Ciaran Mullaney #003
Thank you for joining us!
On Tonight’s episode of ILET, we speak with Ciaran Mullaney, Owner of Events Tag US and Co-Founder at Manhattan Digital. Ciaran talks to us about how he ended up in events and how his products and services are adapting to the new climate, including having to re-think an entire zoo installation at the start of COVID.
For more information on Ciaran and what his companies can offer, check out the below:
And now your event technology expert and host, Joel Martin.
Joel Martin 0:19
Welcome back guys. And as promised, we have Ciaran Mullaney from Events Tags US, We Are Interact. How you doing, buddy?
Ciaran Mullaney 0:27
I’m good Joel. I’m good. How are you doing? Thanks for thanks for having me on.
Joel Martin 0:30
Good, good. Good to see you. Man, it’s been ages. I last saw you in Vegas, right? We were….
Ciaran Mullaney 0:36
In Vegas… Yeah, in a very, very different time when people could stand next to each other and actually talk face to face.
Joel Martin 0:42
That’s right IRL. I mean, it was. Geez. And you had a great booth, like always with? I think I remember the post office the the bot.
Ciaran Mullaney 0:52
We did. We had it, we had our mailbox or little mailbox postcard thing. So yeah, it was. Yeah, it was very strange. That was nearly a year ago. So it’s been around…
Joel Martin 1:01
Time flies in the age of technology in the post COVID world. But I’m glad you’re on here. Because you have event tech that I love, which is the point of the show. And I think you guys have pivoted, you made a couple of announcements on LinkedIn I saw and I was like, I gotta get this guy on the show. Because you know, with We Are Interact, which is a leader and experiences and theme parks, which I’ve worked with you guys that feel I love it. And Events Tag, which has always been, you know, cutting edge in the photobooth industry. And I was in that industry as well with the MP. So I think I love what you’re doing how you pivoted to contactless experiences. And I want to share with our audience a little bit more about that. And maybe you can get well hold on hold on. You know what, I’ve gotten ahead. I always do this. I’m rushing. I’ve had 3 coffees today. Tell me your story, your background, like two minutes, where you keep. How did you get into events? How did this happen?
Ciaran Mullaney 1:53
Sure. So it was it was a strange one, my background was television, I worked in post production. And I love technology. I’m not I’m not a techie hands on type of person or developer, but I love technology. And I had an opportunity to go and work at a company and where we were using RFID and social media to basically enhance social reach at events. And I sort of grew from there, really. And I met the team at Events Tag.
Joel Martin 2:20
Was this Theme Parks?
Ciaran Mullaney 2:22
More for more experiential. So we were trying to break into theme parks, we talked to a few theme parks, a lot of conferences that we did, and taking that sort of dull conference element out and try to create something a bit more fun. And then we worked we worked on a project for the Premier League. And out in India where they had a huge band Park. And we used our RFID technology to create gamification they had like soccer event where you could count the kicks and all these different things. And no matter what the the Events Tag team and thought, Hey, you guys are doing some really cool stuff with the photo technology. Why don’t we… Why don’t we combine this with with RFID. We sort of grew from there. And I as you can, as you know, and most people can probably tell him not from the US from from Ireland originally.
Joel Martin 2:36
Ciaran Mullaney 3:03
I know. I know. Who knew right. And so and I then decided that we were going to grow the US business. So I moved out here to sunny LA, which is million miles away from from wet and cold Northern Ireland. But yeah, we we, you know, I just I just love I love technology. I love new technology, I love finding out what’s new and being involved in and being at the forefront of it and having some really, really cool clients who trust in us to push that technologies has been been great. And so that’s sort of where my background came from. I’m, I’m one of those annoying people that you know, love technology and think I know more about it than I do. So when I tell our developers or I get a client and I sell them an idea, and then go back to the team and say, I’ve sold this, can you make it? They’re like, No,
Joel Martin 4:05
I’m always a step ahead… Put the software in too..
Ciaran Mullaney 4:08
Exactly, exactly. Yes. So clients love me or developers hate me.
Unknown Speaker 4:16
What do you mean the robot can’t talk back to you? Of course it can? I have robot here..
Ciaran Mullaney 4:21
Yeah, I’ve seen it on TV.
Joel Martin 4:26
Let’s Let’s segway into what what are you guys doing now? Show me what you’ve evolved into. Like maybe you could share some some tidbits with us. Like Where is this?
