Tag Archives: Trends

Talking Back at Conferences

A recent story in Biz Bash reports on new research from the International Association of Conference Centers. Among the more intriguing findings is how 80 percent of meeting respondents say access to interactive technology is going to become more important in the next five years. An astounding 92 percent of respondents say their dependency on wi-fi will continue to increase in the next three to five years.

Among the important meeting venue elements that event planners and producers will be focused on is leveraging the latest technologies to enhance the real-life attendee experience for live event audience participation.

For example, the article notes there is increased use of apps like Crowd Mics, which turn attendee smartphones into microphones, Convenient sure, but apps like this also take up enormous swaths of wi-fi speed when you have hundreds, or even thousands, of attendees downloading and using it simultaneously.

As we constantly strive to incorporate an easy-to-use interface for the comfort and benefit of our client’s attendees, we have embraced a more controllable technology for the execution of live event Q&As — namely Catch Box. This is essentially a high-quality mic that is housed in a soft, “Nerf” like device that literally can be tossed around the audience.

Catch Box allows for insertion of industry standard wireless microphone belt packs and microphones, and the inherent portability of being able to toss or throw the device to attendees reigning their hands with questions. With this technology, we can control the quality, volume, and selectivity needed for the attendees and executives on the receiving end, while maintaining some of the flexibility inherent with the phone app option.  We can easily brand these soft, devices with client or event logo branding. The Catch Box technology is particularly beneficial when the meetings are webcast or streamed and the quality of the spoken word can be greatly improved by using professional audio elements, rather than random phone microphone quality. In addition, the amount of bandwidth needed for a sizeable audience when using the phone App is negated with the use of the Catch Box units.”

Read the entire Biz Bash story here: https://www.bizbash.com/report-what-planners-want-now-in-meeting-rooms/los-angeles/story/34262

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A Chat With Jon Haworth, Senior Technical Director

Jon Haworth has seen it all at Riverview. Beginning his career in 1995 as a truck driver, and after just two months found himself quickly promoted to video tech, which led to his current role as Senior Technical Director overseeing show management, involving the delicate balancing act of properly allocating the company’s vast technical, creative staffing resources, as well as basic account management, making sure clients are happy with the final result.

As Haworth notes, “The best part of working here is that there’s always something new to learn. Riverview is on the leading-edge in investing in new technology because it is important for our clients that we stay on the forefront so we can make the right recommendations. We’re also rich in our internal resources. I’m proud of the fact that a lot of those folks have been with us for a long time. That says a lot about CEO Evan Williams and the culture he’s created.”

And like so many other Riverview team members, in his spare time Jon is a musician (a bass player to be exact) and when he’s not managing the plethora of client demands he can be found performing (one gig was at Williams’ daughter’s wedding in 2016), or mountain biking in the great outdoors of Northern California or whatever far-flung location his job takes him.

 

Q: Your business card says Senior Technical Director. What does that actually entail?

JH: Well, in the industry a technical director is responsible for all aspects of production. I consider myself more of a resource manager making sure that all of the departments involved in a project have the equipment and personnel that they need, and clients get the deliverables that they have requested.

My job is also inclusive of account management duties, and for larger Riverview productions can even take on more of an account exec role in concert with other account managers and technical directors. I’m often involved with the first client call, all the way through the delivery of the show cycle. We’ve always had a very personal approach to account management here at Riverview. We each have our own cadre of clients that expect to see our smiling faces on site and be on every phone call.

 

Q: You’ve been with Riverview since 1995. How has technology impacted your job?

JH: It’s ironic because we’re a tech-heavy company but for me, personally my cell phone, which is an Android by choice because I do most of my work with Google apps, and my laptop are the technology I need most in order to do my job. There are always customers that are looking for what is the latest and greatest so I need to keep abreast of the latest live event technology advances so I can make the right recommendations to clients and have knowledge about how all the systems work together. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a team of talented people here at Riverview who have their brains firmly wrapped around the technology.

 

Q: Given that you’re often the first point of contact for clients who may not be familiar with the technology that goes into live event production. Is it a challenge for you to interpret what they’re looking for into actual deliverables?

 JH: Oh yeah, that’s sort of the bread and butter of the job. The client may or may not have a strong technical background but they know what they want to see. Since there are very few ‘money is no object’ clients, my job boils down to translating their vision into a technology solution, whether it’s scenic lighting, audio, video, etc., and setting expectations within budget realities to deliver a fantastic result.

