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For my position as Key Account Manager at Encore you should have experience in all relevant areas and functions of event management to be really successful.

Having spent more than 30 years in the live event industry, starting as an Operations Manager and working his way up to his current role as Key Account Manager Global Sales Client Direct, Tommy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team at Encore. We interviewed Tommy to find out more about the secret of his success in the event industry and his unbroken passion for his current role as Key Account Manager at Encore DACHNL. 

How did you get into our industry over 30 years ago?

“I entered the business through the technical implementation of a social project in an independent theatre supporting children.”

What would you say is the most important thing in your job?

“In my role as Key Account Manager at Encore it is very important to be close to the customer and to directly create trust and gain the customer’s confidence in order to be able to deliver a world-class service. Trust is the secret to my success. Also, a strong knowledge base of the event industry is important, because for my position you should have experience in all relevant areas and functions of event management to be really successful. I’m glad to have gained this overall experience in various fields of event management and in different roles.”

team member journey

What are you particularly proud of in your career?

“I’m very proud of my current position as Key Account Manager at Encore as I have a lot of responsibility in looking after the most important clients for our company, both nationally and internationally.

A very special and impressive project for me was working for a global financial services provider, for whom I had to manage events in the entire Frankfurt Festival Hall (Frankfurter Festhalle) for a week. For me as a ‘Frankfurter’, this was a special honour and a truly wonderful experience.”

Can you imagine life without Encore?

“Good question… I got to know the company at the very beginning of my journey in the event business. During my studies I was working freelance in the technical event support, and I was looking for some special equipment. With Encore (formally KFP) I finally found exactly what I needed, so I decided to stay. Now, looking back at 30 years with the company, I am hell-bent on continuing my journey to retirement with Encore. I guess, I am what is called a ‘prisoner of passion’ – believe it or not, it still feels good!”

If Tommy’s path sounds exciting to you, check out our current vacancies now.

While in-person events continue to make a comeback following the pandemic, it is no secret that the industry has evolved with the advent of hybrid events. Many planners have found that in-person events enhanced with advanced technology and hybrid elements to facilitate remote attendee participation are fast becoming a go-to strategy to help extend event reach and inclusivity.

Research also supports the growing importance of and demand for hybrid solutions. Our Planner Pulse survey recently revealed that planners believe at least 25 percent of their upcoming events will utilise hybrid formats. Hybrid events break down barriers for attendance and set the stage for expanded audiences, greater collaboration, event innovation, and diverse conversations.

But hybrid elements aren’t just for large events. They are actually incredibly common for small meetings. Combining the right technology tools and on-site support allows you to manage small meetings more effectively and efficiently. With solutions such as wired internet, rental laptops, cameras, larger displays, enhanced sound and the appropriate platform, small meetings can be more engaging and inclusive for all participants.

Connecting virtually began out of necessity during the pandemic but is now an expected option by meeting attendees. Encore has been creating and producing events with hybrid elements for more than 70 years bringing in-person and remote attendees together as well as creating technology enabled in-room experiences. To continue our goal of creating events that transform during the pandemic, Encore supported nearly 9,500 U.S. hybrid meetings over the last 12 months. While the desire to return to in-person meetings, both large and small, is clearly strong, hybrid meetings will offer attendee engagement benefits for the foreseeable future.

The Encore Spring 2022 Planner Pulse Report surveyed approximately 1,000 event planners and showed that 50 percent have adopted a hybrid approach and 73 percent will or may continue to incorporate virtual attendees within in-person events. It also indicated that three out of four events will include an in-person audience. This, along with the expected increase in business travel this year as projected by the AHLA State of the Industry report is further indication of a more positive trend for both in-person and hybrid events.

There are a number of positive signs for the return of in-person events and continued growth for hybrid events, and Encore has the expertise, technology, and people to partner with you to bring your event’s vision to life. We believe in the boundless possibilities that exist when people connect in person or through a hybrid platform. Discover the countless ways you can create engaging, accessible events with the best hybrid in-room and platform solutions on the market. Need help finding the right solution and the best hybrid elements for your events? Contact an Encore professional to determine what works for you.

