EIBTM, an exhibition for the incentive, business travel, and meeting industry, is in its sixth year sponsoring the Worldwide Technology Watch, a competition to find the most innovative new technology in the meeting industry. The 2005 winner is a 3-D room-diagramming software called Vivien that hopes to change the way that event designers communicate ideas to clients and suppliers.
Launched last spring by Cast Software, Toronto (www.cast-soft.com), Vivien allows meeting and event space designers to render realistically all the elements of an event setup, including tables, chairs, stages and podiums, linens, lighting, audiovisual equipment, etc., in a 3-D meeting room built to match the actual space, depicting windows, doors, architectural elements, carpet color, wall color, and so on. The virtual room can be viewed from various angles and manipulated to reflect changes in lighting, seating, linen color, etc. The equipment inventory is tracked, and detailed floor plans and layouts, in two or three dimensions, can be shared electronically.
Carol Moxam, CSEP, CSEM, president of Eventedge, a Toronto-based special event company, orchestrated her first event using Vivien in early October, and is enthusiastic about the results. Replacing traditional 2-D floor plans and renderings with a 3-D model of the event space, in this case an unusual train roundhouse with high windows, ensured that her client and other players in the planning process, such as lighting, decor, entertainment, AV providers, and the venue, all had the same concept in mind. “It was amazingly realistic,” Moxam said. “It actually allowed you to see the reflections of the tables on the windows.” Vivien also revealed, early on, the limitations of the space. “It generated accuracy,” she said. Moxam, who describes her self as nontechnical, says the system took time to learn, but that she's not looking back. “We've been waiting for something like this for a long time.”
Vivien was among 30 entries in the WWTW competition this year. They were judged on their innovation/uniqueness, impact on the meeting industry, and completeness of concept. Six finalists were also recognized:
Travent and American Express released Meetingview Express, a solution combining OnVantage, an online planning and spend management product for events, and the American Express Corporate Meeting Card. www.travent.com
Ambassadors LLC produced an enterprisewide workflow system to help planners manage meetings through a full life cycle. The system captures meeting and performance objectives, plans, and budgets. www.ambassadors.com
Laser Registration was noted for a number of innovative Radio Frequency Identification developments for meetings. www.laser-registration.com
The Convention Industry Council's APEX Meetings Templates are designed to improve communication between planners and suppliers, and are hoped to lead to electronic standards. www.conventionindustry.org
Expocad Smart Draw combines Web and database technology with smart board technology to provide an interactive environment for on-site exhibit space selection. www.expocad.com
Spotlightmobile allows exhibitors to showcase products and services on mobile devices while capturing detailed lead information. These PDAs can display full-motion video, stereo audio, and more. www.spotlightmobile.com