 

Q: So what is a typical day like for you?

JH: There is no such thing here at Riverview as a typical day. On a day-to-day basis, I am either working a project, interacting with a client, managing a budget, working with our internal resources on staffing, hiring freelancers as necessary, and managing union labor, which can be complex depending on the location. Internally, I’m often collaborating with our creative services team to develop the technical requirements for a particular show. It’s crucial we allocate resources correctly, which can be a challenge because the creative services team isn’t necessarily focused on the bottom line. My role often is a continual right-sizing exercise between technology and budget.

 

Q: Was there a client or project recently that was particularly challenging for you?

JH: ServiceNow is a good example of a challenge from an account management perspective. During the time we were working on this complex show, the client had a number of new decision makers coming aboard and throughout we would need to address their concerns and work through multiple designs and budget revisions. There were a number of last-minute changes that we needed to execute from all the way across the country in Orlando, Fl. To pull it off took a Herculean effort involving most of our staff, a freelance team working as well as the client’s own producers and staff. It was six months worth of challenges but the show ended up being wildly successful. The client called it their best sales kickoff ever.

 

Q: What are your clients looking for today? Are you seeing any trends?

JH: I’m not sure if I’d call it a trend but more and more clients like eBay and Intuit have come to us to equip their own conference facilities and produce shows on their campus’ that combine our technology and theirs. Of course, we have many clients who always want us to push the edge to come up with a unique, never seen before production plan whether it is in how the stage is designed or using the latest LED or projection mapping technology. I would say if there’s any trend, it’s that event managers are smarter and more sophisticated about project execution, planning, and the latest technology, so, we always have to stay one step ahead.

 

Q: I understand you’re one of the many musicians at Riverview. What’s your musical background?

JH: I am a bass player. Our band plays mostly covers and a handful of originals. We make some vain attempt to be danceable because we mostly play parties of one kind or another. One of our best gigs was playing at Evan’s daughter Abbie’s wedding. A little-known fact is that Evan grabbed the microphone and sang a song by Cheap Trick for his new son-in-law. He did a bang-up job.

 

Q: Outside of the office, any other hobbies besides music?

JH: My passions are mountain biking, music, family — not necessarily in that order. Family comes first, but we have more than a full-time job at Riverview – for me, it’s more like a family at the job.

 

Q: Any new music, TV show, movie or book that you’re a fan of?

JH: Outside of work, there is almost a constant soundtrack playing – the age of internet radio and my personal music library being available wherever I am (on whatever device), allows me to pursue my favorite thing in life: Variety. Currently in a high rotation is music by Hiromi Uehara, Mike Ness, Floater and Nathaniel Rateliffe.

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Evan Williams Receives StudioDaily 50 Award at NAB 2017

LAS VEGAS, NV – April 25, 2017 — At an awards presentation held at the 2017 NAB Show, Evan Williams, CEO/Co-Founder of Riverview Systems Group, Inc., Milpitas, Calif., was named a StudioDaily 50 award honoree. The award sponsored by StudioDaily – the leading news site for independent filmmakers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, visual effects and motion graphics artists and a wide array of technologists working in production and post – honors a cross section of influential creative professionals whose leadership exemplifies innovative thinking.

Riverview Systems Group is the award-winning full-service provider of engaging and innovative live events that specializes in the rental, sale, design, installation and implementation of lighting, sound and video systems for corporate, retail, museum and educational markets.

According to Bryant Frazer, editor, StudioDaily, the magazine’s editorial team asked for nominations and also did their own sleuthing to create a list that recognizes excellence across the board, from high-end feature filmmaking to ground-level B2B productions, in a variety of disciplines.

Evan Willaims, CEO, Riverview Systems Group

“The StudioDaily 50 pays tribute to creatives, technologists, executives and others who exemplify the boundary-pushing spirit of innovation that drives our industry forward in their day-to-day work. In that spirit, we’re delighted to honor Evan’s contributions by including him in this year’s StudioDaily 50 list,” Frazer said.

