RFID Event Technology

RFID, is it for me?

The wonderful world of RFID technology. Most people have heard about it, but mostly by way of micro chipping and other invasive “no no’s.” But is it possible that RFID technology can truly benefit you? As an event professional, are you aware of the benefits RFID holds for Events and Trade Shows? In the events world, RFID is safe, smart and fun!

I have to be honest. It took me a little bit to open up to this idea. I have always been one to value my privacy and the privacy of others. Quite frankly, the idea of somebody tracking me and my information makes me a bit nervous. But as I dug deep in understanding the plethora of uses RFID brings to the events community I was shocked! These systems are less intrusive then I thought. I have a new found appreciation for RFID by way of events. So, here are some thoughts and info on how RFID technology can boost your event!

The Low Down

RFID’s come as badges, passes, tickets or wristbands. Combined with a reader and customized software, you are now leveraging your event in many ways. Automated hands free reading eliminates congested entrances which means faster lines and a steady flow. Staffing can be reduced for entrances and exits. Certain information such as: Name, Company Name, areas granted for access, etc. can be pre stored. Additional information can be added throughout the event. RFID augments collected data by lead retrieval technology providing exhibitors with analytics from multiple sources. Better information means better planning!

Social Media Made Easy!

Here’s a great way to use RFID technology at resort/ hotel events! Guests have the option to wear RFID wristbands throughout their stay. These are synchronized with Facebook. Sensors are installed on the property.. at the pool, bar, restaurant, main attractions. Guests can swipe their wristband to check-in using Facebook Places, update status or upload a picture. They can promote products or services, tag themselves in group photos and record fun activities that are taking place.

A small touch goes a long way!

How about this? Install RFID in a super cool dedicated space where guests can broadcast to their Facebook friends that they “Like” where they are or who YOU are! Get enough people to “Like” it and their friends to “Like” it… you are now going viral!

Work it into the Design!

Create a super cool visual effect! A San Francisco party last year handed out 180 tags to guests as they arrived. The visitors location and movement were roughly tracked and projected onto a large screen. So cool! This is an awesome way to have people interact with visuals!

Reviewing the Information

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of RFID technology at events is the collection of information that will surely help you in planning your next. You will have a much better idea of where to put your money and how to create the setting that best suits your demographic. No more wasted areas or attractions. Focus on what works!!

Brainstorming,

Fresh Wata

Airplane In-Flight WiFi – Business is Pleasure!

Amenity? Necessity?

It used to be that if an airline offered wifi it was an extra bonus. Free WiFi was the ultimate icing on the cake. But let’s face it, most of us have become the averaged 7% and growing of absolute WiFi users on the plane. We are the one’s not able to wait an hour to respond or waste a perfectly good sit down session when there is plenty to get done. Communication at a halt is gruesome and we will not hesitate to pay extra insuring our computers are up and running.

But what are the airlines doing to keep their business minded customers happy and coming back for more? Is there an advantage of choosing certain airlines if possible? Should we be a bit snobby when it comes to booking accommodations such as WiFi?

United Airlines, Us Airways, Delta, Virgin Airlines and AirTran Airways all offer GoGo Internet. As a matter of fact, I would say this has been a sign of relief in many cases when first getting settled in your seat. GoGo Internet activation on your laptop or iPad costs anywhere between $4.95 to $12.95. For mobile internet activation it will run you between $4.95-$7.95. There is also an option for frequent flyers where you can buy a monthly package. I try to look out for special sponsorship opportunities. Like when Google Chrome sponsored FREE GoGo Internet for about a month on Delta, Virgin Airlines and AirTran.

If I’m not in a rush booking a flight I will definitely opt for the one that offers WiFi. Continuing work and staying connected makes all the difference. So, GoGo has become my friend.

As we continue to move into the future. The demand will grow and there will be a shift in airline mentality. WiFi or no Wifi. Airlines not offering will lose customers who are willing to pay extra for amenities we can not live without.

Southwest airlines along with their 1st and 2nd free checked bags offers WiFi on a large number of flights for $5.00

In 2012, as early as next month! Continental Airlines will add inflight WiFi to over 300 planes and by 2015 the entire fleet of planes will be equipped. I’m looking forward to trying the faster speed offered by Continentals’s partnership with Panasonic Avionics Corporation. Apparently the satellite-based WiFi technology used is MUCH faster than the air to ground connection used by GoGo Inflight Internet Service. And for those of us who fly United, they will be making the switch along with Continental!

