As we all know, dealing with last minute disasters is a common occurrence during event planning. Luckily, events can still be successful when planners come together and think of creative solutions behind the scenes.
In the seventh episode of the Aventri Affinity Podcast series, we are joined by Brandon Wernli, global event technology lead for Cisco Live, as he shares not only his philosophy when dealing with technology hiccups at events, but how he went from coordinating events in college to implementing the latest and greatest technology for Cisco.
Check out a few excerpts from Brandon's interview and download the full episode below!
What was one of the first events that you helped plan that made you think "wow, maybe this is something I want to do for the rest of my life"?
I think it was watching how cutting-edge technology can facilitate a conference or event, as well as change the lives of event managers and attendees; seeing how it makes their lives easier and connects people more seamlessly. With technology, the sky's the limit if you can dream it. That's what's fun - getting those creative juices flowing and figuring how to take several tools from a tool box together in order to create a unique deployment and make the lives of planners and attendees better. That's what's really inspired me so far and I really enjoy it.
Is there an event that stands out to you where you took a bunch of best-of-breed technologies and put them together to create an unique experience?
I wouldn't say there was one event in particular, more like a series of experiences that involved putting together the pieces to create a whole solution. One of the things I learned though, is that stuff happens. There's always going to be a problem regardless of where I'm at and what I'm doing. With technology there's always a bug that surprises you at the eleventh hour, there's always an issue that you didn't expect. But there's also always a solution, you just have to keep fighting through to find it. I think events have a tendency to force you think outside the box quite a bit. If you can have that tenacity, it may not be perfect, but you'll find a solution that works.
With that in mind, are there any examples of, let's say, events where everything went south and where you and your team had to think really creatively, quickly?
This was a semi-technical issue that happened when we tried out RFID/NFC cards for the first time at an event. We had inserted the cards into plastic badge holders, and the way the event worked was attendees with longer badge holders got meals during the event and the shorter ones mean you didn't. The shorter badges were typically associated with walk-ins and we had more than we expected while onsite. It was too late to order more, so we ended up pulling the team together and we thought to take extra large badge holders, snip them in half and punch a hold in the corners to make them essentially look like the shorter ones. And it ended up working fine. Like I said, it wasn't perfect, but you have to use what you got and tweak it in a time of need.