Skip navigation
VR_Person_2019.jpg Image by Andrii Shchuka / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Tops in Tech Tools for Special Events

Special event pros share their go-to tech tools—and the innovations that our industry still needs.

The special event industry is unabashedly high-touch, but the right high-tech tools definitely keep events moving. Here, members of the Special Events Advisory Board share the newest tech tools they turn to, along with a wish list of what needs to be invented next.

WHAT’S WORKING NOW Dialux is free photometric calculation software. It allows us to model a project in 3D space and add realistic and accurate lighting into the space. The calculations it creates can be used for client renders and are used by building departments to verify light levels meet code. It’s easy to use, surprisingly fun, and very precise.” –Mark Baltazar, CEO/managing partner, Broadstreet, New York

“For social media, I will say I love Planoly! The fact that I can pre-schedule my Instagram posts is a life- and time-saver for me.” –Rheana Coon, director of events, To Be Designed, San Diego

“We’ve started using the Timeular [time-tracking system] in the last few months. I was initially really excited about their Bluetooth device for project tracking, but have just been using the free desktop version and really like it. It’s eye-opening to see how much real time is actually consumed by various projects, other people's projects, etc., and being able to easily track that over various periods of time.” For layouts and schematics, “I use SketchUp when I have nontraditional space, like a field with a trail going through it.” –Jen Poyer, CSEP, senior special events manager, Catalina Island Conservancy, Long Beach, Calif.

When it comes to registration systems, “Cvent is the go-to for a lot of companies however, there are a lot of platforms out there gaining traction. We have most recently been utilizing Eventfinity as it is a whole event platform tying together registration, event app, gamification, and experiential activation data.” –Cindy Brewer, CMP, DMCP , principal, LEO Events, Memphis, Tenn.

This Freeman executive salutes the Freeman suite of products she can share with clients, including Freeman Sync for second-screen technology, Freeman Fluent for chatbots, Freeman Luminate for augmented reality and virtual reality, and Freeman Envision for event layouts and renderings. –Pamela M. Patsavas, CSEP, assistant director of client solutions, Freeman, Chicago

WHAT WE STILL NEED Our Advisory Board says the while the tech wizards are at it, there are some tools that still need to be created:

All in one: “I would love to see a complete product with an easy to use system that incorporates everything from registration and guest management to table seating, auction needs, historical participation, etc. Perhaps it is because we are a nonprofit and the resources are not there, but we have so much redundant work to re-enter data from one system to another to get the right information needed to support our event. It would be great to invest that redundant work cost into a system that resolved the redundancy--without costing an arm and a leg.” –Jen Poyer

Let’s talk: “I wish someone would invent a better way for all these different pieces of technology to more seamlessly talk to one another. While true that a lot of products offer APIs [application program interface] and other means of inter-communicating, we are not where we need to be in terms of true inter-operability and a global event solution.” –Cindy Brewer

Let’s get acquainted: The industry needs “an app that will take your event registration information and find other attendees at the event that share your hometown, interests, fields or profession.” –Pam Patsavas

Put that phone down: For weddings, “Perhaps an app that disables cellphone cameras until after the ceremony so the real photographers can get the photos!” –Jen Poyer

See the full story in the Winter 2020 issue of Special Events. Not a subscriber? We can fix that; just click here.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.