How AV Can Make or Break Your Next Event (with Brandt Krueger)

Blue yellow and green bubbles with the text How AV can make or break your next event (with Brandt Krueger)
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Episode description

After adapting to virtual events during the pandemic, many planning teams are searching for ways to improve their AV components. But to make improvements, it’s essential to understand what’s going on in the audio/video world. So, how can you learn where to start?

In this episode, Brandt Krueger, Senior Production Manager for EideCom, joins the show to delve into AV trends in events. Having been in the industry for over 25 years, Brandt has a wealth of knowledge to pull from and offers insights on how to level up your AV game. He shares his thoughts on how AV trends in 2024 will continue to evolve, moving in the general direction of more professional equipment. Dissecting the stigmas surrounding “hybrid events,” he explains the difference between attending an event virtually and watching a live stream. You’ll also learn Brandt’s strategies for getting ahead of the curve regarding the upward trend in AV pricing.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should prioritize audio components in events
  • How the pandemic has evolved the usage of video in events
  • How you can avoid AV contract pricing pitfalls

Things to listen for:

[00:50] Brandt’s background
[03:50] Brandt’s thoughts on potential 2024 AV Trends
[06:45] The importance of investing in audio
[09:48] Post-pandemic video trends
[13:20] The stigma around “hybrid” events
[18:53] Why are AV prices continuing to rise
[21:55] Brandt’s insights on effectively tackling AV cost

Meet your host

Rachel Andrews, Senior Director of Global Meetings and Events, Cvent
Alyssa Peltier, Director of Market Strategy & Insights, Cvent Consulting

Episode Transcript

Rachel: Hi, everybody. What is going on in this wide world of events? My name is Rachel Andrews and welcome to this week's episode of Great Events, a podcast by Cvent. I am joined with my co host, Alyssa Peltier.

Alyssa: Hey guys.

Rachel: And today we are discussing AV trends.

And we have a very special guest on the podcast today. Someone who has been in the industry a long time in a very successful role within AV, Brandt Krueger. He is the senior production manager. Manager at EideCom. Welcome Brandt.

Brandt: It's a pleasure to be here.

Rachel: Awesome. I know we've spoken with you in the past and you've been bouncing around, but why don't you, give our listeners just a little bit more about you and where you are, what you're doing for EideCom, your, maybe some of your background.

Why should they listen to you on what AV trends pay attention to all the things?

Brandt: They absolutely should not be listening to me.

Alyssa: That's a good start.

Brandt: yeah, I've been, like you said, I've been bouncing around. It boggles my mind, that I've been in this industry for over 25 years at this point. I distinctly remember thinking, I'll give it like five years, see how it goes and then re-evaluate.

And, and then here we are 25 years later, still actively involved. But yeah, I came up through the, originally through the theater side, a lot of folks, you fall into this industry. I feel like more people than not I've talked to fell into events. They weren't just born into it.

And so I came up through the theater side, started working with meeting an event production company about 20 something years ago, worked with them for about 18 years, went freelance for about 10 years, where I was doing freelance technical production. And then over the course of this last year, I've been working with EideCom as the senior production manager for them.

But I've just always been fascinated by technology and, even going back to when I was a little kid and have always then sought to discover how can technology make our events better? I was the guy that came running in and say, hey, did you see, they now make a five disc CD changer that you can put five dinner jazz CDs in hit play, and you've got dinner jazz going all night long, baby.

So I was definitely always that guy in the office, right? Trying to find new ways that we can use technology to make our events better. And I think that continues to today. Really what I'm looking at today is what can we do to use technology to make our lives better, to make our events better, to make the attendee experience better, and to make the planners experience better.

What tools can we use to make our lives easier and better when it comes to technology and events?

Rachel: Yeah. Awesome. You have a breadth of knowledge here that we're excited to tap into. yeah. So Alyssa and I are just going to go through it here. I think, one of the biggest things we're thinking about, as we go in. As we close the year right now, it's busy season for a lot of event profs, and a lot of times we don't have time to focus on what the latest trends are, but I like to do trend related topics towards the end of the year, because it's stuff that you should be prepping your budgets for the next year.

