Back in the old days, there were “proceedings.” Those were the printed books containing hundreds of pages of research abstracts that were handed out to conference attendees. It represented a significant – albeit necessary – expense in design, printing and distribution (books are heavy!). But that was the only way to share information.
Today, there are many content distribution options to printed books, says John Berglund, Mira Smart Conferencing CEO. “Digital media has completely changed the way conference organizers look at content.”
CDs are, in many ways, ideal because they’re inexpensive and offer a good amount of “real estate” on their cases for sharing visual and printed messages. “CDs are still very popular,” said Berglund. “They’re digitally searchable on any device with an optical drive and they don’t require an internet connection.”
“Books, USB Drives, CDs and Cloud Solutions are not mutually exclusive,” said Berglund. “They exist together and fill very different needs. For instance, while traveling, it may be more convenient to access abstracts through a smartphone or tablet. But, in an office environment, the book may be a more effective research tool.”
There’s no arguing that the new digital media are compelling to a growing number of people. As smartphones find their way into the hands of more and more users, those users are looking for ways to utilize the technology in their lives. USB Drives are highly customizable, thanks to advances in 3D printing. “Even though the cloud is probably the least expensive option out there, we’re seeing growing numbers of organizations putting their own identities on thumb drives and handing them out to conference attendees.”
An additional benefit to using USB Drives is their ability to be rewritten, unlike CDs, Books or Cloud storage. A customized Thumb Drive makes for a great gift that is useful. Even if the attendee never views the abstracts, he can still use the drive as a storage device and will remember the conference each time.
It’s basic anthropology. We like to give gifts. There’s something generous and personal when an object is given or received; when value is imparted. “Whatever media you select, the value of generosity will never go away,” said Berglund.