Event Staging

Warren Abraham Joins IMS as VP, Business Development

Posted on: April 12th, 2018

GARNET VALLEY, PA — April 12, 2018 – IMS Technology Services, an award-winning provider of event staging and systems integration solutions, is pleased to announce that industry-veteran Warren Abraham has joined IMS as vice president of business development for the event staging division. Abraham has nearly 4 decades of experience in the hospitality and meetings industry, and most recently served as the vice president of account management with PSAV’s Premier Global Events (PGE) Division.

“Warren is a long-time, well-respected member of the meetings and events industry, and we are incredibly fortunate to now have him as part of the IMS team,” said IMS event staging COO Paul Wedesky, CMP, CASE. “Warren brings a very unique skillset to IMS that will play an integral part in helping us achieve our growth and expansion plans.”

Abraham is a member of Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Prior to joining PSAV, he worked in various hotels in Philadelphia and Las Vegas in front office and food and beverage positions during his college years. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Hotel Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“I am looking forward to using my years of event technology and audio visual experience to bring new IMS products and services to the marketplace and expand our client base,” said Abraham. “IMS has built a reputation of quality and commitment to excellence in the events industry, and I am confident in the role I will play in the exciting growth plan IMS has in place.”

With offices in Garnet Valley, PA and Orlando, FL, IMS is an award-winning provider of high quality solutions that are designed to foster collaboration, productivity, learning and business communication with a team of certified technology professionals. A partner for organizations such as American Express, Comcast, Deloitte and KPMG, IMS specializes in audio visual system design, managed services, event staging, video productions, content creation, and projection mapping.

What is Your Plan for Next Generation Meetings?

Posted on: April 5th, 2018

Next Generation Meetings should be on every organizations’ mind as the demographic at events are shifting. I recently read the Goldman Sachs article data story “Millennials” and it made me think about the way this generation… my generation… and younger, will shift the live event industry moving forward.

Fact: Millennials are now the majority. Yes, we are the largest generation in US history and we’re here to stay as our generation is now reaching maturity and peak working years. Millennials at each end of the spectrum are ranging in ages 18-38. This group makes up today’s up-and-comers in every industry.

A key constant of growing up a millennial has been change. So millennials will demand that your events change year over year – adding value to their lives. When planning events, including pre-event communication, information distribution, the on-site experience and post-event experience, consider these criteria.

We are digital native. It’s the language younger generations speak. If you’re not communicating to attendees in this way, you’re speaking the incorrect language. In an effort to maximize face-to-face (F2F) experiences, younger generations want pre-event digital forums and ways to connect with event attendees. They want to know who is attending the event and easy ways to communicate within an event app, site or through social media integration within your event sessions. Also, incorporate ways to keep the conversation going after the event.

Price-to-value feelings have evolved. Younger generations have less disposable income and more debt than prior generations. This group spends “smart” by commoditizing certain products such as music and media streaming, cars or lodging (Sharing Economy). Conversely, they are defying economic theory by paying astronomical prices for technologies such as the iPhone X and experiences like networking or learning conferences. Tim Ferriss, best-selling author with a cult-like millennial following, comments on choosing conferences to attend: “My policy has generally been go to at least one event per year which is the most expensive event you can afford to go to. You’re going to end up with a [better,] smaller crowd.” If you create a valuable experience, you can charge more for your event. To get millennials to believe your message on value, they need to hear from like-minded individuals about your conference.

Experience Driven. Younger generations today spend time and money on experiences that are lasting, rather than on possessions. If your events aren’t 100% focused on creating lasting experiences, enriching content or driving sponsor experience/ROI, then the event is wasting money. Engage with IMS Technology Services to learn of FUN ways to do this through the use of technology.

Wellness. According to Aetna’s 2013 “What’s Your Healthy Survey” there has been a shift in the definition of healthy being “not sick” to today’s view of healthy being defined as a daily commitment to mental wellbeing, balanced diet and exercising. See this article on 7 Ideas to Inspire Wellness at Your Event.

Want to learn more about how to attract Millennials and GenZ? Check out 5 Ways to Attract Millennials & GenZ to Your Event

Article written by Julie Renninger, Director of Sales at IMS.

5 Ways to Attract Millennials & GenZ to Your Event

Posted on: April 5th, 2018

Depending on the source, there are differences about the exact year in which Generation Y, Millennials and Generation Z begin and end, and there is overlap between them. But on average:

  • Generation Y is often defined narrowly as people born in the early 1980’s.
  • Millennials are often defined as those born between the mid-1980’s and 1995-2000. Generation Y and Millennials are often used interchangeably.
  • Generation Z is often defined as “post-millennials,” meaning they were born sometime after 1995-2000 and before now.

