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top-quarkWe recently had the chance to sit down and learn a little more about a new event tool that’s making a big splash. Check out the interview recap and (better yet), try the tool! If you have more questions, join us for a tweetchat at 12pm EST on Wed. Nov. 30th (that’s today!). We’ll be using #PLANTECH to chat about it! Check them out on Twitter and their website!

Please tell the readers a little bit about Top Quark.
Top Quark is a professional web development shop specializing in WordPress plugins for conferences and festivals. Our client base includes music festivals, industry conference associations and event planning businesses, representing Canada, US, Australia and European markets. The president and founder of Top Quark is Trevor Mills. He chose the name based on his love of quantum physics, which he studied in university. A quark is a fundamental particle (like an electron) and the top quark is the most celebrated of the six quarks (the others being bottom, up, down, strange & charm). The goal of Top Quark is not only to provide great software, but also to provide direct, friendly and prompt service. All lines of communication lead back to Trevor, so customers get informed answers and solutions to any issues that come up. That direct line also means an open ear to feature and customization requests. We are a small business and enjoy building a personal relationship with all of our customers. We are passionate about WordPress and mobile apps and love finding interesting ways to marry the two.

What does Top Quark help planners do better?
Every event has a schedule and a list of speakers they wish to highlight. An event planner needs to get that information into the hands of attendees efficiently and effectively. The great thing about the Top Quark approach is that the schedule and speaker information resides on your own site - you have complete control over the data. Information gets entered once and then gets published both to your website (for people browsing on the desktop) and also to a mobile app (wow factor for attendees during the actual event). The Top Quark solution is a suite of WordPress plugins. If you don’t already have a WordPress site for your event, it is notoriously easy to set one up and Top Quark is available to help with that process. The suite of plugins includes The Conference Plugin (for managing the schedule/speaker data and publishing to the desktop site); The Conference App (for instantly creating a mobile web app with your event information); Sponsors (easily create different sponsorship levels and upload logos); and My Conference Schedule (allow your attendees to bookmark sessions and speakers and create their custom schedule)

Who is the ideal user of Top Quark? What kinds of events?
Any multi-day, multi-discipline, multi-talented event can benefit from using Top Quark for publishing their schedule & speaker information. The Top Quark approach is flexible and customizable to suit any event. Our ideal customer is a savvy event planner looking to provide a mobile app for their event to attendees.

How is Top Quark different from the competition?
All Top Quark plugins are released under the GPL, meaning they are open source. That means that developers are allowed to use, alter, extend and do just about anything else to the code, free of restriction. We are not aware of any other event app solution that is open source. Also, our software works within WordPress, a web platform that is ridiculously easy to use and likely already familiar to many event planners. Because the Top Quark plugins also render the schedule and speaker information to a desktop website, an event planner only needs to maintain their complicated data in one place, instead of having to upload again to a third party provider. We’ve made it even easier by allowing that data to be maintained and uploaded in a master Excel spreadsheet.

What is the single coolest feature?
It’s a small thing, but including the event’s Twitter feed in the app is as simple as entering in the desired search on the settings page. I personally love checking that feed from right within the app to see what’s being talked about and who is making waves. Another cool feature is that the app will work offline, meaning it actually gets downloaded onto the person’s device and can be accessed even when not connected to the internet. Great for someone travelling by plane to the event as it allows them to browse the entire schedule even as their phone is in airplane mode.

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It’s almost here! Less than a week from now, PlannerTech will take place in the great city of Washington, DC. Registration is now open. Use the code PTDC to save $5!

REGISTER TO ATTEND

When: December 6th, 2011 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Where: TOWN DC - 2009 8th St. NW, Washington DC

In anticipation of the event, I wanted to give you a sneak peak of what to expect… PlannerTech is a little different than any other event out there in the industry. Modeled after a start-up pitch contest, the first portion of the event is a technology showcase, where the companies will each get 4 minutes to present to the audience. The showcase is followed by a networking segment, where attendees will get to mingle, meet the presenters and play with all the technologies.We have ten amazing companies coming to present this time (including the first public look of imbookin!). Some even travelling all the way from Seattle, Washington and the Netherlands! Among the presenters there will be varying technologies showcases including an event community platform, mobile event guides and management apps, a reward/gaming platform, and more! All these technologies are focused on ways event planners can integrate into both the planning and execution of their events.

The showcase will also have a rocking emcee, Josh Norris, who will be sure to keep the crowd pumped up, the presenters on track, and the live stream audience entertained.

Lots more exciting stuff will be happening at the event so make sure you come out and join us!

Follow us on twitter (@plannertech) and at #plantech to stay up to date on all the info.

What are you waiting for?

Register to attend the live event in DC.

Register to watch the live stream.

Check out the presenters.

Meet our planning and advisory team.

Contact us if you are interested in volunteering at planningteam@plannertech.com.

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pathableLogo-fullUnless you live under a rock, you’re probably familiar with social media tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Foursquare and more. Public social networking has revolutionized the way we share content and connect with our peers. However, there are pitfalls to these tools that should be considered carefully as you create your event’s social media plan.

