Where technology’s influence starts and stops

By Paul Williams, Technical Director, FIX8Group

0161 480 8881

As a leading provider of creative and technical event solutions, FIX8Group has a complex relationship with technology. In some ways we rely on it – but only to an extent. Technology enables us to do lots of things – from efficient collaboration, planning and previsualisation, to the creation of powerful, flexible and reliable control systems and the delivery of amazing sound and vision for special events on the grandest scale.

Paul Williams

But technology always takes a back seat to purpose. FIX8Group exists to add value for our clients by understanding the aims of their event, and then designing the technical solutions which best meet those aims. It’s why we don’t rely on stocking a large number of ‘output devices’ – by which we mean the lights, loudspeakers, screens and projectors that deliver the sensory environment. Instead, we stock the infrastructure that sits behind it all – the networking, the control systems, the media playback systems – and work with like-minded suppliers to source the right output tools. 

Technology facilitates our planning processes. The sharing of information with clients, creatives, suppliers and venues is a daily occurrence, often across borders and time-zones. The tools we use to collaborate – video conferencing, file sharing and cloud-based project management software, for example – have revolutionised the speed and efficiency of these processes. 

We take time to understand the aims of your event, and then design technical solutions which best meet them

When designs need to be approved, sophisticated previsualisation software gives the client an accurate vision of the end result, before a single item of kit has left our warehouse. If even more accurate insight is needed, technology now gives us the option to provide VR previsualisation. 

Then there’s the technology we’re all familiar with – smartphones, tablets, apps and social media – which also impacts on how we service projects. Clients want their events to communicate a message, and how they do that changes all the time. We have to be aware of those trends: we can’t rely on the way it was done five years ago.

An example? There are concert productions now where the set is designed in a portrait format rather than the traditional, wide-stage, landscape orientation – and the reason is Instagram. Artists and production designers are recognising how their audiences share information, and they want their shows to be Instagram-friendly photo opportunities that can go viral on the users’ favourite app.

And, of course, technology solutions are not necessarily all about how things are done now. What’s possible today is fine for a one-off event or even for a concert tour, but for a permanent installation – which may have a shelf-life of 10 years or more – we have to look into the future. When we designed the AV and networking infrastructure for a motorhome for the SportPesa Racing Point Formula 1 paddock, we had to be sure it would remain an effective marketing tool in 10 years’ time, without having to start again every year.

Just as communication technology doesn’t set the agenda of a meeting, when it comes to creating events, technology doesn’t dictate the solution. Technology is the servant, and your aim is King.

To find out more about how we can help with your next event, contact us today.

0161 480 8881