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AIPC designs 2013 conference around ‘powerful’ content

Reinforcing that relevant content is king at its 2013 AIPC Annual Conference and 55th General Assembly, AIPC officials designed a conference experience that delivered key messages without distracting its senior management audience.

© Anthea Davison
Audio/visual provided by ACS audiovisual solutions

The International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), an association for upper-level convention and exhibition center management, and ACS audiovisual solutions, its Amsterdam-based audio/visual partner, didn’t want to rely on special effects to grab the attention of the 150 delegates who flew into Cape Town, South Africa. The conference was held at Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from June 30-July 3.

“We strive to make content as powerful as possible and encourage the kind of questioning and analysis that further discussion and interaction brings. Most delegates have seen anything imaginable in the way of technology and design features in their own centers, so we are much more focused on the substance that is being delivered,” explained Geoff Donaghy, president, AIPC. “Members arrive knowing what they want to get out of the conference, and our presenters are the most effective ways of delivering that.”

To ensure AIPC’s conference vision, ACS focused the audience’s attention on projected content.

“We advised AIPC to make use of a large borderless screen on the wall of the conference room. On the screen, we projected three sources at the same time using a picture-in-picture technique,” said Anneke Postma, marketing and communications, ACS audiovisual solutions. “We emphasized the core content, which were videos and PowerPoint presentations, by projecting this source as large as possible on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen, we positioned the real-time video feed generated by the in-room cameras, and below that, we used the AIPC logo.”

Along with its presenters, AIPC supplied ACS with videos and PowerPoint presentations, and then the association worked with ACS to determine which combinations of materials and content were delivered through the system or video-equipped podiums.

Fira Barcelona wins Innovation Award
Fira Barcelona wins Innovation Award

“We invested a lot of effort in making sure the presentations were seamless as our members expect the highest degree of professionalism given their own standards,” said Donaghy.

ACS used GOBO (Goes Before Optics) lighting projection on the conference’s walls to create a lively, cozy atmosphere. A template placed in front of a lighting source to create moving shapes, GOBO lighting ensured a background that made on-screen content stand out, according to Postma.

“It is very important for us to ensure a flawless technical execution. We made sure that the technicians responsible for the switching of the various sources followed the content of the program precisely. This ensured that the content on the screen was always relevant and in line with the presentations on the stage,” said Postma.

To fulfill AIPC’s need to link all elements of its program together visually and draw on images of South Africa while reinforcing the uniqueness of this conference destination, ACS showed images of the country during breaks.

Adding to the visuals seen at the conference was the AIPC Innovation Award competition in which AIPC members showcased posters highlighting innovations that have potential application to other venues.

“The posters addressed marketing, center management, operations and technology, and more,” explained Donaghy.

ECN 092013_INT_AIPC_delegates-choice-award-was-made-to-the-Massachusetts-Convention-Center-Authority,-Boston_Web-only
MCCA wins Delegates Choice Award

Deciding the overall AIPC Innovation Award winner was a panel of judges who chose Fira Barcelona for its Near Field Communication Badge, a mobile contactless access pass that visitors and exhibitors used during the 2013 GSMA Mobile World Congress.

AIPC allowed its members to vote for another innovator with its Delegates Choice Award, which went to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) for its Event Management System – Showbiz, which has a mobile interface. A custom, open-source software platform, Showbiz is used by MCCA employees and their clients to plan and manage events.

These two organizations weren’t the only ones that went home with wins after the conference.

Donaghy was voted in as AIPC’s new president after a broad member decision at the General Assembly. He served as a board member for eight years and vice president for six years prior to becoming president. Donaghy replaced Edgar Hirt, who still holds a position on the association’s Board of Directors and is managing director of CCH, Congress Centre Hamburg.

See related article: “2013 AIPC Annual Conference to put ‘Convention Centers in Context’”

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