And I always like to talk trends because you start talking trends one year and then three years later it's a deal breaker at an event. Or even if it's, if it's faster growing like AI for example, like those are things that are wearables that like exploded or this touchless stuff that's going on.

I would love to just chat through what we think that the top trends are gonna be, as we move into 2024 and what's the current buzz because I'm not super tapped in with AV production teams, unless I'm hosting an event. And so I like to talk to some of my AV counterparts a lot and production counterparts, just to say, Hey, what are people asking for? What is actually being like, discussed or used at other events, like that I'm not thinking of, or that I don't know that it's a trend. So what are your thoughts?

Brandt: Yeah. We're still in the residual age of the pandemic, right? So a lot of what's going on now is influenced by that. And what was, aside from the tragedy of the pandemic, what it did, and I'm sure you guys experienced this as well, is that on the event technology side, especially the software side, registration technologies, hybrid event technologies, that ball got moved down the field about 10 years in about a year. So I think we would have gotten to where we're at now regarding conferencing technology and video technology and the commoditization of like cameras and lights and things like that. I think we eventually would have gotten there, but the pandemic sped that all up.

And so here we are, as we're talking, I've got it. a professional level microphone and lights and a really nice camera and all of these things that are residual from the pandemic that still are very useful at this point in time. So when we look at things are where, what are the trends in audio visual?

In many ways, it's the same things that were the trend four years ago. Everything's just been sped up. And a lot of the equipment is, you can get it for less. That's not to say it's cheaper or, you can get it for less if that makes any sense. The quality is not necessarily the best, but, but you can get it for less.

And so when we look at the AV trends, it's things like display technology, right? Display technology has advanced quite a bit over the course of the last few years. displays in our phones are getting better thinner and flexible and bendy and all kinds of things like that. So that's starting to make its way into professional audio visual as well.

So when you look at things like an LED wall, man, they're gorgeous these days, right? The distance between the pixels is very little. So you're able to get really close to it before it starts to get pixelated. So display technology has come a long way. The conferencing technology has come a long way, and I know this is one of the topics that we wanted to hit through today, I'll be honest with you. One of the biggest trends though, that we're at right now is the increase in cost, when it comes to audio visual budgets and a lot of planners are getting some pretty severe sticker shock out there right now when they are getting their AV bids. And, I certainly would love to be able to talk a little bit more on that, but for now, I'll put a, put it, put a pin in that and say, maybe we'll come back to that.

Alyssa: No, let's do it. Let's go there. I, that's, I think that's a really interesting

Brandt: I know it's on the, it's on the mind of a lot of people.

Alyssa: It's on the mind of a lot of people, especially what Rachel was just alluding to. We are in budget season and budgets are getting cut and teams are getting smaller. So I think there's a real concentration and concerted effort on where do we prioritize?

Where do we invest all those dollars? A lot of times when we're talking AV, things are really cool. They're really sexy. But do we really need them? Are they really going to generate the absolute necessary outcome or the essence of this event? If you could invest those dollars Brandt, what would you recommend to those listeners?

Brandt: I always start with audio, right? So as I'm looking at my priorities, I always start with audio. And that's the thing I skimp on last, right? You have to make sure that your people are being heard. And one of the, I, it's a study that I discovered a long time ago, and I've been quoting for decade and I can't find it now.

It's one of those, it's I definitely saw it. I definitely read it, but then people are like, can you tell me the source on that? 

But yeah, but what it is that, that when you can't hear when you're struggling to hear, or like, when you think about you're on a phone conversation, or maybe you're just eavesdropping trying to pick up a conversation over there when you're struggling to hear. It's actually the same biological feeling as stress, right? It's stressful to be struggling to understand and to hear. And so when we do things like not have proper audio coverage of a room and you're, you don't have, what's called center fills, the speakers that are down on the stage to fill the area in between, you could be sitting in the first row and not be able to hear very well.