As for FREE WiFi, JetBlue is is one of the very few that offers such services. However, the downfall is the limitations. On a longer flight you may not be happy with slower email, light web browsing, and a bit of instant messaging. A little entertainment is nice too! The new satellite-based technology taking over comes complete with higher speeds allowing access of applications such as Netflix or Hulu.

And although we are moving in this direction, I look forward to airline changes where WiFi becomes the norm and FREE service is worked in. Ensuring we don’t miss one bit of our busy lives!

YOU can make a difference! HasWifi is a great resource to find out which flights have WiFi. The data is usually accurate, but you can add input and help keep the data fresh by selecting the carrier and flight number and checking yes or no as to whether your flight had WiFi.

Freshly Connected,

Fresh Wata
Christine

Overcoming Fresh Challenges

Recently I was asked to write about “any challenge we faced this year and how we ultimately overcame it.” Although it would be much sweeter to say “everything is always perfect in the magical world of
Fresh Wata“… I will spill the beans a bit and give you a true heart- pounding scenario that ended up sweeter than ever!

Challenges seem to be inevitable in the ever-changing world of events. At Fresh Wata a smooth execution from start to finish continues to be a nice breath of fresh air… but the reality is, we are always prepared to face and overcome a challenge.
A certain situation comes to mind. Our client ordered a 12ft long customized water feature. Inside the base was 14 acrylic cylinders. Considering the timeline, the fountain was to be set last. Everything else was unloaded and placed, including an array of furniture and our awesome 10ft crystal columns.
Here we are at the very last hour filling the base with water and swiftly pouring river rock and crushed glass. We quickly move the pieces into place while the cylinders are being adorned with gorgeous flowers and floating candles. The result is stunning!
Stepping back we marvel at the masterpiece. Moments of victory suddenly turn to disaster! Our jaws drop as we watch the water quickly suck down like shriveling balloons. Time is of the essence. If our client was to notice the backwards effect, panic could spread like wild fire. A split second of composer is followed by an elaborate effect of team work! We quickly realize that while pouring the rocks some must have hit the cylinders causing small cracks! Hustling, we bring in stronger more capable pumps, spot the near invisible cracks, wipe the areas dry, and seal with epoxy. Minutes later, we top the cylinders with water and maneuver the fine touches as if the accident never happened.
In the end, the client knew nothing and the seal of success was given when she stated β€œIt was the best night of my life!” Once again we exceeded our client’s expectations. But only, because we have an excellent team!

Bring it on! πŸ˜‰

Fresh Wata
Christine

Mmm… Tasty Design Ideas!

Good food goes a long way! (So does the gym right?) I had a recent visit to Top Chef, Stephanie Izards’ restaurant, “Girl and the Goat”. She brought a whole new meaning to dessert and design with her decadent blue cheese gelato with diced green apples and spiced almonds. It was official…I am once again on a food kick! As you know, Fresh Wata spends a lot of time focusing on design; booth design, entrance design, kiosk design, stage design, CAD design, furniture design, but we are also foodies! Today we are hoping you decide to build a Sushi Chandelier, or Lollipop Lamp. We want to focus on exciting ways to sculpt food using interesting materials & structures, adding dimension to a food station that leaves every guest with a memorable palate. We are by no means caterers, but we are experts at pulling together the proper ingredients to a successful event…including the delicacies.

Hand -Crafted Food…

Taking food stations to the next level can be a crowd pleaser. Let food become wall art, slide spoons from a recessed niche or artistic location and create a menu out of a food sculpture. Turn beams info horizontal buffets and arches into an incredible, edible experience.

PIZZERIA LOL!
Chicago will make you think of pizza in a whole new light while you slowly gain 10 lbs deciphering which pizza place is best! After a pizza-tour of Chicago, my favorite thus far is ‘Chicago Pizza & Grinder’ with a menu available to go so you can relax and dine in your taxi. Still hungry? Follow it up with a 64 oz handle of the “Golden Arm” and a mini-pizza from ‘Piece’ in Wicker Park. Visit these 2 spots and you will have all the inspiration you need to create your own ultimate Pizza station. Offering pizza from other cities will be a surefire conversation piece and save your guests the flight of an amazing meal! Start the pizzeria competition and let your guests interact and be the judge of which pie deserves the blue ribbon. Stream live texts to the pizza food station to announce the favorite sauce. Sauce it up, deep dish, jalepenos, honey crust, Italian sausage, white sauce! And, of course for all of you fellow event planners…the most important ingredient…make sure you have a waiter save you a few slices for all your hard work!