1. Public social networking has limited, shared branding. Your event page on LinkedIn or Facebook may have your logo as big as the moon, but it is still sharing valuable branding with the site it’s hosted on.
2. These tools can drive attendees away from your website. You’ve put all this effort into creating a dynamic event website, and pushing attendees toward public social networking tools moves them away from your content and branding.
3. Facebook and LinkedIn own the relationship with your attendees, not you. Because all of the content and data is owned by these social networking tools, they have control over that relationship, and can market to your attendees for years to come.
4. Beware the Clash of the Personas. Everyone has a variety of different sides to who they are: Family Persona, Party Persona and Career Persona, to name a few. Public social networking tools roll all of these personas up together, making it hard to put forward a professional networking face when it matters.
5. Public social networking tools don’t offer event specific functionality. Sure, you can create a static event page, but what attendees want are tools like an online conference agenda, private meetings and a virtual tradeshow floor map. You won’t find those on Facebook.

Are you familiar with private social networks for events? If not, read on and learn what they can offer your event.

1. Your event’s branding, embedded directly into your existing web presence, with all the data in your control. The force is with you – use it wisely Luke.
2. Private networks integrate directly with your registration provider. After attendees register for your event, they can easily opt-in to your community with the click of a mouse.
3. Attendees get a professional profile, putting their best face forward toward those they want to network with.
4. Event hosts get full community management and reporting capabilities. Understand your attendees and what’s important to them.
5. Attendees get the event-centric tools that will help them get the most out of their conference experience. Allow your attendees to schedule 1:1 meetings with one another, build their own personal conference schedule and interact with exhibitors.

Can you use public social networking tools exclusively and still have a great event? Sure. You could also create a private network for your event, giving attendees the event specific tools that will help them network - giving your event more value and increasing the likelihood that your attendees will return next year.

Curious about how Pathable can power a network for your event? Take a quick tour of Pathable!

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Social networking services for events are critical to attendee satisfaction and engagement, and they provide exhibitors and sponsors with the opportunity for dialogue with attendees, not just tote-bag awareness. Pathable’s award-winning on-line community for events provides a private, branded conference community where attendees can meet, schedule meetings, and stay in contact before, during and after the event, and their mobile experience carries the engagement to the show floor on iPhone, iPad, Android and more.

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We love, love, love all things events and technology. If you can’t tell by our tweets, Facebook posts and all other social media interactions, we love to talk about events and the tools that help us do what we do better. In June, Liz King Events and Pogby partnered together to bring you PlannerTech – an event technology showcase. This weekly blog series is going to help continue to expose you to new tools you need to be aware of as an event planner. Also, in case you missed it, PlannerTech could be coming soon to your area!

Social Tables
Your name:
Dan Berger
Company/Tool Name: Social Tables
Website: http://www.socialtables.com
Twitter: @socialtables
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/socialtables

What is the “problem” that your tool seeks to solve?

We’re solving two problems. From a planner’s perspective, we make designing seating charts fun and seamless through several tools built specifically for event planners. From a guest’s perspective, we eliminate awkward conversations by letting guests of assigned table events interact with one another before or after the event.

What is the best audience for this tool? Corporate events? Social? Other? Large? Small?
Weddings and galas or any other assigned table event that has between 100 and 1,000 guests.

What does your tool help event planners do better?
Social Tables saves planners at least 4 hours per event. We have consulted hundreds of event planners to build the tools they need most.

How is your tool different from/better than the competition?
We are the first social seating.

What is the single coolest feature of Pogby?
Not only does Social Tables facilitate the seating of an event, we offer social integration which allows attendees to connect with people before the event even happens.

Anything else we need to know?
Three things: (1) We are currently free. (2) We love feedback (email the founder at dan@socialtables.com). (3) We’re releasing version 2.0 of our product in September… so get ready for an awesome product upgrade!
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We love, love, love all things events and technology. If you can’t tell by our tweets, Facebook posts and all other social media interactions, we love to talk about events and the tools that help us do what we do better. In June, Liz King Events and Pogby partnered together to bring you PlannerTech – an event technology showcase. This weekly blog series is going to help continue to expose you to new tools you need to be aware of as an event planner. Also, in case you missed it, PlannerTech could be coming soon to your area!

Today, we kick off the series with none other than POGBY!

PogbyYour name: Liz Mazzei
Company/Tool Name: Pogby – The First Venue Marketplace to Find and Book Event Packages
Website: http://www.pogby.com
Twitter: @pogby
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pogby

What is the “problem” that your tool seeks to solve?

Finding a location for your event is a time consuming, frustrating process. Searching through directories online with static information on locations requires you to call or email each individually just to find out to simple questions – “Are you available?” and “How much does it cost?”. Pogby solves this problem by connecting bookers online with venues and allowing them to search for venues by a number of different criteria and book an event package at a venue online. Search options include all the basics you find in a directory (location, venue type, capacity) but also allows you to filter deeper and find a venue that meets your needs including package type and price. Venues directly enter in all their information and pricing details into the system and Pogby helps distribute this information across the internet through our marketplace partners which today include venuesonline.com “Book it Now”, nycgo.com “Book NYC. Now”, and viktorix.com“Venue Assistant”.