And so really making sure that you've got good coverage. So when we look at audio visual trends, one of the trends that's part of that package is, the lines between IT and AV are getting blurrier and blurrier. And so our full time audio person is able to punch in basically a 3D model of the room and the speakers that we've proposed to have in that room.

And it'll show them exactly where the drop offs are. Where you're going to be able to hear the best, where all of a sudden you take two steps to the left and it drops, 20 DB, all of that kind of stuff is something that we now have access to as far as tools. So for me, when we're talking budgets, audio is always the first thing being able to be understood, and then you get into probably lighting next. and then for me, that's when, now we can start talking about what the pretty backdrop is and what the centerpieces are and things like that. Because regardless of the event, whether it's a fundraising gala or a corporate event, there's always a message of some kind.

There's always some kind of message you're trying to communicate. And if people can't hear you, it’s really hard to get that message across.

Rachel: They're going to zone out and not pay attention. That's the other thing, especially if it's bad sounds like, Oh God, I can't sit here and listen to another thing.

Alyssa: What are you seeing in terms, Brandt, of video? And I ask this because I've been on a, I'll say a road show over the last, let's say three months. And part of this is, to your point, this post pandemic kind of narrative that we're still living in this digitization of the whole landscape. But that is related to how much consumer trends are also influencing what we're doing on B2B marketing.

And that is, search volume of video content specifically and where that intersects with our event programs. And so I say this because there was so much hype around hybrid and investment in video and the space immediately coming out of the pandemic. But I'm curious if you've seen that either trail off or we've hit some kind of plateau. We now know what, where it is that we should be investing our dollars in specifically when it comes to the videos. if you want to comment on that at all.

Brandt: Absolutely. it's, it's funny again, going back to the idea of trends that not all trends are good ones, right? So we think about trends being what's shiny and new and exciting, but unfortunately a trend can also be a bit of a negative. And so I feel like post pandemic, the pendulum has swung maybe a little far too far the other direction.

So we swung fully online. Fully video based, to this other thing. And now as we've swung back, it's like it's in person or nothing. And it's really unfortunate from the sense that, like you say, there's so much value in, and so yes, we've absolutely seen a lot of people cutting back on that extra camera, that extra recording equipment, and they're in many ways, which the big picture isn't that much more expensive on our medium to large shows, right? It's not going to be that much more, smaller shows. Absolutely, it can start to make a pretty big difference because you're talking staffing and things like that. But by removing that, we're cutting out a lot of great things.

Like to your point, being able to take that footage, reuse it for marketing materials to be able to reuse that just to push it out later for anyone who wasn't able to make it. One of the things that really, again, I think it's a negative trend that we've swung too far. The other way is that one of the comments that always stuck with me during the pandemic was with a disability advocate who was saying that for the first time in their lives, they felt like they were on an even playing field with all of the other attendees at a conference because everybody was in their living room and everybody was watching, attending events from their kitchen, from their chair. And so they didn't have to worry about how do I get to the airport? How do I navigate the airport? How do I navigate the plane on that tiny little wheelchair? That's only a foot and a half wide. And they take you down the back aisle and then navigate another airport and then get to the hotel and then be able to get there and then you get there and there's no place for you to sit at the lunch table because you're in a wheelchair. And for the first time we opened up our events, sorry, it's a little soap boxy, we opened up our events to this whole other audience that had difficulty getting to our in person events and in this rush to get back to in person or nothing, we've basically said, thanks for playing bye bye to an entire segment of our audience that was able to participate for a lot of folks for the first time. And so when we take away the video option, when we take away the recording option, we're now even further saying, all right, not only do you have to be here in person, you have to be here in person right then and there, or it doesn't count and you don't get to participate and you don't get to watch it later.

That, I think that really has swung a bit a little too far in the other direction. It's not that much more to add a camera. It's not that much more to add recording. It's not that much more to add a live stream. And so when we talk about hybrid versus live streaming versus broadcast, which in my mind are all very different things, by the way, that when we say, hybrid versus broadcast versus live stream, those are all different things in my mind.