Based on these assumptions, today’s 20-somethings are Millennials and GenZ, and they are a very aware, diverse, and global group. They are interested in their surroundings and attracted to making a difference, both professionally and personally. They are changing the way business has always been done because their expectations of the world are different, and this is influencing the behavior of the generations before them. If you are a Generation X, did your parents assimilate into your 1980s culture? Probably not. But, are your parents now assimilating by having smart phones, texting, using social media, and sending you emojis? Probably. That is the impact that GenZ is having on previous generations.

Knowing that Millennials and GenZ have some very high expectations of the world, here are a some of ideas to integrate into your events:

Give Back

Millennials and GenZ have tremendous social awareness, and they believe in charitable causes and going green. Include social activities like packing backpacks for schools or team-building activities like assembling bicycles for underprivileged children.

Peer Involvement

Millennials and GenZ really enjoy working together in groups and crave connectivity (not just the wireless kind). Companies like Google and Apple have developed work spaces that allow people to work collaboratively. Think about initiating “Bring a Work Friend” for younger or first-time attendees at a discounted rate to tap into their need for social connectivity (which also helps you boost attendance and reach).

Bleisure (Business + Leisure)

Millennials and GenZ have a diverse set of interests and behaviors – keeping them trapped in hotel ballrooms all day will typically not be appealing. Bleisure gives attendees an opportunity to explore the city where the event is being held. This can be accomplished through offsite activities and sponsored events at local theatres, museums and other local attractions.

Formal Parties/Events

Believe it or not, this group really enjoys dressing up. Think about reinventing the formal cocktail party or black-tie awards dinner in a way that appeals to this desire, while not alienating the GenX’ers who shelved these types of events.

Social Media

It’s no surprise that Millennials and GenZ are very connected, however integrating the right social media is key. While Facebook and Twitter and a bit dated for this group, Snapchat and Instagram are more inviting. To integrate social media into your next event consider utilizing one of the following services: https://taggbox.com/socialwall/, https://luster.cc/mosaics/, or http://www.livewall.co/features. Not only are you able to get them involved with these services (feeding their need to be connected), but you will be able to track their participation as well (feeding your need for metrics and results!).

Want to learn more about what drives Millennials and GenZ? Check out What is Your Plan for Next Generation Meetings?

Article written by Mark Steinmetz, National Account Manager at IMS.

Improve your Set Design on a Budget

Posted on: April 5th, 2018

When designing your general session, the ballroom is often just a blank canvas waiting to be painted. The challenge many of our clients face is that they want to “wow” their attendees, but can often only afford pipe and drape to dress up the stage. The good news is that there are solutions that can be implemented without breaking the budget. Themes, set pieces and minor lighting upgrades can be designed using a client’s branding, images, and colors to enhance the depth, dimension, and ambiance of the meeting, as well as create brand recognition. With some creative thinking, you can transform your set design from boring to exciting with minimal investment.

PixelFlex

These newer LED digital signage towers give a lot of bang for the buck. They can be stand alone, or they can be networked together to display multiple images/videos or a single stretched image/video. They can be used for sponsorships, directional signage, or most importantly for our purposes here, as cost effective stage elements.

Lightboxes

Lightboxes are custom illuminated graphics hung on a thin aluminum frame and can be used in a number of ways to enhance your set design and branding scheme of the meeting. These can be placed center stage, or used in multiples offset to either side of the stage to highlight a specific product, achievement, anniversary, or graphic of your choice.

Content

One of the most cost effective stage enhancements is one that is often overlooked. By investing more in the content that is going to the general session screens, you can create and alter the ambiance of a room or the overall feel of your meeting. Cohesive color choices in your slides can enhance the branding of an event, or invite emotion into the content. The style in which this information is presented can also have a dramatic effect, whether it is by choosing a more interactive presentation software (Prezi, etc.) or creating a stimulating opening video, these small enhancements can have a big impact on your messaging.

Subwoofers

Not quite a “Scenic” enhancement, but it will certainly help your audience to be more engaged in the presentations. Audiences are much more likely to pay attention to the content on-stage if they can feel the music and sounds that complement the messaging.

Up-Lighting

Simple and effective. LED lights can be dialed in to almost any branding scheme (no grayscale or brown) to create depth and dimension against almost any surface. While flat surfaces (drape, walls, fabric) are the most used elements to benefit from up-lighting, unique venue features, truss and the items mentioned below can incorporate up-lighting to great effect. This is also an inexpensive upgrade that will dramatically improve the look of any video recording.