With 30 years and counting under its belt, Riverview Systems Group is known for its creative and technical service support of corporate events, trade and award shows in the video, audio, and lighting disciplines, and has been the recipient of numerous industry awards including an Infocomm/L&SA Magazine Staged Event Award in both 2010 and 2011. Evan holds a Bachelors degree in Accounting and Finance, as well as Theatre Technology, and a Master’s degree in Lighting Design and Theatre Technology. In addition, he is a member of IATSE and an adjunct member of Infocomm’s Rental and Staging Council, and has been the Production Director on the PLASA Board of Directors since 2009; and held faculty and staff positions at Indiana University, as well as San Jose State University, continuing the growth and evolution of the entertainment industry through education.

Additionally, Evan has designed over 600 Theatrical and Industrial productions since 1982, and has been the Production Stage Manager for events such as the DGA Honors, the Gotham Awards for Bravo Television and the Opening ceremonies for the premiere of the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002.

“I’m delighted to be among this year’s honorees of the StudioDaily 50 award,” said Williams. “For the past thirty years Riverview has strived to deliver innovation on every level — from our technology to our talented staff — and I’m pleased to accept this award on behalf of the entire Riverview Systems Group team.”

A profile of Williams and the other StudioDaily 50 list of award winners is now available here.

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Sneak Peak At Latest Barco Technology

I recently had the good fortune of spending an amazing week in Tahoe with our friends from Barco who previewed their latest projection and visualization technology including razor-sharp 4K UDX Laser Projectors, which offer stunning experiences in terms of color, resolution, and processing, combined with savings on installation, shipping time and asset management.

At Riverview, we continually strive to stay on top of A/V trends, and the UDX solution is impressive. Particularly exciting is the introduction of short-throw right-angle lenses for the HDX and UDX platform. In my opinion, the two new lenses, a fixed 37mm, and a .65 – .85 zoom are game changers.  

The technology is not what we have seen previously, where the short-throw is based on direct mirror bounce, but rather a true 90° right angle pair of lenses. This allows the ability to stack redundant back-ups, and place your large-venue projectors at distances never before imagined in a short throw environment.

The geometry and range of lens shift we witnessed were truly spectacular.  

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Spring 2016 Event Production Trends

You hear it all the time, content is king.  No surprise there, but more often this year than ever before content is driving production design, rather than the other way around.  Clients demand wide aspect ratios and display technologies to fit with their content desires and formats, and we as content providers have to muster the design acumen and technologies to make it happen.

So what are the current trends for the live event production industry? Here are a few that we’re seeing.

LED technology:  As LED light sources get brighter and more consistent, it won’t be long before our lighting inventory, both automated and conventional, will all be LED-based.  ETC [RE1] just released their retrofit LED engine for the Source 4 Ellipsoidal spotlight, the industry standard in conventional profile fixtures, and while it’s not as bright as we would all like it to be, yet, it’s a welcome solution to convert our vast inventory of Source 4’s to LED technology sooner than later.  I expect that by 2018 sometime, our entire lighting inventory, numbering some 800 units, will all be LED driven.

Event Execution: For clients, great concepts are one thing but executing is quite another. More and more, we are welcoming clients to the Riverview fold who have been referred to us by their colleagues because of our reputation for extreme execution and event satisfaction.  Regularly we will get a call or an email from someone we don’t know who wants to talk about their client’s needs and how we can help them be successful.

High fiber media diet: Up until recently, the use of fiber technology to distribute signal paths has been primarily used in the IT and video disciplines, and often for permanent installation and systems integration solutions.  In the last year or two at most, it has become an almost ubiquitous technology for distributing high resolution video signals long distances to projectors and LED walls, as well as transmitting hundreds of pristine audio channels via the Dante protocol and enabled hardware. Now in 2016 we see regular use of fiber networks to distribute production lighting system protocols across a whole venue to support multiple universes of DMX, RDM, and Artnet protocols.  All of the disciplines using fast, efficient light pipe networks, and we now provide it all.

These are just some of the trends we are seeing, but there are certainly more that have the potential to drive our business in new and exciting ways in 2016, such as increased use of mobile apps that tie into events, multi-channel live streaming to global audiences and increasingly more conceptual/creative service demands. We are also encouraged by the Inc. Magazine research that includes dozens of exhibition and event industry suppliers in its list of the fastest growing privately owned companies in the country in 2015, signaling overall steady growth in the industry.

It will be interesting to watch as these trends unfold as the year progresses. What trends are you seeing?

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