Audio Checklist for Hybrid Events

How wonderful would it be to attend a virtual or hybrid event without someone saying, “Can you hear me now?”. Audio is one of those critical elements that attendees don’t pay attention to until it doesn’t work. So when you’re organising a hybrid or virtual meeting, it needs to be one of your top priorities. But how do you get the right audio for hybrid events?

First things first, let’s clear up exactly what is a hybrid event?

The Hybrid Event Set Up

Hybrid-Event-Set-Up-800px.jpg

Hybrid events are a mix of both live and virtual events. Take your live event, complete with an in-person audience, content, and more, and you add a virtual component to it so more attendees can participate and engage with your event, no matter where they are in the world. They can be watching the stream by themselves in their own home or office, or as part of a group in a venue in another location.

Now that we’re clear on what a makes up a hybrid event, let’s understand the process for getting the right audio for hybrid events and working out the best audio solution for your event.

Questions to ask your event stakeholders

Start with the end goal in mind – what are you wanting your end event to look like. Understanding what you’re trying to achieve and what the parameters of the event are will help determine the brief for your event production partner. Gather all the relevant information by asking your key stakeholders and event team the following questions:

1. Does the presenter need to be seen on video or are we broadcasting audio only?

2. Will only the presenter audio need to be sent to the offsite attendees? Or will there be discussion and/or Q&A that also needs to be heard? Will that discussion/Q&A be with in-room participants or remote viewers, or both?

3. Will the speakers be connecting to the event remotely? Will they need to be heard by participants meeting onsite? Or are they only connecting to other remote participants?

4. Will participants joining remotely need to be heard by in-room participants?

5. Will participants attending the event in person need sound reinforcement to help them hear each other in the space?

The right audio for your event scenario

audience at an event in front of a stage with three people and two big screens
Professional Pensions Live 2021 at The Brewery via Incisive Media

Small collaborative meeting

If you’re hosting a small meeting where the in-room team can hear each other and they only need to be able to hear the virtual participants, the cameras and microphones built into participant laptops may not be sufficient. If you want a more professional look and feel, consider using an all-in-one camera that has a built-in microphone and speaker. These “smart” devices can swivel to capture the in-room speaker for the remote viewing audience while providing superior sound quality for the in-room guests.

Mid-size collaborative meeting

With a larger room, in-room attendees may need amplification so that they can hear each other speak as well as hear the remote participants. This requires microphones that can capture each in-room participants’ voice and broadcast it through loudspeakers in the physical space. Consider using external microphones and loudspeakers.

Dedicated presenter 

If the meeting is more presentation-oriented, then you may only have to focus on amplifying the presenter, with options that can facilitate group discussion and Q&A. The best solution for this set-up is to secure a dedicated microphone for the presenter(s) and in-room loudspeakers. Consider employing additional wireless handheld microphones to capture impromptu comments or questions that might arise to ensure all in-person and virtual attendees can hear.

A note on Microphones

When possible use wireless lavs as they appear better on camera and there is less chance of shifting the microphone which creates ambient noise for the viewer. Also, having an audio operator watching who is speaking will help cut down on a mic accidentally being left on – which your hybrid audience will hear right away.

If you will have Q&A from the audience, rather than having to run around with wireless microphones, consider using a Question or Voting feature in an event platform. Encore’s Chime platforms allow all participants both in-person and online to submit questions for moderation before going live on screen. There is nothing more frustrating for a remote audience than knowing a question was asked, but only hearing the answer and not the question. So not only is everything there on screen, it’s a great way to get all participants actively engaging with the event.  

Get the best audio with the hybrid event experts

Now that you’ve defined your goals and considered the different scenarios, work with a dedicated event production partner to decide on which audio technology is best to keep your audience not only connected, but engaged.

Encore are the trusted experts in designing successful hybrid events. Whether your audience is local, national, international or a mixture of both, Encore has the technology and expertise to find the right audio for hybrid events and to design the best solution for your hybrid event. With the largest range of solutions offered by a single provider we are your convenient and reliable one-stop-shop.

Head over to our Hybrid+ solutions page to learn more.

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It’s great working for a company that can offer such great mobility and opportunities all over the globe.

