Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Technology has the irritating tendency to gleefully implode at the most inopportune moments. Any event planner that’s spent some time in the industry knows exactly what we’re talking about. No one gets away without a mishap.
Of course, busted tech is almost always the result of human error somewhere along the line, but that’s beside the point.
Here are some of the most common technological hazards event planners are likely to deal with at one point or another.
Audio/ Visual Malfunction
In any major performance or presentation, your equipment absolutely has to work flawlessly. Maybe that’s a tall order, but the simple fact is even the smallest glitch in your projection equipment, lighting, audio or video systems will be instantly noticeable. In the worst cases, an error can completely derail a presentation; if that presentation is the capstone of a conference, or a startup’s first big public pitch, these are high stacks opportunities with no second chances.
Make certain to use high-quality equipment and/or an experienced A/V firm, don’t take shortcuts or skimp on budget. Ask for recommendations from colleagues and follow up on references.
Dead Or Unreliable WiFi
In a world where we’re constantly connected, even a minor interruption is very obvious – and the people who do notice it aren’t likely to be pleased. Almost any event today should have WiFi, but if you’re hosting a technology-oriented conference or trade show, this is paramount.
There are a few things you can do to make certain your WiFi stays running:
- Consider having technicians test a venue’s wiring if it’s central to the running of your event.
- Perform a stress test on your access points based on how many people are likely to be attending the event. Ensure that the breaking point of each system is well above the projected load.
- Speak to whatever ISP manages the connection in the venue.
- Test the wireless hardware, and avoid using anything that’s more than five years old.
Remember: the only thing worse than no WiFi is unreliable, inconsistent WiFi. This will make people angrier than if you fail to provide it all.
Social media is a variation of technology and one of the most common brand disasters on Twitter is a hijacked hashtag. An organization starts a witty, on-point way of raising awareness for an event using a hashtag. Then, usually very quickly, an angry customer (or troll) decides to hijack the campaign, posting offensive, unrelated and inflammatory content to their feed. #McDStories is a perfect example of just how wrong things can go.
There’re few ways to avoid this, but there are a few strategies you can employ to reduce the likelihood of rogue hashtags. The best solution if you’re not sure about what may be posted, and you’re displaying it at the event, is to use a service like Tweetwall that supports full moderation so you can prevent it from being shown.
Registration Gone Wrong
Sometimes, things go south before your guests even make it into the event. A crashed registration website, malfunctioning payment devices or ticket scanners, or sluggish software; a registration system gone haywire is a bad way to kick things off. Test your system. Make certain it’s robust enough and fast enough to handle your intake.
Tip: if you sense something going wrong at registration, make fixing this your number one priority. You should have contingency plans ready, often a manual backup system.
Last, but certainly not least, if you’re streaming live audio or video of your event online, there’s a chance the streaming service may run into bandwidth trouble. Few things are more jarring than having to stop in the middle of a live presentation to wait for a video to buffer; or most likely your presenter doesn’t wait and your audience is frustrated and misses out. For this reason, you should use only quality streaming services such as LiveStream. Also, when considering additional bandwidth today you need to account for supporting HD audio or video.
As we said, it’s a mute point that tech issues can usually get traced back to some human error. You will deal with one or all of these events at some point. In all cases, the best things you can do is keep a cool head and roll with the punches – and as the leader, make sure everyone else does the same.
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On July 8, 2014 an interesting and ambitious new organization known as The Institute of Event Management made its official debut at The Meetings Show in Olympia, London.