They got a little squishy during the pandemic with our use of technology. When you say we don't have any of that option available again, you're telling a whole audience that they don't matter. And plus, a lot of people just realized they don't want to travel as much, whether it's sustainability issues or just, I just.

It really has to be an amazing experience for me to get out of my house and fly halfway across the country to go. So that's all part of these trends that we're seeing, which again, not all of them are good.

Rachel: I was talking to another planner recently and they were saying like, We don't use the word hybrid anymore. It's, it, the connotation of that means expensive. Or the connotation of that is just complication. And I agree, but at the same time, what are you supposed to call it, right?

I, we're live streaming with some content capture at the end, hybrid definitely sounds sexier than that.

Alyssa: Or certainly more succinct.

Brandt: Yeah, it does. But then I would argue that it's inaccurate, right? So I would call it, if we're just going to throw a live stream up of what's happening in the room, then it's a live stream. It's a broadcast, right? There's no interactivity. There's no ability for me as a remote participant to really feel like I'm there.

Like the example that I give, if I give, if I invite a bunch of people over for the world cup and we all sit, we could all be wearing jerseys. We're having an amazing time. We're eating, we're drinking, we're watching the thing, but I wouldn't say I attended the World Cup. That's a broadcast. And so even if there's a little interaction because of, we're on X or we're on LinkedIn or something like that.

There might be some live, live tweeting or something going on. but that doesn't make it, I attended it and that doesn't make it hybrid. In my opinion, if you do hybrid, right? And this has been a problem before pre pandemic, right? Hybrid is hard to do right. It really is. You have to completely think through the audience experience for at least two audiences.

So you've got your full in person audience and then you're fully remote audience. And then there might be different audiences if you've got hub and spoke things going on, but so it is harder. But when you do it right, you get all the benefits of an in person event and all the benefits of an online event, because there's a lot of benefits to just being purely online, just like there are a lot of benefits to being purely in person.

And so that's what I've always maintained. If you're going to do a true hybrid event, it has to be interactive. You have to make those remote attendees feel like they're a part of the event and that they have a voice in that event. And so true hybrid events are going to have, an audience representative representing the remote audience to be able to ask questions, ways to give feedback.

All of those kinds of things have to be thought all the way through. So yeah, I agree completely. We shouldn't be calling it hybrid when in fact it's a broadcast. So you just say. We will be broadcasting this for those who are unable to attend, or we will be recording this for those who are unable to attend.

And you just go from there. But yeah, don't call it hybrid if it's not, because that's the surest way to make people be like, why am I even here? 

Alyssa: What is this? Yeah, what actually did you mean?

Brandt: I could watch this later on 1.5x.

Rachel: That was like a very well, succinct way to describe it.

Alyssa: Totally. Could not agree more.

Rachel: I swear, it's like a lot of planners, I think, get really confused. what the hell am I actually doing? And for us, I definitely for our tier one events, I think that the video aspect of it and capturing it with great lighting and with great audio is important because you do all this damn work on all the content that takes months and months.

You just do it once for the in person audience. It just feels like such a missed opportunity. And you're right. Like just spending just a little bit more to even just record it or live stream the most popular sessions. And you can even do that with, who's signed up for what you know, what's popular and stream those things out.

I think that it's still worth it. But to your point about hybrid, I think that people are really starting to rethink like what those strategies are and how they're interacting with those different audiences. Cause you're right. You need almost like a planner that's on site and a virtual planner that's doing the other stuff because it's and same thing with production.

You need, we decided, at one of our conferences that we needed a virtual producer because just having the switcher in the room wasn't enough. We needed presets for all the virtual streaming things. We needed people dedicated to what that experience looked like. It made a world of a difference.

Brandt: And it's not that it's not more expensive. It is. It's more expensive. It's more complicated, but it's not double, right? that's what a lot of people are posting is somehow people have got it into their heads that if you're doing this kind of thing, it's somehow double the cost. If you're already at a, a lot of most medium sized corporate shows, right? Already have a camera, already have lights, already have sound. So then it's just a matter of strapping into that existing infrastructure and then pushing it out to a live stream. So you're maybe adding a little bit of hardware and one other person to monitor, to make sure that it sounds good and looks good and things like that.