What is the best audience for this tool? Corporate events? Social? Other? Large? Small?
The Pogby “venue marketplace” allows bookers of all types to search for venues that fit their needs as their are a range of venues in the marketplace you can shop including restaurants, art galleries, hotels, lofts, zoos, museums, boats, etc, etc, etc.

What does your tool help event planners do better?
Find locations online that meet their event and budget needs 24/7 and book to secure a date and time online.

How is your tool different from/better than the competition? 
No other site allows bookers to request a booking online. Other sites are completely RFP based. In addition, Pogby is different than any other tool as the information we distribute online is entered directly by venue managers. The key pieces of this information is price and availability. By providing this information upfront, venues are able to be completely transparent. Transparency is at the core of the Pogby “Venue Marketplace”

What is the single coolest feature of Pogby?
My favorite cool thing is that we are creating a marketplace in a fragmented space. Like the ebay or expedia of the events industry, as we are taking the millions of different pieces and creating a technology that helps them all communicate, interact, and disperse the information and content online. The more things we can do online the better in my opinion. Its all about making everything we do more efficient, so we can do more! I LOVE THE INTERNET!

Anything else we need to know?

Everything we learned has been based on feedback from industry professionals, bookers and venues. We absolutely love ideas and feedback so we can continually develop and enhance our solution. In addition, Pogby is releasing a new version of the site that is going to make it even easier to find what you are looking for and make a booking online. For now we are calling it “Pogby 2.0″ :)  Its going to have a totally new look, brand and amazing set of features, including: user profiles, reviews, booking perks and rewards, social networking integrations, and more!

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Written by Casey Gallagher

Event planners were all a twitter two months ago for the first ever PlannerTech at the Roger Smith Hotel (located at 46th and Lexington) presented by Pogby and Liz King Events, as part of Internet Week NY. Over 100 attendees were at the event live and 400 watched via Live Stream. The showcase included 4 minute introductions from invited companies which included IMLHashableEvent Leadership InstitutePogbyShareSquareEvent FarmSwig ProductionsSuper PlannerEZ Engage Display, and Viktorix. The focus of the event was to share innovate products and companies that can enhance the way events are planned and executed.

Read more on Blogby

Source: blog.pogby.com
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Technology is supposed to make our lives and jobs easier — but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Even if you could keep up with all of the latest releases and innovations, it’s tough to sort out what is shiny and new and truly useful from what is merely shiny and new.

Liz King, of Liz King Events in New York City, and her partners are here to help, with the June 9 launch of PlannerTech. Their big idea is to bring meeting planners and technology providers together in a relaxed atmosphere, where planners can experiment and learn alongside their peers. They promise to limit the tech-jargon and keep practical solutions front and center.

I recently talked with Liz about what planners — both in and out of New York —  can expect from the new event.

Read more on PCMA Convene

Source: pcmaconvene.blogspot.com
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If you haven’t yet registered for PlannerTech, a free, one-night event-technology gathering in New York City on Thursday evening, June 9, you should do so quickly. Only “five to 10 slots” out of 100 are still open, say the organizers. If you have registered, either you or someone you love is probably active on Twitter, and likely a user of the #eventprofs hashtag; nearly all of the marketing for the event has taken place there.
 
The brainchild of Liz Mazzei, who heads up sales and marketing for New York City-based Pogby (an online portal for booking event venues), PlannerTech is a New York Internet Week event that offers an introduction to 10 different planning technology suppliers as well as the opportunity to network with those suppliers and fellow planners. As Mazzei tells it, she wanted to create the event because nothing like it exists — and because the world of event technology can be a vast and confusing place. The folks at Pogby know technology, but not “how to throw an awesome shindig,” so Mazzei enlisted New York City-based planner Liz King of Liz King Events, a tech- and social media-savvy planner with a sizeable Twitter following and a significant presence in the #eventprofs community. With assistance from Pogby and new independent planner Christine Upton, King has put together the inaugural event in short order — Mazzei first approached her in April.

Read more on Meetings-Conventions.com

Source: meetings-conventions.com
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Technology is often overlooked by the event planners. It seems like it’s the last part of the planning process. Possibly unknown to them, they leave it until the end or let someone else handle it. This is especially true when it comes to the Internet. Many event planners, still, do not incorporate Internet technology into their events. They either don’t know about the technology or just simply don’t know how beneficial it would be for their event. Not for long, however; one event is planning to change that.

“It [Internet] is an amazing technology that makes us more efficient, makes us smarter, increases communication and truly improves our lives,” says Elizabeth Mazzei, director of partner solutions at Pogby. “I realized there really is no event all year long that focuses on technology for event professionals. How frustrating!”

Read More at Viktorix.com

Source: viktorix.com