Tech leaders from around the globe gathered in New Orleans this month for Collision 2018, the rapidly-growing conference for startups and investors. Tight Ship dispatched our crack team of virtual assistants to find the newest, most compelling tech products and event tools for event professionals, designers, and attendees. There were plenty of goodies, but like last year, we narrowed the list down to some exciting essentials that event professionals need to know about.

Sock It To ‘Em: Ethical Swag

We’re probably still some time away from swag-less conferences, but until then, event professionals who are on the fence about splurging for branded products should check out Ethical Swag. This Canadian company specializes in sustainably-made branded products that don’t come at the expense of people or the planet.

Their operation looks solid; Their suppliers are held to strict quality standards for social compliance, environmental impact, product safety, and supply chain security. Forget those fears about callously contributing to the avalanche of disposable giveaways polluting events everywhere. That won’t happen here!

The Ethical Swag goods include recycled content, they’re conscious of carbon footprints when shipping, and they’re scrupulous about avoiding greenwashing.

They make a point to be selective about what they make, so they’re not just giving away useless stuff that will collect dust or get tossed out—and at Collision, that definitely made a splash, especially with their socks!

Lead Generation is a Snap: The Pixi Cloud

Want to go beyond giveaways and turn attendees into advocates? Pixilated has got you covered. Their new smart photo booth platform is called the Pixi Cloud, and it appears to balance the dopamine hit of an emotional, shareable souvenir with the cold hard data of effective lead capture.

The Pixi Cloud ups the game on basic photo booth rentals by offering marketing ideas to their clients—from corporations at trade shows to nonprofits jonesing for donations and awareness. Attendees can upload each snapshot to social sites, with filters, messages, and tastefully included brand identity—instantly boosting a brand’s profile in a low-key, non-gratuitous way.

What’s super-sharp about this is that Pixilated understands something that will make or break events:  the most memorable keepsakes aren’t necessarily objects, but fun reminders of an event’s great experience. Stuff wears out or gets lost; memories don’t!

A Plethora of Ethics: Event Integrity

This one definitely looked promising, especially for any event professional who’s ever been let down by a vendor. Event Integrity is a Denver-based outfit on a mission to find the most trustworthy, ethical event-related vendors in the game and collect them in one giant, verifiable database reference for event pros. They seek to protect against potential liability and other disreputable practices, with the ultimate goal of elevating event-related businesses who play by the rules and treat their clients fairly.

Their process falls smack-dab between pie-in-the-sky idealism and straight-laced, Elliot-Ness-style scruples. Event Integrity adheres to a rigorous (and proprietary) verification/application process, with every vendor required to re-up their certification on a yearly basis. Raising the behavioral bar for an entire industry is a lofty goal, but these folks seem ready, willing and able to achieve it!

Vocal Locals: Spritely

We found Spritely inspiring because its potential to enrich a traveling attendee’s time in their event’s location. It works by connecting the traveler to a local (and vetted!) “city expert” who acts as a guide for that traveler’s duration in the city.

Travelers can select preferences like destination, relocation/travel, and preferred language—then browse a list of possible guides with whom to chat and book a date/time to connect.  Spritely works for relocation as well—to introduce new residents to an unfamiliar, but permanent locale—but we think it’ll benefit traveling event attendees just as much.

Because sure, when you’re visiting a new place you could hit all the touristy points of interest, or you could hang with locals at the best spots off the beaten path. That kind of personalized experience is pure gold, especially for those of us who really enjoy venturing beyond air-conditioned hotel ballrooms and vast, impersonal trade show floors.

Intuitive Gratuities: Tipary

Pour one out for all the event planners working with musicians and performers, or with cash bars and their serving staff. Everybody in these arrangements will be working hard, and they all deserve a lil’ something extra, right? Tipary removes the waffling and uncertainty of cash-based tipping. This app is sure to make your event smoother and your attendees’ experience easier.

Tipary works on event-friendly devices like tablets or smartphones, and connects to Stripe so tips can go directly to the associated bank account. Suggested tip amounts are standard, so tipping-by-card is simple and easy. The Tipary app and account are both free, but they do charge 30 cents per transaction (plus whatever Stripe charges too).

Still, the benefits seem pretty clear to us: happy attendees, well-compensated (and therefore happy) staff and performers, and an all-around win for any event looking to hire the best people who’ll elevate the overall experience.

The scores of tech-related products and event tools showcased at Collision made it tough to compile a wide-ranging list, but the above favorites hit home for Tight Ship based on our own event production backgrounds. When you hire us to work with your event identity, you’re getting a wealth of experience from both of us—not least because we’ve been in your shoes and we know what you’re up against. Get in touch with us today!