[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]August 23, 2020 | Press Release
SCHILLER PARK, Ill. – August 24, 2020 – PSAV, a leader in global event production, today announced that Ben Erwin has been named Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, and will maintain his current title as President. In his new role, Erwin will be responsible for driving the strategic direction of the Company and overseeing the execution of its business plan.
This leadership transition occurs as PSAV continues to take a leading role in helping its customers adjust to the current environment of the meeting and events industry. Erwin succeeds Mike Mcllwain, who has served as CEO since 2011.
“I am honored to assume the role of CEO during this pivotal time,” Erwin said. “We are focused on positioning PSAV for a return to growth and long-term success as we continue to provide creative solutions to our customers and venue partners.”
Erwin continued, “On behalf of the entire team, I want to thank Mike for all he has done for PSAV during his tenure and, personally, for his mentorship and guidance to help me prepare for this role. His impact will continue to be felt by our organization long after his formal departure from the business.”
“Ben has been an important partner in supporting PSAV’s growth over the last five years, and he has the right combination of leadership skills and financial and operational acumen to guide the Company well into the future,” Mcllwain added. “Along with our full Board, I am confident in his ability to step seamlessly into the CEO role and build on our more than 80-year history of helping to bring unforgettable events to life.”
About Ben Erwin
Erwin was named PSAV President in October 2018. In that role, he was responsible for global operations, sales and marketing, IT and product management. Erwin was hired in 2015 as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer where he was responsible for global accounting, treasury, financial planning and analysis, tax and product management. Before joining PSAV, he served as Chief Financial Officer for TestAmerica Laboratories, where he led all accounting, finance, treasury, information technology and legal functions. Prior to 2011, he served as SVP Corporate Development for Cornell Companies, where he managed corporate strategy, financial planning and analysis, public market capital transactions, and investor relations.
Erwin earned bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Political Science from Wake Forest University. He is currently serving on the board of directors for both PCMA and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).
The PSAV family of companies serves as a global leader in event experiences, providing creative, production, advanced technology and staging services to help meeting professionals deliver more dynamic and impactful experiences at their meetings, trade shows and events. The company operates in more than 20 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia. It is the trusted partner and exclusive on-site provider of choice at leading venues worldwide. PSAV was recently named to the Forbes 2018 and 2019 America’s Best Employer list. The company is headquartered in Schiller Park, Ill. www.psav.com.
As the events industry starts to return, it’s becoming clear that hybrid events are going to become part of the new normal. While there are countless tutorials, resources and products that are geared towards making the technical transition easier to understand and execute, one challenge that remains is how to maximize remote audience engagement.
Founded in 2009 by Anthony Scaramucci and SkyBridge Capital, SALT is an annual global thought leadership forum and networking platform that encompasses finance, technology and geopolitics. In 2019, working with Encore Productions, SALT wanted to reinvigorate this high-profile, invitation-only event and take it back to its roots; a thought-leadership forum filled with conversation-based keynotes and fireside chats that blended together the intersecting areas of finance, tech, politics, academia, sports, military and entertainment.
“Although past events had historically been successful, SALT wanted to continue pushing the envelope on their events to stay ahead of competitors. They were looking to transform it into the event of the future,” recalled Chani Mintz, Senior Producer, Encore Productions.
After coming to an understanding on how to further evolve the in-person event, the task became more complex—how to take the event into the digital sphere in a unique way? The event planners wanted to make sure their virtual audience was given an experience that not only mirrored the specifications of the in-person event, but enhanced it. “We really had to change our mindset on how we approached this – it was really to incorporate the best of live show production with more of a television broadcast approach,” confided Jamey Gallagher, Vice President of Creative Strategy, Encore Productions. With this in mind, the production team leveraged three key techniques: creating an immersive environment, graphic elements and exclusive content.
Create an Immersive Experience
Create an environment where attendees can find and explore your content in a way that easily allows for sharing and participating actively in the experience.
In the case of SALT, there were multiple touchpoints for virtual attendees to interact with: a virtual lobby, exhibit hall, keynote presentation and networking lounge, to name a few. These creative elements allowed attendees to interact with one another and the material presented in a way that made them feel connected and part of the action.
Add Graphic Elements
The producers were also mindful of how keynotes and video content was presented to the digital audience. To mimic the energetic atmosphere at Bellagio, they crafted graphic elements that made each keynote feel as if it were a segment on a news channel. By using these graphics, along with picture-in-picture elements, call-outs for the next presenter, and making it look and feel like a highly-produced television show, the creative minds on this project brought a dynamic experience into existence for these users.
