Summer 2020 Takeaways

Desk Jockeys, Take Note

Two brothers, engineers Tony and Terry Pearce, were creating high-tech carbon fiber sporting goods and wheelchairs when their wheelchair testers expressed a need for better seat cushioning. The challenge culminated in the duo inventing Hyper-Elastic PolymerTM, a soft but strong material that can be molded into a shape that relaxes under pressure points, redistributing the pressure to other areas. While Purple subsequently came to be known for their bed mattresses, which utilize the material, they also offer seven seat cushion models. The patented Purple GridTM structure resists compression, providing comfort and promoting good posture over long periods of time. The models best suited for people sitting 5 to 8 or more hours per day are the Royal, Double, and Ultimate ($79-$129). Cushion comes with removable, machine-washable black cover. 30-day free trial.


Block Out the Noise

With the distractions inherent in working from home (WFH, for the acronym-inclined), it’s helpful to have tools that can block it all out. If you’ve never tried noise-cancelling headphones, now may be the time. You can easily spend upwards of $300 on a top-shelf model, but there are excellent alternatives. Our pick is the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2. Bluetooth connectivity means no wires. They are slim in design, comfortable in fit. Audio is clean, and noise cancellation technology is effective (won’t match Bose, though). Controls on the outside of the earcups enable playback, volume control, noise cancellation control (3 settings), and phone call management. Sensors pause your music when you take off the set or answer a call. 24-hour battery life. Approximately $135 on Amazon.

All Rise

Transitioning between sitting and standing throughout a long workday provides numerous health benefits, including increased blood flow and reduced aches and pains. Standing periodically also helps the mind stay alert and productive. Standing desk technology has come a long way, particularly with the emergence of platforms that can convert your sitting desk to a standing desk with the push of a button (or, in this case, the squeeze of a handle). This “desk riser” from VIVO uses a pneumatic spring lift to enable the transition. Counterbalance tension adjusts to the weight of your desk and everything on it for easy upwards movement. The keyboard tray is removable. Adjust to your desired height anywhere between 6.5” and 17” from the desk surface. This model is the 36-inch VIVO DESK-VOOOV. $180 on Amazon.

Powering Live Sessions Online

In the scope of your live events, you also need technology to, essentially, livestream your sessions and provide some controls and interactivity. Webinar technology is the most effective solution — and among the many options is the up-and-coming Demio. It’s modern and smart. Participants can join with a single click; no need to download software. Sessions stream in HD, minimizing delays and disturbances. The ability to share up to three webcams enables panel discussions and participation from audience members. Other features include branded registration pages, automatic notifications to remind users of upcoming sessions, interactive polls, Q&A management, and strong analytics. Download your webinar recordings in .MP4 format and then host them using Wistia for a complete solution. Three tiers available, ranging from $34 to $163 per month; 14-day free trial.

Host Your Own

If like many publishing brands, you’re putting on virtual events, you may be looking for a way to host your event videos — whether pre-recorded or after-the fact. The choice comes down to this: If you want to use your videos to expand your reach, host them on YouTube. Your viewers will have to go there to view them, but YouTube will put your content in front of many other eyeballs. However, if you want to keep traffic on your website and utilize tools to further engage these viewers, consider a video-hosting platform like Wistia. This platform enables you to embed your videos into your own website; offers marketing features like enabling users to subscribe to your video channel; and provides in-depth analytics. Get an aggregated view of a video’s performance, or drill down to see how individual viewers are watching. Automatic SEO makes your videos crawlable and indexable for Google, meaning they contribute to your site’s authority and search relevance. Three tiers available: Free, Pro ($99 per month), and Advanced (pricing available upon request).

Light as a …

Another component to virtual events: marketing. Current digital marketing technology provides lots of great opportunities to get in front of your targeted audience as they go about their online lives. But managing digital advertising across different platforms can feel overwhelming. Feathr is a tool designed for event organizers and associations to help you manage event, sponsorship, and membership campaigns in one place. It offers three capabilities to do this — ad management, referral marketing, and digital sponsorship packages — but the key is Feathr’s ability to track and analyze individual behavior. Put Feathr’s code on your content to track each user’s visits and clicks, and then Feathr automatically segments your audience, identifying patterns, giving you insights into how people behave, and letting you know which groups might be the best to target for the action you want them to take. Such a tool can help you boost engagement and increase your ROI.