Not counting like a virtual host, or like you say, having somebody who's there, who's dedicated to thinking through that planning strategy and things like that. But from an actual, like, how much does it cost standpoint? It's not that much more to be able to accommodate those types of things.

Alyssa: We might be the ones to blame on that one, Rachel. What was our tagline? One event, two experiences. Two events, one experience. I don't remember what it

Brandt: it is, it absolutely is. You have to think through this.

Alyssa: Certainly on the experience side. yes. Just thinking through the two events that you're having to manage, essentially. Two budgets.

Rachel: I want to circle back on a point you made and only just because I want our listeners to, I saw this question. So you said that one of the biggest trends in a negative way, is the increase of costs. What, do we know why? Does anyone just say out there, is it just labor? Is it revenge revenue?

Like what, why are we, cause you know what really like jerks my chain or whatever the saying is, you're talking to the executive team at a company and you're like, okay, here are the costs and, for years, maybe this is old school thinking, but they're like, what are the fixed costs versus the variable costs?

And they always think that AV is a fixed cost. And I always have to fight with them on that and say, it's not a fixed cost. It depends on your programming. It depends on like the audiences that we're going after. It depends on the growth. So just, why is it going up?

Brandt: The answer is E, all of the above, right? . It's,that's, unfortunately, it really is. Yeah. Like I think, I do think there's, you called it revenge pricing. I can't help but feel there's some of that, right? Like we've lost revenue for three years, we’ve got to claw it back any way we possibly can.

And that's why you're seeing. you're seeing venues dig in a little harder about, no, you have to use the in house AV or we're going to charge you X percentage. And then if you don't use the in house AV, then you need to have a liaison and we're going to charge you 10 times as much for the wifi. And it's definitely brewing out there that there's things are coming to a head in the in house AV model. Let me put it that way.

Rachel: Yeah, I just, the shadow situation has just bopped into my mind. I just, the fact that, you can have someone be doing one thing and you need somebody with them holding their hand, it's just, I get it, there's unions, we have to be fair, but

Brandt: And to be clear, this isn't all union stuff, but yeah, it's, there's some of that. And then, wages are up across the board, right? Everybody's struggling. And yet we're also under-hired, so all industries, event industry, venues, hotels, busing, airlines, everybody's shorthanded right now, which means wages are going up.

And so the largest increase on our side, as far as costs are our wages. And we really try to. keep the best freelancers at, as close as possible, right? So we're trying to keep those folks happy. And if they're being offered more somewhere else, we need to offer more. And so that's a big part of it as well.

So you've got some revenge pricing. You've got an overall shortage of labor in the market, which drives labor costs up. we're seeing similarly difficulty than staffing. So you've got fewer people available. So especially in the in house, AV companies, you'll see, 2 people running a show where we, we would run it as seven people. So there's the, but you're getting charged the same or more. And so it's a lot of those things come and then equipment costs, right? So we had, everybody's favorite term from the last two years, supply chain issues, right? So we literally can't get, so DSAN, those little perfect cue clickers that everybody, they're like the gold standard for advanced slide, advancers, you can't get them.

Right now, they're literally, if you order them now, you might see them next year.

And so we're struggling with that as well, being able to get equipment in and in a reasonable amount of time, which makes it harder to refresh your inventory, which means now we're dealing with older gear and across of a lot of AV companies.

Rachel: It's more expensive because it doesn't, it's on a priority.

Brandt: Yeah. If I'm able though, I would love to give some, I've been trying to help folks through this. Like how do we get through these AV cost things? And so I do have a top three or four things that I could bang out pretty quickly. I know we don't want to go on and on all day, but if you'd be open to that, I'd love to just bang through some of those just to help folks out.

Rachel: Yeah. No, please do. Please help us.

Brandt: I know it's again, it's a soapboxy moment. So I did, I wanted to make sure, but so the biggest thing is don't sign the contracts until you've really, truly read to see what the audio visual clauses are in there, because a lot of times they're pretty clean.