Gediminas started with Encore in 2016 as an AV Technician in London working in various venues across the city and gaining a wealth of technical event experience. After a short pause with the company, he has decided to take on a role as Technical Events Manager at Encore in 2021 at one of our most prestigious hotels in Switzerland. We interviewed Gediminas to find out more about his personal experience with Encore and his enthusiasm to be part of our global team.

Tell us about your career background with Encore?

“I started my time with Encore working in various venues across London from 2016-2020. First as an AV Technician at the Hilton London Metropole and Paddington before moving up to Senior Technician. From here I spent over a year as an Assistant Technical Events Manager at the Langham London before I was promoted to Technical Events Manager at the Langham and the Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel. In 2021 I made the move to Switzerland where I have been working since as a Technical Events Manager at Encore.”

What made you decide to join our company again?

“I already knew the values of the company and my personal values fit really well. I am also recognised in the company because I’ve worked for 5 years with the team in London. I also knew it would be a good collaboration and I would be appreciated in the company as they value team members so highly. Now I work in Switzerland because I love the landscape and I’d often spend my holidays here previously. I’m very happy that I was offered the opportunity in Switzerland as Technical Events Manager at Encore, it’s great working for a company that can offer such great mobility and opportunities all over the globe.”

What are you most proud of in your career progress?

“I’m very proud of the rigging training and the management training I’ve done in London previously. I’m also proud of my work experience during the years I worked in London. I was determined to be a Technical Events Manager by the time I was 25 and I actually did it! I’m very proud of this because it taught me that you can do anything you want if you believe in yourself and work for it. I’m glad for the chance to learn and grow with Encore which is something they empower you to do. Finally, I’m grateful for the opportunity to work for Encore in Switzerland as a TEM and to further develop my knowledge here.”

Encore in three words?

“For me Encore is a PLACE TO GROW.”

If Gediminas’ path sounds exciting to you, check out our current vacancies now.

 

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On first impressions I was seen as a woman and so someone that doesn’t have a great knowledge about technology. However, I enjoy being able to prove people wrong.

Jessica has been with Encore just over seven years now. Having completed her apprenticeship with us she was offered a permanent role as an Operation Manager. Since then, she was promoted to her current role of Technical Events Manager. As Jessica has a 13-month-old child she still is on parental leave. During this time, she is happy to have the chance to balance her job and her role as a mum by working primarily from the home office and supporting the regional resource planning from there. We interviewed Jessica to find out more about her personal experience with Encore and her enthusiasm to be part of the team.

What do you enjoy most about your job with Encore?

“The harmony in the team is great and everyone values each other. A lot of work is done to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that everyone can work well together on an interpersonal level. The interaction with each other is always friendly and respectful, no matter who you have contact with. You can talk openly with your supervisor about everything, and they always try to find a solution, whether it’s about challenges, new work tasks or requests for a change of position. If you want, you can have a varied working day and an environment in which you can always take advantage of new opportunities and possibilities.”

What can you tell us about the possibility to combine family and career at Encore?

“I have been able to adjust my working hours in consultation with my Regional Operations Manager in terms of working from home or time in the office, so that I can also take care of my son and provide for my family at the same time. In addition, my daily tasks have also been adjusted so that I can juggle everything.”

What are you particularly proud of in your career?

“I’m very proud being a trustworthy partner on-site for my hotels and for their customers. As a woman I have often had to deal with unconscious bias in the past. On first impressions I was seen as a woman and so someone who doesn’t have a great knowledge about technology. However, I enjoy being able to prove people wrong by delivering and doing the right thing thus leaving a lasting impression on the customers. I hope I can show all sceptics that women can be as just as good with technology as me.

Tell us a fun fact of your life?

Actually, I met my husband at the company in 2014, so our son is a real “KFP-Encore-reflection”. I like listening to metal, love Wacken Music Festival and I help organize a volunteer festival in my spare time. That is also where we got married in 2017. And to make things round we spent our honeymoon at Wacken.

If Jessica’s path sounds exciting to you, check out our current vacancies now.