Intelligent / Ambient Lighting

Much like the awards shows you see on TV, having lights move around the room in sync with music can create a celebratory environment. Intelligent and ambient lighting can reflect the mood of the event and increase the excitement level with your attendees. These lights can also be programmed to do specific movements, and incorporate patterns and images to make the room and your branding feel a little more immersive.

Gobos

Custom lighting display that projects an image onto a surface. Company logos, branding images or text can be created to enhance brand recognition. Gobos can be created in black and white, or full color. Black and white gobos are an excellent option for thrifty branding upgrades.

Furniture

Creating a “talk-show” or “fireside chat” scene on-stage can completely change the dynamic of a session and help engage your attendees. Leather chairs, coffee and cocktail tables, white leather couches are all great options to enhance the stage look and also your attendees’ experience by making them feel like they are part of the conversation.

Upgraded Podiums

Much of the meeting’s focus is placed on the presenter, so why not have the podium be something a little more exciting? Clear lucite helps a presenter be closer to the audience, acrylic white or ScyTower podiums allow for a surface to be lit with LEDs, or you can use an LCD podium to display custom logos and messages digitally.

Decorative Truss Towers

Plain truss on-stage may serve a purpose of supporting other set elements, but it can look industrial. By dressing truss with Moddim panels, you can create a fully custom stage look using modular panels on a budget. An old tried and true alternative is to dress white spandex “socks” and lighting them with LED lights from inside, you can create colorful displays out of a regular support beam. If industrial fits the theme of your meeting, plain truss with up-lights can also achieve a special effect.

Modular / Fabric Stage Sets

Pre designed and modular stage sets allow for easy setup and dramatic effect to improve the overall look of a stage. They can be used in conjunction with an events theme and help create stage depth and dimension. Acrylic panels, modular cubes, “monolith” displays and non-linear “sharkfins” or “leaves” are just a few of the elements to choose from that can be lit in any color, or be used as a display surface. As an extremely budget conscious option, stretched spandex between truss is a tried and true alternative.

For examples of the options listed above, check out the IMS Scenic Design Portal which allows you to search for custom designs based on the size of your meeting.

Article written by Jonathan Little, IMS National Account Manager.

IMS Announces New Team Members

Posted on: April 2nd, 2018

We are pleased to announce that BJ Strote and Warren Abraham have joined the IMS team.

BJ Strote joins IMS as a National Account Manager, Event Staging and will be based in Chicago. BJ comes to IMS with 13 years of large event production experience, including hundreds of events produced across the U.S. ranging in size from 5 people to 250,000 people. He specializes in program and production development with an expertise in event technologies. In his words, “there is nothing quite like bringing back the lost art of customer service which begins with hearing a client’s purposes/goals/needs and ends with excellence in event delivery.” BJ earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business/economics from Wheaton College. BJ comes to IMS after 7 years with Encore Event Technologies, a Freeman Company.

Warren Abraham joins us as our new VP of Business Development, Event Staging. Warren’s first exposure to the meetings and events industry was at the age of 13 when his dad had him work a registration desk. His first hotel job came at 18 when he become a busboy at Philadelphia Marriott Hotel’s Kings Wharf. While working at the Marriott, Warren earned an associate degree in hotel administration from Brandywine College in Wilmington, DE. He continued his education at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) were he earned a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration. After graduation, Warren began working at Bauer Audio Visual, which, through various acquisitions, is now PSAV. Warren returns to his Philadelphia roots at IMS, after spending 35 years with PSAV where he held several positions, including account manager, sales manager, branch general manager, regional vice president, and Vice President of Account Management with PSAV’s Premier Global Events (PGE) Division.

IMS Technology Services and Alliance Exposition Services Announce Partnership

Posted on: March 21st, 2018

This partnership will provide a single point of contact for
event production and tradeshow management.

GARNET VALLEY, PA — March 21, 2018 – IMS Technology Services, an award-winning provider of event staging and systems integration solutions, and Alliance Exposition Services, the only Nationwide General Service Contractor (GSC), focusing exclusively on smaller to mid-size events, today announced a new partnership to provide a single point of contact for managers of small to mid-sized shows to coordinate all event audio visual and production needs as well as show and exhibitor management services.

Providing one point of contact to coordinate all event production and show management details allows IMS and Alliance to expand upon their commitments to provide personal attention and a dedicated team, allowing clients to save time, eliminate learning curves, and create more compelling events.

