event branding
- Agendas with the ability for participants to bookmark sessions of interest
- Venue maps can be added to help attendees get where they need to be
- Q&A submission with audience upvoting
Add-on options include sponsor banners, fundraising links, hybrid video stream, chat, and sentiment capability, closed captioning, on-demand content, and more. Chime Go can also be configured for remote attendees, if you plan on sharing broadcast or pre-recorded content. You can also include links to video conferencing for breakouts or collaborative sessions
Chime Go is an easy and affordable way to generate pre-show excitement around the content you’re offering, keep everyone at the show on track, and help participants find what they need to gain value from your event. Want to learn more about the boundless possibilities Chime Go offers? Contact the Encore team to schedule a free consultation.