We are providing technical event equipment: Tom Mowat, Sadie Naylor, Gavin Hawthorn, Mick Freer, Stephen Reid, Sam Hooper (in the picture from the left)

Encore is one of the largest technical event equipment suppliers in the UK, with a huge state-of-the-art range available for hire. From lighting, sound, and video to staging, power, rigging and drapes, we stock the latest technology from leading manufacturers.

But it’s not just our kit that makes us stand out from the crowd. Our friendly Hire and Product Sales team have decades of industry experience in live events, theatre and concert touring and are committed to always going the extra mile for our customers. We’ve turned the spotlight on the team to find out a bit more about them and get a glimpse into what life is like in our busy Hire and Product Sales department.

Gavin Hawthorn

Senior Manager – Hire & Sales

Gavin started at Encore in 2005 and began his journey delivering and collecting technical event equipment all over the UK. He worked his way up the ladder working in a variety of roles across the business and now manages the busy Dry Hire & Product Sales department.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

“I love the variety that comes from working in the department. It’s true that no two days are the same here. We’re honoured to work with so many amazing customers so there’s always an exciting new theatre show prepping in our warehouse or a big-name concert tour getting ready to hit the road with Encore kit. I’m privileged to manage a passionate team and it’s energising to work around and support people who are interested in going the extra mile.”

Sam Hooper

Senior Hire Account Manager

Since joining Encore at the age of 17 as a warehouse operative, Sam has worked in several roles across our departments, gaining valuable experience, developing his technical knowledge, and nurturing an in-depth understanding of what it takes to deliver world class customer service. Sam is now a key member of our team as Senior Hire Account Manager, looking after our concert touring and corporate dry hire customers.

What does a typical day look like?

“Typical day? I don’t think those exist! Typical tasks however include reviewing and preparing specs for concert tours, looking after corporate event equipment requirements, getting trucking quotes, scheduling jobs, making sure equipment is prepared…the list goes on! Like most roles in this industry, this isn’t a 9am – 5pm role and I can be on call out of hours to give on-site support for my customers and to always ensure there’s always a friendly voice at the end of the phone. I like keeping busy, so I love it!”

Tom Mowat

Hire Account Manager

Tom has been part of the Encore team since 2019. Prior to joining the company, he was a key customer working as a freelance lighting designer, re-lighter and electrician in various sectors across the UK & Europe. This experience makes him ideally suited to support our customers on West End, UK, and International Theatre productions.

What do you love about Encore?

“Every day brings a new challenge and I find that hugely exciting. On a day-to-day basis I deal with enquiries ranging from the hire of single items for a few days right through to trucks worth of equipment for weeks, months and sometimes even years. The key for me though is always delivering the kit and customer service to a level that I grew to expect when I was at the other end of the phone, no matter the size of the project.”

Mick Freer

Concert Touring Account Manager

Pulling in big name acts such as Status Quo, Mark Knopfler and New Order is no easy task, but someone’s got to do it! That person is Mick Freer, our Concert Touring Account Manager. Mick joined Encore in 2011 and works closely with lighting designers, production managers and promoters to help effectively deliver their creative visions. 

Tell us about your career background?

“I kicked off my career in fringe theatre and spent several years working with a range of dance and theatre companies, providing lighting and stage management. In 1988, I joined the world of ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ working in a cabling department and driving vans to support shows at gigs across London. Very soon I was asked to assist as a lampy on shows before going freelance again in 1990 and entering the world of touring with bands throughout Europe, Australia, Japan and the USA. I finally came off the road in 2008 and joined the Encore team in 2011 to develop concert touring for the business.”

Stephen Reid

Hire Account Manager

Stephen joined the Encore Team in 2013 and has been part of the Hire team for technical event equipment since then. Having spent nearly 10 years working in Edinburgh, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from a background of theatre and live events. Stephen is predominantly focused on our work with West End and UK Theatre Touring customers, as well as the Edinburgh Festivals.

What do your customers say about the Encore hire experience?

“As we’re a global company, they love that we can deliver an unmatched breadth and depth of technical services but that we’ve still retained our friendly, family feel. Our huge inventory of equipment is all carefully maintained and tested by our dedicated in-house team and there’s always someone on hand to offer support, giving our customers real peace of mind.”