Create Exclusive Content for the Virtual Attendee
Between speakers, they utilized roaming cameras to make those at home feel like they were truly in the room. “The virtual viewer actually had a bigger experience than the live viewer,” said Jamey. “They went right from a live session, to an interview backstage and immediately to the conference center. The virtual attendee could attend up to five functions in an hour, where the live attendee could see maybe only three.”
These elements culminated into an event that SkyBridge Founder & Managing Partner and SALT Chairman Anthony Scaramucci proclaimed to be “by far the smoothest and coolest event we’ve ever done.”
Hint: It’s not about the platform
Over the last two months (though it certainly feels much longer), our industry has frantically been pivoting live events to virtual event formats. For many, this meant rapidly researching a vast array of streaming providers, web conference solutions, and virtual event platforms.
In the process, it’s also meant a lot of trial and error. How many of you quickly launched a web conference for hundreds of participants, only to realize that the platform alone doesn’t address everything you need to achieve your desired meeting outcomes?
In the rush to virtual, many of us have lost track of the most critical step in the process – event design! Here’s a reminder of two critical principles to consider when designing your virtual event.
1. A virtual event is not a direct translation of a live event
Zoom fatigue is real. If it’s not already a diagnosable condition, we’re probably not far off from seeing it in medical textbooks. With unlimited online and at-home distractions, it takes a different kind of focus to engage in virtual events. Coupled with the lack of visual or physical breaks attendees would typically have in a live setting, the ability to overcome these distractions can be overwhelming without the right balance of high-stimulation and lull time.
Second, it’s more challenging to establish emotional and attitudinal connections across cyber space. The networking that typically happens more serendipitously in a live environment must be designed with purpose in a digital environment.
2. You can warp time and space
We all struggle with attention spans in digital environments. But unlike the time or space restrictions you have in a live event setting, you can be more flexible with virtual events.
Engagement doesn’t need to happen at a specific time and can be stretched to meet the needs of your audience. Leverage the freedom of access and community building tools across time zones to meet participants where they are – delivering content when your attendees need it, and how they need it. Content such as on-demand video sessions or simu-live can open new opportunities for engagement with presenters and learning opportunities.
As the global event industry enters the recovery stage, there will be an ongoing need to engage remote audiences – either completely virtually or in a hybrid setting. Put the principles of event design first before considering the delivery platform and consider partnering with someone who can help guide you through the design process and create an experience that will be sure to meet your desired outcomes.
Our team has created virtual and hybrid solutions cultivated from years of experience. Connect with us to see how we can assist with your event design.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]May 18, 2020 | Press Release
Leading Response to Evolving Customer Needs
SCHILLER PARK, Ill., May 18, 2020 – PSAV, a global leader in event experiences, has created MeetSAFE, a set of guidelines to help the live event industry safely adapt to the changing landscape for meetings and events. As the world begins to reopen from COVID-19 shutdowns, PSAV successfully provides guidance for event planners on how to safely and responsibly host events.
Designed to inspire trust and confidence, the set of tools is focused on redesigning events to successfully deliver on the strategic goals of the meeting while defining new guidelines to minimize risk and promote health. Doing so safely will be the first priority of all planning activities as the ability to conduct in-person meetings will be dependent on making people feel safe in any setting.
“Our industry has more to consider when planning live events in the future. While there has been an explosion of virtual events due to today’s environment, we know there will be a time when both hybrid and fully live meetings will return,” said Ben Erwin, President of PSAV. “People feel a strong desire for face-to-face interactions, so we wanted to be proactive and offer guidance on how they can ensure important live meetings and events are productive, but also safe at the same time.”
The MeetSAFE guidelines were developed with four key areas of focus in mind: event design, room layout / traffic flow, technology enhancements, and cleaning guidelines. With input from venue partners, event planners and leading industry associations, the new guidelines include a series of meeting formats, technology solutions, and other recommendations that outline paths around how the event industry could re-open during the early phases of recovery.
“The Events Industry Council applauds PSAV for its leadership through this effort to provide relevant guidance and tools to industry professionals,” commented Amy Calvert, CEO of the Events Industry Council. “We are encouraged and inspired by the work we are seeing in all segments and regions to address today’s challenge and adapt for the future. The APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force is focused on curating and sharing accepted practices across the global events ecosystem and will include this tool in that work.”
“PSAV has long been a pioneer in the meetings and events space, and their MeetSAFE initiative demonstrates their commitment to meeting the challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19,” said Chip Rogers, President & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “Aligned with the hotel industry’s newly announced Safe Stay standards, these tools will be critical in preparing America’s hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens.”
