In the digital age, every industry has been affected by technology development and access to the internet, from agriculture to the arts, and everything in between. The conference and events industry is no different. From interactive attention-grabbing trade show stands that leverage multimedia, to iPad-controlled presentations, Bluetooth marketing and RFID (radio frequency ID) activated photo booths, the ICT industry has created a new world of options and experiences for events, conferences, trade shows and training workshops.
As the choices have increased exponentially, so the short-term ICT rental market has grown. Previously, training companies might have needed to rent a projector, a few computers and AV equipment, they may now decide to rent pre-programmed iPads already loaded with training material and any necessary apps.
“Short-term rental makes sense for interim periods where equipment is required for a week or a month or so,” says Jacques de Klerk, Sales Director at RentWorks. “General applications include financial year-ends, special projects, system implementations, disaster recovery and back-up, testing new technologies, training and conferences.”
Core Financial Solutions is poised to serve this market. Rowan Grobler, Channel Manager, explains that the company offers short-term rentals of Apple products – iPads and iMacs – including support. For companies working in the conference, event and training space, much of the material they need to convey to customers is now electronic. With the high cost of buying the technology platform, it makes sense for these players to rent the equipment for the period for which they need that, whether it’s a few days, a week, a month or three months.
“We’ve seen a big drive in the conference industry towards running entire events off an iPad. For example, during COP17, we had a client that gave overseas delegates each an iPad and used it to communicate all necessary information with them,” he says. “It’s an event organiser’s dream. Everything can be run from the device, from registration to the programme, the venue layout and even recommended restaurants in the area.”
Core Financial Solutions offers an end-to-end package, from imaging to delivery, support and insurance. Currently, clients include event management companies, corporates and print media clients.
“Some corporate clients use our services to test the technology before rolling it out,” says Grobler. Core Financial Solutions offers the short-term service throughout South Africa and even sets up WiFi networks for clients who require the service.
Using the digital platform means saving on printing costs and minimising carbon footprints, which are great pluses for training organisations, while event planners may also want to leverage the spin-off benefit of selling advertising on the devices.
An additional advantage for corporate clients is that they are able to access the latest technology – Core Financial Solutions upgrades their Apple products as the newest versions are released.
De Klerk notes that short-term rental clients also have the option to convert the agreement to a long-term contract. RentWorks offers a full range of IT equipment for short-term rental, from laptops to desktops, printers, projectors and other standard IT equipment from a variety of well-known brands.
Different rates are available for different periods. For example, a client wanting to rent equipment for three days would pay a daily rate, while a client looking to rent for a significantly longer period would pay a weekly or monthly rate.
In terms of security, both Core Financial Solutions and RentWorks handle data sanitation for all short-term rentals, ensuring that their clients’ information remains safe.
Grobler notes that should a device be stolen from an event, Core Financial Solutions will remotely wipe the machine clean. The products are also traceable, offering an additional security mechanism.
He believes that the short-term rental market is set to increase in South Africa, and predicts growth in both the corporate and the education sector. In terms of short-term rental of iPads, Grobler believes the next step is to move beyond customisable apps to company-specific apps.
“We’re seeing conference-specific apps being developed and we expect to see corporate developing their own apps too, which we would then pre-load onto the devices,” he says.