Alex Dugdale

Hire Account Handler

Alex has worked at Encore for five years, both in the warehouse and as a Project Technician. Alex is our newest recruit to the Hire Office and is looking forward to the wide scope of work and the opportunities to work with well-known clients. Prior to Encore, Alex worked in technical event management roles in several conference venues and has also worked in both professional and amateur theatre.

What excites you most about your new role in our Hire team?

“I’m really looking forward to meeting contacts, both old and new, whilst looking after our dry hire clients. I love how the team are so passionate about delivering world class service and it really shows in the relationships they have with their customers. There’s always a buzz in the Hire office (based in Encore’s northern site in the UK) and I’m excited about joining the team and progressing my career within the business.”

Sadie Naylor

Product Sales Manager 

Sadie began her Encore journey in 2008, gaining valuable knowledge across a range of our departments before becoming Product Sales Manager. With Encore trusted to sell high-quality technical event equipment for many of the industry’s leading manufacturers, Sadie establishes and develops excellent relationships, working closely with manufacturers and suppliers to find the best solutions for our customers.

Why do you love being part of the Encore team?

“I’ve met so many amazing people throughout my time here and developed friendships I know will last a lifetime, not just with people who work here but also the customers, manufacturers and suppliers I work with every day. When you work with your friends it doesn’t feel like work, and the best thing about my career so far has definitely been the people I’ve met along the way.”

If you want to find more about our UK hire service and how we can support you on your next project, visit our dedicated hire website here or contact our team hire-uk@encoreglobal.com If you would like more information about the wide range of products available to purchase through Encore, please email productsales-uk@encoreglobal.com to discuss your requirements. 

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I particularly like the fact that young people get a chance here. They get a lot of responsibility quickly and can develop themselves in this way.

Bent has been with Encore just over three years now. He finished his apprenticeship with Encore Germany in 2021 and is now working for Encore full-time as a Technical Events Manager. We interviewed Bent to find out more about his personal experience with Encore and his enthusiasm to stay with us in a permanent role since completing his training.

How did you like your training with us, what was it like for you?

“I particularly like the fact that young people get a chance here. They get a lot of responsibility quickly and can develop themselves in this way. Encore really value their people and I found I was quickly accepted as a full team member and empowered to learn and grow.”

Why did you want to continue working with us after your apprenticeship? What were the key points for you?

“The working atmosphere is very good, the culture is diverse, and the management level is always in close contact with the team and there to support us. I am also pleased with the job offer, as I feel very comfortable within the company, and I’ve familiarised myself very well in the last 3 years of training.”

How do you like your work as a Technical Events Manager now?

“There is a lot to do, but I enjoy the job and I’m happy. There are also some new challenges in the event industry, but I’m confident and motivated to master them in the future. There are also new opportunities in the daily work routine that offer variety and make working in our company really exciting.”

If Bent’s path sounds exciting to you, check out our current vacancies now.

Moving forward, meeting and event professionals need to develop hybrid and virtual event strategies to complement their traditional in-person meeting and event strategy. It’s relatively new territory, but it doesn’t have to be a complex process. In fact, if you know the right questions to ask key meeting and event stakeholders, you can save you and your team time and money. 

Encore Vice President of Product Management Matthew Johnsen suggests beginning with the big picture. “Assess the general needs of the event and the intended outcome,” he says. Ask your stakeholders the following questions:

What is the intended outcome of the meeting?

“So many people are comfortable with joining a meeting from the office, you don’t have to think about producing something that’s over the top,” Johnsen says. 

Knowing if the event is transactional, tactical, or needs to be experiential and engaging will help you identify the added costs required to achieve those objectives.

What is the message you’re trying to deliver? And how do you want participants to interact with that message and each other?

“An education session doesn’t need a lot of the fanfare that you would need for a high-end product reveal,” Johnsen says. Knowing how you want to deliver the message will also help you focus your attention on different elements of the meeting or event’s creative, technical and production design.

Once you’ve identified the intended outcomes and the message you’re trying to deliver, that will help you identify the kind of platform you need. Something basic like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet is adequate for most educational and informational meetings. When using virtual meeting platforms like Zoom or Teams, you can combine with your event technology partner’s features to create a more seamless connection between the in-room physical event and virtual technology while keeping all attendees engaged.