To view the overview of PSAV’s MeetSAFE guidelines, visit https://www.psav.com/what-we-do/industry-advocacy/meetSAFE
The PSAV family of companies serves as a global leader in event experiences, providing creative, production, advanced technology and staging services to help meeting professionals deliver more dynamic and impactful experiences at their meetings, trade shows and events. The team consists of approximately 14,000 professionals across 2,100 on-site venue locations and more than 50 regional warehouses. The company operates in more than 20 countries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia. It is the trusted partner and exclusive on-site provider of choice at leading venues worldwide. PSAV was recently named to the Forbes 2018 and 2019 America’s Best Employer list. The company is headquartered in Schiller Park, Ill. www.psav.com.
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A Bit of Clarity in an Uncertain Time
Over the last few years, our production team has had the pleasure of working with our partners to listen to their needs and priorities and develop ways that we could make their lives easier. This collaboration cultivated a simple production process, leveraging our knowledge of their events to focus on ease of engagement. The outcome? More consistent results and event experiences across our network.
In recent months, the whole world has been turned upside down in an unprecedented way, and our events industry in particular is experiencing unprecedented disruption. Our meeting planner community has been forced into new realms out of their comfort zone with requirements to explore many different event solutions – producing hybrid, virtual, smaller live meetings – under a cloud of uncertainty with variables they have never experienced. Cancellations, postponement, rebooking, venue changes, uncertain registration numbers, etc. have all been unchartered challenges.
The main questions we are seeing on the production side revolve around converting live agendas to virtual, and how to vet these options with limited staff. With this in mind, we’ve doubled down on the ease of engagement factor so customers can tap into an integrated solution which can support any iteration of a live, blended or virtual event experience. Our current production group has drawn on their corporate event, theater, touring and broadcast experience to morph into a versatile team that can pivot with your needs and consult to create a variety of solutions.
We can provide one point of contact that understands your preferences, processes, documentation, communication style and do’s and don’ts. One core team to engage the key internal resources that deliver everything from show management to media to creative design all the way through your venue order.
The idea that we’ve kept central is that no matter what it becomes, it’s still an event that requires a great production team. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but ultimately all event concepts have more similarities than differences:
- The Pre-Production process tracks toward similar milestones
- Solid documentation and attention to detail required
- Your presenters need to feel comfortable and confident to deliver their best message
- The technical solution has to work
- Media and content need to enhance the experience
- Your message must be heard
- The brand must shine
- Analytics and ROI are critical
- You must keep the audience engaged
The difference is a matter of how the content is delivered – not why you need to deliver it. It may very well be via a new medium that the audience isn’t unaccustomed to. Our group can assess pros and cons of each method and help deliver the best solution to reach your specific audience. We are structured so the customer has continuity of their core production team regardless of what the final solution may be in a month or year(s) down the road.
We’re in this battle together. The team is eager to help you navigate through this new normal in the event world, however the solutions may evolve. I hope we can be a resource to provide some clarity and help lead you through the fog.
Be safe. Be well.
Necessity is the mother of all invention, and our current environment has introduced more challenges into our personal and professional lives than anyone could have predicted.
Be it as a planner, partner, or provider in the live events industry, how do we continue to provide value to our customers in a time when we cannot meet face to face? For PSAV, we’ve rallied together through tremendous cross-functional collaboration, commitment and leadership, finding creative ways to adapt and engage in this very fluid environment.
Professional EDge: Industry Education
The desire to remain connected has never been stronger, and despite stay-at-home orders, we knew we could share thought leadership content that would provide a lasting benefit to our community by pivoting to virtual.
As a result, our team is excited to introduce Professional EDge – our permanent platform for industry education! We kicked it off with Global Virtual Events Day on April 2, where we welcomed more than 13,000 unique visitors from 57 countries. Our family of companies brought a team of digital experts to share real-life applications and solutions to help professionals plan, produce, and promote virtual events from start to finish.
On April 7, we continued our interactive sessions with the launch of an eight-week series of webinars running through the end of May. Featuring great content from industry experts, all of these sessions are approved by the Events Industry Council for attendees to earn continuing education hours.
Launching Professional EDge has been a bright spot for us. It’s a platform we always wanted to create but found difficult to prioritize amidst normal business levels. The sense of accomplishment that comes from finding new ways to evolve and elevate is a benefit we can all derive from great teamwork and creativity in our current environment.