And then a lot of times they're pretty rough. And especially some of the newer contracts that we're seeing are requiring things like, if you don't use the in house AV, we're going to make you have a liaison for 1200 bucks a day. We're going to, the wifi is going to be $40,000 instead of $9,000, which is already overpriced.

So really making sure. And so the phrase that pays, and if you do a little Googling around, you'll find a better contract clause, but essentially you want a clause in there that says any and all fees must be enumerated in this contract, right? So you need to know what those numbers are so that you can negotiate them.

If it just says there will be a fee for it, and you don't know what it is, and people are having to sign now a year out two years out because there's a shortage of venues as well, people are getting locked into these contracts that say there will be a fee, but then we don't know what it is. And so then they can literally just make it be whatever they wanted to do.

So that's step one is don't sign anything until you've really done a hardcore search to see which clauses in your venue contract have to do with audio visual services. And this is going to sound totally self-serving, but I, if you go back and listen to me 10 years ago, I said the same thing 10 years ago and 15 years ago, always get a bid from a third party company.

Even if you intend to use the in house AV, always get a third party bid. Cause at the very least you can then go back to them and say, hey, I really want to use you guys, but it's literally triple what I can get it for over here, can you work with me to bring it down? So just being able to show them those numbers and say, hey, can you please just meet me halfway or something along those lines is definitely number two.

And then number three is, really making sure that you're keeping an eye on your schedule. I know it sounds like such a dumb thing, but there's a huge difference once you hit overtime and things like that, that people aren't really considering. And when we do the traditional general session sandwich of you show up, you have breakfast, you have the general session, then you go to breakouts for most of the day.

And then you come back at four. A lot of times what's happening is that general session crew is sitting around doing nothing during that entire middle section of the day. And so if you don't have them come back for that one hour session at four o'clock, you can save half a day's pay on sometimes 12, 15, 20 people, depending on how big your general session staff is. And so just looking at your schedule and thinking about where's my general sessions, where are my breakouts? How many people do I need for all of those things that can go a long way towards the difference between, a couple thousand dollars in staffing to tens of thousands of dollars.

Alyssa: And just to stress that grant again, not to keep going back to this webinar that I've done, but we've talked been talking about breaking from the status quo or thinking creatively, more out of the box creative thinking. And I think part of this is we have. Had agenda templates, if you will, that we've pretty much taken off the shelf and run because we know they work, but they might not be working for our budgets.

And do we really have to have that sandwich? I love that metaphor because we know that exactly. but, yeah, it's just, it's just to stress it to underscore what you're saying. It really falls into that. Think differently, break the rules, pilot new things for the purpose of savings, but also might be fine for attendees as well. Right?

Brandt: They may be tired at that time of day anyway, right? You've been in breakouts all day. You've been having these amazing sessions. Now I got to come back and listen to one more hour long session on whatever. And if I could give one more quick example of that, like the other one is the all-dayer, right?

Where AV team comes in at six o'clock in the morning, unloads a truck, sets it all up, rehearsals at three shows at five band comes on at 10 done by midnight, now we got to strike it because we don't have the venue booked for another day. Sometimes it's worth looking at. Is it less expensive to book the venue one more day and have the AV team come back the next day to strike it than it is to have, again, 20 people in double overtime because you've been working an 18 hour day since six o'clock in the morning.

So thinking that through as well as I know it seems like a cost saving measure, like we're just going to do it in one day, but if you really look at, okay, how much would it cost to have that space for an additional half a day, everybody comes in fresh the next morning and strikes it all then and puts it on the truck so that we're not in double.

Rachel: I guess it begs the question to, to partner with your AV company, maybe it on just more than here's what we're doing, get it done. Maybe it's more of a partnership of, hey, does this look like we would be placing these sessions in the right times labor wise? Like I've never even thought that way. So maybe it's just tweaking your mindset a little bit to

Brandt: That's certainly the way I like to approach it, right? I would much rather be in the conversation as opposed to an order taker, like anybody, anybody can own gear. That's the thing about AV, right? Anybody can own lights and sound and speakers and things like that. So how do you differentiate yourself?