If you need one-on-one appointments, virtual trade show booths or interactions like pop-up polling, you may need a platform with more intermediate or advanced features. If you’re unsure of how to sort through the options, this is where a trusted technology provider like Encore can help you make the right decisions.

Who are the people we need to have at this meeting in-person?

“A hybrid meeting can help you reach more people, and that makes your meeting more accessible,” Johnsen says. People who may not have been able to travel to your event before, or who are hesitant to attend in-person meetings now, can attend virtually.

“This is a very acceptable way for people to meet, and like it or dislike it, I don’t see it going away,” Johnsen says. Having fewer people on-site can be a good thing, too. “Smaller audiences mean lower in-person costs.”

Ask your stakeholders who really needs to be on-site versus part of your remote viewing audience. “The quantity of the people and the right people in attendance is more important than ever before.”

What do you intend to do with the recorded content?

“If you’re not planning to use it again, that might affect the level of production you’re going to apply to that event,” Johnsen says. But if you’re already streaming content and investing in all the cameras, lighting, and sound reinforcement you need to make it look and sound good, why not create a post-event content marketing strategy?

“Take advantage of the cost you’re already spending to record the event, and repackage and repurpose the content,” Johnsen says.

Can you host people in multiple locations?

Do you have to bring the in-person audience to one location? Or can you use a decentralised approach that connects multiple physical locations to the virtual group participating in the meeting or event? As, event organizers, taking a decentralised approach can offset travel costs and reduce your event’s carbon footprint.

Do you want the virtual experience to equal the in-person event experience?

Hybrid event production costs are scalable. But if you invest a lot in the in-person live event and skimp on the virtual component, you can create an uneven event experience. “If you’re going to have a high production value in the ballroom,” Johnsen says, “invest in the virtual experience as well by adding things like lower thirds.” 

The best way to combine the virtual and in-person components into a seamless hybrid event experience is to find the right production partner.  

“You want to work with a provider with a vast inventory, deep knowledge of platforms and years of experience,” Johnsen says. “Platform and production providers – if they’re not connected, then you can create a disconnect.”  

The Encore team, leaders in the event industry, not only provides hybrid and virtual platforms, but they also provide on-site technology and production assistance as well as creative event solutions that can take you from initial planning to event execution and post-production content repackaging. Show us how and where you are showing up during your meetings and events by sharing your recent or upcoming event on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter) with the hashtag #BeingThere.

The revelation of the colour of the year from Pantone Colour Institute has become almost a tradition. They have been promoting this statement since 2000, based on observations of certain industries related to fashion and media. The romantic world of weddings, as you can imagine, is not the exception, but how can you incorporate next year’s colour to your celebration?

Very Peri: the colour of 2022

Through 20 years of stablishing the road for trends, Pantone Colour Institute had never created a colour specifically for this purpose.

PANTONE  17-3938 Very Peri is a mixture of blue and purple shades. According to the Pantone Colour Institute site, this colour mix intends to rekindle gratitude for some of the qualities that blue represents, complemented by a new perspective that resonates today.

“ Very Peri places the future ahead in a new light. We are living in transformative times. As we emerge from an intense period of isolation, our notions and standards are changing, and our physical and digital lives have merged in new ways. Digital design helps us to stretch the limits of reality, opening the door to a dynamic virtual world where we can explore and create new colour possibilities.” – Pantone Colour Institute.

A very peri wedding

We all know florals and tablecloths can transform a venue into something colorful with minimal effort. But if you want something outstanding, there are still many options to make a statement of your wedding. Monogram lights, for example, look beautiful on almost any surface. They give an elegant touch to wherever your reception is being held.

If you want something that causes more impact, probably a LED dance floor is what you need. Light up every attendee with the special meaning of Very Peri while you celebrate all night long.

The perfect match to this kind of dance floor is ambient lighting. A soft hint of glowing purple will make the environment look like no other. This can be achieved through our lighting option.