The tradeshow management market typically focuses on the large and mega shows that fill convention centers, leaving a professional show management void for smaller shows that can fit into a ballroom but need the same services. IMS works with many of these clients and is well-positioned to bring this needed service to those shows. Alliance clients will benefit from the addition of an experienced production team that will streamline and enhance all event audio visual, production, creative, and content services.

“We have changed the model for show management by providing dedicated account teams and making strategic inventory decisions that make general service contractor services affordable for small to medium shows. Our partnership with IMS will add high-quality, state-of-the-art event production services that will elevate the experience of the entire show, both for the show manager and show attendees,” said Mark Yuska, president of Alliance Exposition Services.

“IMS is thrilled to enter into a preferred partnership with Alliance Exposition Services. Alliance and IMS have a very similar approach to the industry; to treat the small show with a big show mentality,” said Paul Wedesky, CASE, CMP, chief operating officer of IMS. “We will work together as one team to provide everything needed to seamlessly support show management teams.”

About Alliance Exposition Services

Founded by Mark Yuska in 2008, Alliance Exposition Services is currently the only Nationwide General Service Contractor (GSC), focusing exclusively on smaller to mid-size events. Alliance is dedicated to helping show organizers and exhibitors achieve their goals and maximize return on investment by providing easy access to cost-effective, high-quality service. Alliance is based in Sterling, VA with offices throughout the US and a central Europe office in the UK. Learn more at www.alliance-exposition.com.

About IMS Technology Services

With offices in Garnet Valley, PA and Orlando, FL, IMS is an award-winning provider of high quality solutions that are designed to foster collaboration, productivity, learning and business communication with a team of certified technology professionals. A partner for organizations such as American Express, Comcast, Deloitte and KPMG, IMS specializes in audio visual system design, managed services, event staging, video productions, content creations and projector mapping. Learn more at www.imsts.com.

IMS Expands Orlando Office

Posted on: March 6th, 2018

IMS Technology Services, a six-time INC 5000 Fastest Growing Company honoree and award-winning provider of event staging and systems integration solutions, is pleased to announce the expansion of our Orlando, Florida office.

“Our expanded Southeast Regional office will help us to continue serve our clients nationally, as well as support all IMS clients with events in Florida and the surrounding states. IMS will deliver creative, innovative solutions to our clients and expand IMS’s operational footprint.” said IMS COO Paul Wedesky, CASE, CMP. “With the expansion of the office, we have also hired a team of experienced professionals to ensure that clients receive the outstanding level of service and professionalism that they have come to expect from IMS.”

The new IMS team members in Orlando are:

Dieter Burgoa, CMP – Director of Sales

Dieter Burgoa, CMP is a passionate AV and production leader with nearly 20 years of sales, operations, and hospitality experience. He has excelled in operations, sales and leadership roles for PSAV, where he spent 8 years in Mexico and 6 years in Orlando. Dieter is a Certified Meeting Professional and holds a BA in Electronic and Communications Engineering from UIA in Mexico City. He has been active member of MPI since 2008, and has served on the board of directors for both the Mexico and Orlando chapters.

Freda Agner – Senior Project Manager

Freda Agner brings 21 years of audio visual and project management experience to IMS. She has maintained long-term relationships across North America with hosting venues, technology vendors and talented experts in the AV industry during her career. Career highlights include being awarded the technology and AV rental contract for The World Symposium of Endometriosis (4000 physicians attending, representing 39 states and 41 countries) which was internationally broadcast and webcast via satellite up/down link featuring incoming and outgoing video conferencing from Tennessee, California and Italy. This was flawlessly executed to educate the attending clientele and over 2000 virtual attendees about the advancement in Women’s Health and surgery techniques. Freda’s specialties include large-scale conferences, tradeshows, corporate events, associations and multiple location training efforts, with a proven track record of managing sophisticated, concurrent programs.

Stephanie Willingham – Event Staging Technician

Stephanie hails from Georgia and attended Georgia State University before she was accepted for an internship with the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts. After the completion of her internship, Stephanie attended the Art Institute of Seattle for Video Production, where she worked as a student ambassador and teaching assistant until she graduated with honors in 2008. She received national recognition on two of her demo reel videos which were used to recruit future students. Stephanie spent at 8 years at Walt Disney World, holding iconic roles like being a Jungle Cruise Skipper, Haunted Mansion maid, and Kilimanjaro Safari Guide before moving on to a leadership role in Fantasyland to help open the world’s largest theme park expansion, new Fantasyland. In 2015, Stephanie accepted a position with PSAV to return to her technical roots. Stephanie comes to IMS with extensive experience in large general sessions, and is excited to bring this experience to IMS clients through her role as an event staging technician in Orlando.