And so for me, that's what I try and focus on, right? Is being that trusted partner. Let me look at that contract before you sign it. Like I'm, I've seen all the tricks in the book at this point, when it comes to sneaky AV clauses in venue contracts. So even, I always say, even if you haven't booked us, let me take a look at it.

If you're even thinking about booking us, let me take a look at it so that we don't get hosed later on so that you don't get hosed. And we don't get hosed.

Rachel: I wish everyone would take a page out of that book, to be honest, it would help. I would help a lot, but maybe there's too many politics involved at this point. Who knows?

Brandt: Sometimes people just want the cheapest, I just want to, I'm going to go, it's basically doing the Amazon thing, right? I'm going to go on my AV and I'm just going to, one bid and whoever's the cheapest, I'm going to go with it. So it's just, that's sometimes the easy button works too.

Rachel: Yeah. Brandt, I really appreciate coming on the podcast. I wanted to ask one, one final question. What is, I know we talked a couple of trends, like what are some recommendations to a planner and a hoteliers that we, we have both that listen to our podcast, but any kind of like final words, final trends that they should be keeping an eye out?

I know, we had a couple here on our sheet, but just curious, like any final words from you. I know you gave like the, here are the top 3, but…

Brandt: I feel bad. Cause we were, yeah, we focus on the negative, but yeah, there's fun stuff coming along too. It's absolutely, we're definitely playing with AI. This feels different to me. Then metaverse of, a year ago, it feels different to me than I have two years ago.

I don't know. People seem to have forgotten that, that was the big marketing buzzword in our business three years ago, right? It was right before the pandemic. It was AI AI AI. At that time they meant machine learning. Now they mean this generative AI, but this does feel a little different. This kind of chat GPT generative AI thing, not because it's going to replace us or anything like that.

So I am encouraging planners to play with it because it does feel like a thing more than metaverse felt like a thing, that this is something that's going to start sneaking into our events slowly, but surely, especially for creators, right? So when you need some artwork quickly for an event program or something like that, it helps you get over the blank page and it's not to say that whatever it spits out is going to be perfect, especially the chat stuff is not perfect, but it gives you over the blank page. And so I would strongly encourage people to play around with AI. Do the things we've talked about, when it comes to your audio visual systems, other trends, definitely feels like the network of vacation of AV is a trend.

And so what we're starting to see is more networking infrastructure as opposed to lots and lots of cables. Which is awesome from our end because now you can run a fiber cable, a single fiber cable from backstage to front stage without having to run a cat snake with 12 channels and power and all kinds of crazy things like that, but it's also more complicated.

And so you need someone on your team who's be able to actually use those resources. But that's another thing that we're definitely seeing as well is the continued, I mentioned it earlier, the continued blurring of the lines between IT and AV.

Rachel: Love it. Thank you so much for joining us today on great events, Brandt. we really appreciate your time. And I feel like there's so many great nuggets in here that I mean, I learned, I always learn stuff from your podcast. 

Alyssa: Rach, I could see your wheels turning. You're like, ooh, that's a new way to think about things. Yeah, it's always very refreshing when we take something away, not just for our listeners too. I know that's always the case.

Rachel: Yeah. So I'm sure our listeners will eat this up and definitely reach out to Brandt Krueger on LinkedIn. If you have any more questions, he's always a wealth of knowledge. And, I first saw Brandt and I think 2016 or 2017, at IMEX and it was eye opening then to hear him then. So it's just, thank you

Brandt: That's probably a lot of the same stuff. I'll be honest with you. Some of this doesn't change. It's just, I'll just keep standing up here preaching and maybe someday they'll start to listen.

Rachel: Thank you for that. Our industry is better for it, so I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. And to our rockstar listeners, thanks for joining us today for another Great Events podcast. If you have anything additional to share with us or questions, please reach out to us at greatevents@cvent.com. As always, thanks for listening and thanks for tuning into great events. See you next time.