Chime Live Virtual Events Platform
In a poll we recently conducted, more than one-third of meeting planners responded that the most daunting aspect of hosting a virtual event was audience engagement. With this in mind, we’re excited to introduce Chime Live, a new platform we’re using to host Professional EDge. Chime Live offers both a live webinar feed and a rich suite of interactive tools such as Polling, Notepad, UpVoter, Forum, Ask a Question, Feedback Forms and Networking. It also provides users an engaging forum that lives on after the event. We want to learn what matters most to you, so we can continue to develop fresh content that resonates and brings even more value to Professional EDge.
See the Possibilities
Whether it’s through 3-D renderings from our Encore locations, the use of Vision Templates or virtual site visits, we have aligned resources to help you ‘see’ the possibilities in all our venues. We’re using Microsoft Teams to collaborate and can pull in solution experts as needed to talk through your organization’s objectives and discuss options to create engaging experiences for your attendees – be they in–person, virtual or hybrid.
By leveraging technology, we have the opportunity to remain connected unlike any generation before us that has gone through dark times. The internet may be our conduit, but our connections are no less genuine or valuable. If anything, we are all learning new ways to create value and engage, which will make those in–person moments even more impactful in the future.
[vc_row unlock_row_content=”yes” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”0″ top_padding=”3″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”0″ gutter_size=”100″ column_width_percent=”100″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ style=”inherited”][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ position_horizontal=”left” gutter_size=”4″ override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”2″ style=”light” overlay_alpha=”100″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”0″ mobile_width=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/1″][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-749185″ type=”carousel” medias=”88160,88165″ carousel_lg=”1″ carousel_md=”1″ carousel_sm=”1″ gutter_size=”0″ media_items=”media|nolink|original,icon” carousel_type=”fade” carousel_interval=”5000″ carousel_navspeed=”1000″ carousel_loop=”yes” carousel_nav=”yes” carousel_dots=”yes” carousel_dots_inside=”yes” carousel_dot_padding=”2″ stage_padding=”0″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_text_anim=”no” single_overlay_anim=”no” single_image_anim=”no” single_padding=”2″ single_border=”yes” title=”Leading Financial Institution Case Study”][vc_row_inner row_inner_height_percent=”0″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″][vc_column_inner column_width_percent=”77″ gutter_size=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”3″ mobile_width=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][vc_icon position=”left” title_aligned_icon=”yes” icon=”fa fa-paperclip” icon_color=”accent” size=”fa-4x” text_size=”h5″ linked_title=”yes” align=”left” title=”Case study” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Ffmav.ca%2Fcorporate-agm%2F|title:Leading%20Financial%20Institution|target:%20_blank|”]A leading Canadian financial corporation was looking to host their annual meeting of shareholders. With today’s current climate around meeting face-to-face, a traditional in person event was not going to be an option. As a result, our client was looking to host its first ever virtual event, a daunting task for these unprecedented times. Download Case study to learn more.[/vc_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_width_percent=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”3″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][vc_icon position=”left” title_aligned_icon=”yes” icon=”fa fa-beaker” icon_color=”accent” size=”fa-4x” text_size=”h5″ align=”left” title=”Pivot to Virtual”]Results? A Successful event!
The client was thrilled that the FMAV team was able to provide a seamless and secure experience for their attendees. Meeting participants and C Suite executives could view and hear the meeting from the comfort and safety of their home offices. Learn more about our Virtual Event Solutions.[/vc_icon][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]
[vc_row unlock_row_content=”yes” row_height_percent=”0″ override_padding=”yes” h_padding=”0″ top_padding=”3″ bottom_padding=”3″ overlay_alpha=”0″ gutter_size=”100″ column_width_percent=”100″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ style=”inherited”][vc_column column_width_percent=”100″ position_horizontal=”left” gutter_size=”4″ override_padding=”yes” column_padding=”2″ style=”light” overlay_alpha=”100″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”0″ mobile_width=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/1″][vc_gallery el_id=”gallery-749185″ type=”carousel” medias=”88497″ carousel_lg=”1″ carousel_md=”1″ carousel_sm=”1″ gutter_size=”0″ media_items=”media|nolink|original,icon” carousel_type=”fade” carousel_interval=”5000″ carousel_navspeed=”1000″ carousel_loop=”yes” carousel_nav=”yes” carousel_dots=”yes” carousel_dots_inside=”yes” carousel_dot_padding=”2″ carousel_autoh=”yes” stage_padding=”0″ single_overlay_opacity=”50″ single_text_anim=”no” single_overlay_anim=”no” single_image_anim=”no” single_padding=”2″ single_border=”yes” title=”RBC AGM Case Study!” items=”eyI4ODQ5N19pIjp7InNpbmdsZV9saW5rIjoidXJsOmh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZm1hdi5jYSUyRndwLWNvbnRlbnQlMkZ1cGxvYWRzJTJGQ2FzZS1TdHVkeS1WaXJ0dWFsLUV2ZW50cy1SQkMtQUdNLUZpbmFsLnBkZnx8fCJ9fQ==”][vc_row_inner