The best part of this kind of themed wedding is that you can mix it with other kind of decorations and venues. Very Peri will get along perfectly with a classical, a minimalistic or a beach wedding. You only need to decide what you would love to see during your celebration.

If you are searching for ideas, be sure to visit our social media or contact us. Together we will create your dream wedding through the very important meaning this colour was created for.

January 2022 saw the in-person return of one of the most exciting technology symposiums, Consumer Electronics Show (CES). While there were notable last-minute exhibitor absences and 45k attendees vs the 170k that attended the 2020 show, a slightly subdued CES delivered an impressive lineup of tech that felt equal parts concept and market ready (per the norm). From cyber strollers to pet facial recognition, smart pillows to flying ‘cars,’ CES had something to offer any tech enthusiast.

Including robots. So many robots.

Encore Product Management scouted the show floor for the next great add to the Encore development pipeline. Below is a sampling of the tech that caught our attention (spoiler, there are no robots):

 

Abusizz Lamp+

Lamp+ from Swiss company Abusizz can turn any desktop surface into a smart table without adding any technology to the table. An overhead projector, Lamp+ uses a proprietary operating system to accommodate a minimalist interface for touch interactions without physical inputs.

Features include:

  • Built in omnidirectional audio
  • Casting capabilities via Airplay, Chromecast, and Miracast
  • Accurate and responsive to touch recognition
  • 500 lumen output, standard for many pico projectors
  • A larger model called “Table+” with improved audio coverage and image brightness

While Lamp+ is meant to be an installed technology, the economics of temporary/modular use in the meeting space is not prohibitive. With a UI so simple, discoverable, and deployable, Abusizz is certainly a company to watch. 

Learn more at Abusizz.ch

 
Fairy Devices Linklet

Wearable technology is becoming more prevalent with the steady adoption of smart glasses, GPS watches, cloud-connected rings, and the promise of smart clothing inbound. Japanese manufacturer Fairy Devices showed off their contribution to the wearable revolution with Linklet, a hands-free video conferencing device; worn over the user’s neck.

Features include:

  • First-person point of view for remote participants
  • Image stabilised for less blurred imagery typical of head mounted solutions
  • Integrates with Teams or Zoom
  • Links with WiFi or LTE mobile, so users are not bound by the limits of their network coverage

A quality first-person communication device opens the door for hands-focused presentations, like cooking classes or trade school instruction, as well as improved remote site visits.

Click here for more info the Fairy Devices Linklet.

 
Noveto N1

The N1 is a personal audio device that aurally cocoons the user by employing sound beaming technology. The result is what Noveto calls an “invisible headphone experience”.

Features include:

  • 90% reduction of audio outside of the sound pocket
  • Sound pocket determined by motion sensors that alter the beam direction to ensure there are no dropouts in volume or clarity
  • Whisper-level sonic output is still audible
  • Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm connectivity

Even on the rowdy CES show floor, the noise reduction could be appreciated. N1 can be used for video conferences, music, podcasts, and standard phone calls without disturbing those around you. N1 is scheduled to ship late in Q1 2022.

More on the Noveto N1

 
LG XBoom 360

While not officially highlighted at CES 2022, the XBoom 360 caught our eye (and ear) as it was positioned around LG’s QR code-powered exhibit space. This premium Bluetooth speaker is omnidirectional with a unique aesthetic and serious sonic oomph.

Features include:

  • 360-degree audio coverage
  • Bluetooth multipoint (multiple connected devices)
  • Wirelessly paired with an additional speaker for greater coverage
  • USB-A and 3.5mm inputs
  • A customizable mood light near its peak
  • Estimated ten-hour battery life
  • Smartphone app implements EQ curves, customizes mood light color, and engage “DJ Mode.”

The DJ feature allows for some novel delay effects and drum samples to be dropped in on a whim. There is also a sample creator option, which allows recording of up to a 5 second sample. This could be utilised for audience guidance and announcements over the course of an event. 

Learn more about the XBoom 360 on LG’s website.