Have some cool ideas of your own? Send us your buffet ideas to…and win a PIE on us!

Tricia
Fresh Wata


Touch Screens & Multi Touch Screens

Fresh Wata for everyone!

Touch Screens and Multi Touch Screens totally give the consumer a taste beyond what was capable even a few years ago! With visual outpours such as these sweeping the market; you can see why we think this is most definitely a new event necessity. We absolutely love touch screens!

No longer are kiosks limited in it’s ability to share information. Content is now endless and presented in ways that continuously blow the imagination! Event trade show booths are totally equipped with interactive activations, plugging the consumer in and keeping them hooked for more. It does not stop at event solutions. We are seeing this incorporated more and more with mass transits, airports and store fronts.

Check out this virtual red carpet experience promoting the Academy Oscar Awards:

Interactive OSCAR themed sidewalk display

So this is the next step in advertising! Everything from interactive billboards to virtual environments and information savers. Engaging the guest, making them “part of your world.”

Customization is still key. I am strictly in awe of the customization capabilities! Units are mobile, scalable, comfortable and precise. Entertainment that informs the user with multiple levels of engagement through it’s functionality! This includes but is not limited to; interaction through gesture and touch, video, picture taking, photo manipulation and email capabilities. It overcompensates as entertainment itself as well as high tech decor!

We are big fans of Monster Media. Refreshing in every way! We enjoy the sheer customization of incorporating advanced media solutions by providing unique and innovative ways for visitors to stay connected with you!

Virtually yours,

Fresh Wata
C

Product Showcasing + Meeting Space Transformation!

“No Rigging? No Problem!”

In today’s fast pace competitive market, showcasing your products effectively has and will become an important part of growing your business. And when your inventory and hard goods are presented just right you will reap the benefits of your marvelous display!

Product Showcasing continues to be a vital part of maintaining and attracting clientele. It’s important to stay ahead of the game, continue branding and holding true to what you provide. But what does it really take to stay ahead in this arena?

Let’s face it, times have changed! If we could all just “set up a lemonade stand” with excessive repeat customers, we would. The reality is… technology is booming, competition is real and keeping the interest of your consumers and affiliates takes creativity and design!

In the virtual world you are forced to use your imagination. Products are not as tangible so you must be strategic! Electronic sales demand the full picture. A simple touch to e-commerce such as a 360’degree rotation of your product can make a real difference!

But what about meeting space?

Impression is everything! Even a small space can go a long way when dedicated to powerful product showcasing. Invite your distributers to something “alive” not boring, let them enjoy the time and space while really soaking in the product display.

Recently, Fresh Wata took on a project crunching with time to transform a simple drab meeting space into a unique introductory setting for current and upcoming products!

The entire room was flushed out in white. Carpet, drapes and furniture make for a clean canvas. Crates of product sat outside the door anxiously awaiting placement. White circle shelves serve as the perfect temporary home and plasma televisions are placed in freshly painted kiosks!

Originally, my client and I discussed a whimsical and galactic ceiling display. I quickly realized the rigging capabilities were NONE, so on to plan B!

Plan B:
Create a rigging structure, something that flows and fits nicely above the meeting tables.

Ceilings are low and space is limited. Time was of the essence, so everything is well thought out and without a site visit…fingers are crossed! But of course, it fits perfectly!

Fragile glass balls resembling large clear bubbles are first attached to fishing wire and individually hung, customized all the way!

BRANDING, BRANDING, BRANDING!

Blue is our accent color. Sweet touches of blue throughout signify the company logo! Small shapes representing facets of the organization intertwine with the galactic bubble field. Those same shapes are placed randomly, like on an entry wall, and complimenting the kiosks. And my favorite part, an unexpected touch… sweet fallen stars carefully placed in the center cut-out of the tables. An eye catcher all around!

Something NEW!

And to top it off we created a special area for a new product tasting. Leading to the branded cooler of the “hottest ice cream on the market” was a solid red carpet and flowing red fabric with stanchions. An excellent premier!

With a buzz already chiming, the reward at the end was the face of excited on lookers dying to get a peak of what was behind the doors. With competitors in rooms from left to right, we confirmed the power of the brand by keeping it a secret till those who were invited entered…




Showcasing Fresh Wata,

Christine Bray