row_inner_height_percent=”0″ overlay_alpha=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ shift_y=”0″][vc_column_inner column_width_percent=”77″ gutter_size=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”3″ mobile_width=”0″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][vc_icon position=”left” title_aligned_icon=”yes” icon=”fa fa-paperclip” icon_color=”accent” size=”fa-4x” text_size=”h5″ linked_title=”yes” align=”left” title=”Case study” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Ffmav.ca%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2FCase-Study-Virtual-Events-RBC-AGM-Final.pdf|title:RBC’s%20Annual%20General%20Meeting||”]RBC entrusted FMAV to help them host a virtual AGM where attendees could participate remotely from the comfort of their own home. The Solution provided included Billingual webcast, back-up audio, phone bridges, closed captioning, Q&A and more. Download Case study to learn more.[/vc_icon][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_width_percent=”100″ gutter_size=”3″ overlay_alpha=”100″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”3″ zoom_width=”0″ zoom_height=”0″ width=”1/2″][vc_icon position=”left” title_aligned_icon=”yes” icon=”fa fa-beaker” icon_color=”accent” size=”fa-4x” text_size=”h5″ align=”left” title=”Pivot to Virtual”]Results? A Successful event!
The Royal Bank of Canada’s virtual AGM broadcast went off without a hitch! RBC was able to pass motions, vote on their board of directors, and engage in two-way communication with their attendees. Though there was no face-to-face, FMAV provided a virtual setting that still enabled RBC to accomplish their business objectives. Learn more about our Virtual Event Solutions.[/vc_icon][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Technology advances our lives more and more each day, enabling us to connect faster, and larger than ever before. As technology progresses, so does the world of events. The spectrum of events has evolved to now include Virtual events, whereby participants and attendees can view and interact with live event content from any location around the globe, and from any device.
In today’s fast-paced world, time and budget restrictions often preclude people from being able to attend events in person. However, they are likely still very interested in the content being shared and are open to other ways of connecting. This poses an amazing opportunity to engage with larger audiences on a higher level and to deliver your content directly to a device that can be accessed in a single moment.
Let’s take a moment to understand more about Virtual Events and if they might be right for you.
What is a virtual event?
Virtual events are content broadcasted in real-time anywhere in the world to anywhere around the world, online. It enables organizers to connect with remote audiences, engage with them on various participation levels and can be viewed on various devices. There are several types of Virtual events within the spectrum that accommodate multiple ways of communication, and participation levels. They are:
- Video Conferencing
- Custom Streaming
How does it work?
Webcasting takes your live event feed, funnels it through a webcasting solution and then broadcasts it to unlimited remote participants.
It allows you to have multiple content windows that may include a presentation slide window as well as a live event feed window streaming the presenter on stage.
Works great for broadcasting town hall events to remote employees or broadcasting your event feed to remote participants.
Video Conferencing allows you to have multiple remote participants that come together in a virtual environment to collaborate for meetings or group discussions. Often all participants have similar or identical participation abilities.
Works great for multiple offices and branches to connect virtually and experience the meeting as if they were there in person.
Webinars allow you to host and distribute live content internally or externally through a webinar platform. Webinars are often used for educational and learning content and include polling and digital Q&A.
Works great for group training in a remote environment and delivering learning modules to your client base.
Custom Streaming covers situations that are unique to the other virtual event offerings. This includes social streaming -whereby your event can be live streamed and managed on Facebook or YouTube. Custom streaming also offers embedded video directly on your company website.
Great for custom situations that are not classified under webcasting, video conferencing, or webinars. Essentially, the ‘other‘ category.
How can virtual events help you?
Virtual events open up opportunities to expand your audience and reach more people than ever before.
- Have remote audiences.
- Have space limitations.
- Various office locations that connect for meetings.
- Have town-hall events that need to broadcast nationally or globally.
- Have many clients or potential attendees that face travel barriers.
- Are looking to open the ability for more people to view and participate in your events…
Virtual events may be right for you.
What do you need to get started?
There are 4 components that are essential to all virtual events. They are:
- Equipment suited to the virtual event type you are broadcasting.
- Network Connection defined as dedicated hardline internet connection.
- Streaming Platform or Content Network, there are many solutions available to accommodate your needs.
- Virtual Events Expert, someone who can work with you on your specific needs to recommend and assist you in planning and executing a successful virtual event.
Interested in virtual events? Connect with an FMAV virtual events expert now