 
Samsung Odyssey Ark

We heard about it before we saw it. The CES exhibits space was abuzz with talks of the Odyssey Ark. As Samsung’s largest curved monitor at 55”, the Ark engulfs the user in whatever content they view.​​​​​​​

Features include:

  • 55”, 16:9 aspect, 4k resolution, 1000R curvature
  • With multiview capabilities and a wireless hardware dial, separate inputs can be positioned and resized within the screen’s real estate to optimise the desired layout
  • Can be used in standard landscape mode or in portrait orientation
  • Portrait mode sees the monitor literally towering over the user’s head, allowing for a novel type of immersion

 

Paired with Multiview, this functionality allows for impressive and customizable productivity stations. Technical details beyond the basics have yet to be divulged. The Samsung Odyssey Ark is slated for release in the second half of 2022. Obviously uses include digital signage and engagement spaces, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see large versions of this screen appear in the future.

 
VideowindoW

VideowindoW is a modular solution that changes standard glass panels into transparent displays while actively mitigating glare. Similar to E Ink solutions, VideowindoW uses no backlight and relies on external ambient light to showcase imagery. The opacity of grayscale images adapts to sunlight/overcast conditions. While the company is currently focusing on airport applications, we see this technology splitting into several classes valuable to meetings and events, chief of which includes scenic applications and command/control of installed venue displays.

Check out a demo of VideowindoW on their website.

 
Holographic Touch 

Just as we can’t seem to escape hologram technology, ‘contactless’ is a word we’ve all become familiar with over the past two years. This typically means utilising a personal smart device to complete something like a transaction or menu selection. Holo Industries has taken the phrase literally with their Holographic Touch technology. Offering users a new way to interface with displays and kiosks, all the standard operating movements of a touch display are present: touch-to-click, swipe, scroll, pinch-to-zoom etc. The user receives auditory feedback of a successful selection; however, it certainly takes some time to get accustomed to the feeling of poking a point in mid-air. It will be interesting to see if these touchless interactive displays gain traction.​​​​​​​

More information can be found on Holo Industries website.

 
PORTL M

Holographic solution provider PORTL announced a desktop version of their “holoportation” device. At 1/5th scale of their life-size product, the PORTL M is designed for holographic video conferencing as well as playback of content recorded and uploaded from a smart device.

Features include:

  • Integrated speakers
  • AI-enabled smart camera
  • Multitouch display

While holograms have often been seen as a gimmick, the PORTL M may convince consumers to invite a Star Wars-esque experience into their homes. We could see the PORTL devices being used for remote presentations, exhibit booths, and unique artwork displays.

For more about the PORTL M and the life-size product, PORTL Epic, head over to portlhologram.com.​​​​​

 
STARcase

The STARcase jumped out as an interest item for swag giveaways or prize raffles. Available for most major smart phones, STARcase illuminates the back of your device with its customizable LED matrix display. Controllable via app, users can choose from predetermined “light shows,” scrolling text, and notifications from other smart phone applications. Paired with a smart charge battery, the STARcase can also give your device some extra juice. While it certainly is a novelty item, STARcase could be a fun addition to an industry event or tradeshow.

 
Mandatory Honorable Mention – E Ink

It wouldn’t be proper to post a CES article without mentioning the star of the conference. Turning heads and making headlines, BMW introduced their iX Flow concept vehicle featuring colour-changing technology using E ink. Microcapsules coating the car surface are stimulated to a positive or negative charge for black or white colours respectively. BMW states that this is an advanced R&D project so don’t expect the iX Flow to hit streets any time soon. This technology can’t help but excite an event industry focused mind with the possibilities of E ink for scenic, signage, and décor. But with E ink’s struggle to gain significant holding in the mainstream since its introduction in the early 2000’s, do not expect to see an E ink powered scenic solution in 2022.​​​​​​​

Discover more about the technology behind the iX Flow’s look at Eink.com

 

In Conclusion

 

Our list of highlights is by no means exhaustive (our initial findings report included over a hundred products), we hope this gives you a glimpse of where consumer tech is headed for the next year and how it can be applied to our industry. Some of the component-level technologies we’ll be considering in research and development range across the Internet of things (IoT), Smart Cities, Computer Vision and Tracking, and Home Automation. We plan to include some of this capable tech in future product and solution concepts, so we may share these details with you soon enough. ​​​​​​​

Until then, we wish you dreams of functional robots.