Charging Your Gadgets During a Conference

March 28, 2010

in Ideas

Conference delegates, especially in tech events, are nowadays armed with at least one of the following: a mobile phone or smartphone, a laptop, a digital photo or video-camera and – soon soon enough- a tablet (welcome iPad!). The elevated number of gadgets per capita in use at an these events makes it a common scene that many people will be desperately looking for a power socket to recharge her almost dead phone/computer/videocamera (any iPhone owners might find themselves well represented). Unfortunately most venues haven’t yet coped with the gap of an infrastructure created without considering easily available electrical power for the attendees. It just wasn’t needed a few years ago.

South by Southwest (SXSW) 2010 edition attracted thousands of visitors which often carried several of the gadgets listed above. SXSW Interactive in particular raved with hordes power-hungry geeks (I count myself amongst them) and you know what? It was very easy to find an available power socket and even an “energy-locker” where you could leave your mobile phone to charge without having to worry from it being stolen.

Paradoxically, the only places where power sockets weren’t readily accessible were in the middle of the bigger conference rooms (there were only a few electric outlets at the back of the room and on the sides, but the rooms where just too big for it to be practical).

If you’re managing a tech event -but not only- providing plenty of ways for getting electrical power and wireless Internet access is now a must, part of the basic service, and not an extra anymore. Venues, particularly older ones, will take some time to adapt but there are several things you can do to improve the situation and maybe offer some brand exposure to sponsors (see photos below for inspiration).

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Belkin power strip to multiply the sockets offered by the venue

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

See more photos:

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Attendees to SXSW sitting on the floor near to the power outlets at the back and on the sides of the room

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Plenty of places where to plug your laptop during SXSW

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

Charging my laptop and iPhone inside one of the conference rooms

Access to electrical power during SXSW Interactive

She's charging her laptop. He's charging himself.

  • http://liftlab.com/think/laurent Laurent

    No powerplug = better networking because people have to close their laptops?

  • http://www.gchicco.com Gianfranco Chicco

    Sometimes yes… depends on the kind of dynamics you want to create. An interesting thing during SXSW was that a lot of relationships were taking place on the backchannel… which existed only on your device as there were no physical backchannels in the conference rooms. (I discovered people online and later during the following days met them offline)

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