“The expansion of our office in Orlando was a key component of our growth plan,” said IMS principal John Renninger. “Orlando is the first in a series of new office locations that are part of not only our strategic growth plan, but also a reflection of our commitment to building the best culture for our team. A network of offices across the country will allow us to be more efficient in supporting and staffing projects and provide a better balance of home versus travel time for our team.”

Philadelphia Eagles Victory Parade

Posted on: February 9th, 2018

IMS Technology Services was proud to support the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl Victory Parade on Thursday, February 8, 2018. Fly Eagles Fly!

6 Reasons to Consider A Content Management System

Posted on: February 5th, 2018

Maybe you’ve heard of the internet and intranet, but have you heard of a “sneakernet”?

That’s the term for when data is transferred by physically moving storage media, like a USB drive. Sometimes it’s faster to physically carry a hard drive from one location to another than try to transfer it over a network. (In one September 2009 test, a messenger pigeon carrying a 4 GB memory stick over 60 miles was faster than a DSL internet service provider).

Thankfully in the case of meetings, presenters don’t usually have PowerPoint files that are several terabytes. So why do many big events still have presenters physically carrying a USB drive to their session room? Here are some reasons to consider an event content management system, or what some call speaker concierge services.

Connect speaker ready room to session rooms

The most basic feature of event content management systems is that presenters or staff can load presentations in the ready room or elsewhere, and the files are immediately available in session rooms.

Instant and universal updates

Should an update need to be made after files are uploaded, a change in one place means the file is updated anywhere you access it on the network.

Collect and confirm

Files can be validated / checked for errors by default when they are uploaded. If your organization has required disclosures and agreements in place, the system can make sure that they are signed before presentations may be uploaded.

Display info on digital signage

Information entered into the platform can be used to drive digital signage – the displays can sync and change as often as room presentations do, displaying info like presenter name, picture, and presentation title.

Session recording

Event content management systems can be used for slide capture and audio recording.

Online library

With a content management system you have a digital archive of the materials collected – potentially presentations, abstracts and captured lectures. Content is searchable and can be used for CME accreditation / eLearning. Where appropriate, content may also be monetized.

An event content management system allows for a single tool to manage content before, during and after your event. If any of these features sound appealing talk with your AV partner for more information and recommendations!

Article written by Greg Kamprath, National Account Manager for IMS Technology Services

Changing Your Mindset

Posted on: February 5th, 2018

“Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

We’ve all heard the adaptation of Henry Ford’s famous quote about self-belief. It applies wonderfully to an array of topics, and as live event/marketing professionals, it is quite important to our individual (and greater) successes. Personally, I see it in action all day every day.

Every day we make decisions that affect the outcome of the day, positively or negatively. We choose to believe in ourselves and our abilities, or we don’t. Either way, you are correct. But in that, we all have the capability to change our outcomes, and change the outcomes of our events. I’ve found that the basis for our ability to influence our outcomes stems from our individual mindsets. If we are positive, believe in our own abilities, take accountability for our actions, and put out a good effort – odds are that is the reality you are going to find in the world. Similarly, if you are negative, find fault, and blame others, you’ll get caught up in a cycle that perpetuates those feelings and actions.

You may question “I am on a team of people with different personalities and agendas, how does that affect me?” It’s simple. The positivity you put out is infectious. It is a rallying point, and you attract the “vibes” you are putting off. You get what you put in, reap what you sow, get what you give … no matter how you say it, it effects everyone around you. If you have the self-confidence to believe in yourself (and your event/team/etc), those around you will feed off of it.

Recently, my company hosted our annual “kickoff” event. The keynote speaker was John Foley, of the famed “Blue Angels.” John’s entire message was simple, you are in control of your own person – to own your thoughts and actions, and be a better member of your team (business, community, etc). Part of John’s message was to promote positivity and gratitude to influence yourself and others. At the crux of his message was this moniker; “Glad to be Here.” Glad to be Here was the token phrase of the Blue Angels, they used it as an affirmation time and time again. It was to interrupt negative patterns, and reinforce good ones. At the core of Glad to be Here was gratitude led to happiness, happiness led to performance, high performance led to success, and so on. His enthusiasm and energy were infectious – not only to our team, but the many people he talked of and met before us. He was shaping our mindset for success.

Working in live events, you can see how a mindset can affect things around it. We know adversity is going to happen, often. What happens in the face of adversity will determine successes, or failures, of your events. How do we react to change? How do we influence our surroundings, rather than our surroundings controlling us? We start by ourselves, by changing our own mindset, because if we do, others follow, and so does success.

Article written by James Coughlin, National Account Manager for IMS Technology Services

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