Ciaran Mullaney 4:36
Yes, so for us, I mean, Events Tag, we primarily focused on sort of, you know, experimental tech, what can we do for people that are capturing a moment of being at an event? Times have obviously changed and we’re like, how do we do that and make sure people can still do that but from the safety of the comfort of their own home. So we we’ve pivoted in terms of like, all of our stuff was digital. Anyway, we always created this digital experiences but just in real life, and now we’ve taken those two to too online.
Joel Martin 5:06
So, that screen we’re gonna share with you.
Ciaran Mullaney 5:09
Yeah, let me show you. So… uh. hold. on
Joel Martin 5:15
I spent a lot of time at VidCon. And throughout different different trade shows where we, we were there together with Events Tag. It’s funny cuz you guys were also a DMP client with the paper and everything. And I think I’ve seen, you know this, there’s an overlap between the physical, the digital world and the next stage of social mobile, where this is all going right with the shareable experiences. And now shareable has become this with the screen, you know, we’re staring at screen more than ever before. Do you have that screen Now?
Ciaran Mullaney 5:47
I did I do. So hopefully, you can. Hopefully, you can see that now.
Joel Martin 5:50
There we go.I love that color. It’s like we’re together again…
Ciaran Mullaney 5:55
Exactly. And… because that was the thing people like, I don’t know about you. But I find when we first went into lockdown, I just missed that togetherness of working in a team and working in an office and looking over to your colleague and said, Hey, what do you think about this? And, you know, don’t get me wrong. It was, it was great for a while, you know, being at home and not having to travel. But I missed the traveling piece. And obviously great to spend more time with your family. And but I still missed that interaction. So we, we built this software where we created that element of us still being together. So my gift together piece that you can see here…
Joel Martin 6:30
Your post is not that you’ve actually gone anywhere. It’s that you’re on Instagram with all your virtual buddies. Right.
Ciaran Mullaney 6:36
Exactly. And it’s you as a team…
Joel Martin 6:38
It’s great from the side, it’s great from the back. It’s great everywhere…
Ciaran Mullaney 6:41
Yes. Exactly. Exactly. So let’s, you know, this was this was quite cool. This was the kind of things that we were looking at, how do we how do we bring people together? And we’ve been working on a lot of
Joel Martin 6:53
This is AR? augmented? Yeah. Okay…
Ciaran Mullaney 6:55
Yea. We work with, we work with a big automotive client recently. Where I mean that that was a really interesting one.
Joel Martin 7:03
They were my guys at at 302. And, and 302 interactive in code form. This is all they do all day long. So I think…
Ciaran Mullaney 7:10
Yea, of course. We we tried to create this as like a second screen experience. So we have this this event where the client would usually get probably around 150 to 175,000 people attend the event. This year, we did it all online, and they had over 2 million. So I mean, it’s just just crazy. Just to show the difference. The audiences are growing, which is fantastic. That’s the one bright spot, right? They really are. And you know, we try to create the AR pieces as something that people can have that second screen experience. So you’re on a zoom call, you’re watching an event online, it’s cool. How else do we bring that in into your home? And for everyone, it’s all great…
Joel Martin 7:51
You’re hitting on that here. I think this is where we want to we want to we want to talk a little bit about. Safely in the age of COVID. Right? We have throttling people as they go into the event, right? Setting up on your phones, make sure that you know what are you next in line? I mean, I think that’s like one of the the biggest, there we go capacity counters love that. You need to integrate this sorry, with a great idea here for you got to integrate this with the sanitation device. I mean, how many times, are you here when you scan your hand?
Ciaran Mullaney 8:21
Yep. And people, people are more normally just businesses to people in general want to know that? It’s like, it’s that reminder. I mean, I always remember I had an app to tell me to drink water. You know, how many glasses of water have I drink today?
Joel Martin 8:34
I need that app. What app is that.
Ciaran Mullaney 8:37
Yeah, it’s called my wife. It was like, Yes. How many glasses of what have you drank? Yeah, it’s, um, yeah, so it’s, you know, it’s those kinds of things. And that’s what we’ve looked at we, we use RFID technology and I certainly have for the last seven or eight years at events, and it’s always been one that people have been slow to get on board with. But now more people are more and more people are seeing all the benefits work, it’s not having to touch those screens not having to touch them. It’s, it’s great, you know, when we’ve tied in other bits around virtual queuing, so rather than stand in a queue with 100 other people up close it’s go get your place in the queue and go do something else or go stand six feet away from someone and we’ll tell you when it’s your time to come. You know, so it’s it’s those kind of things that we’ve been looking at to adapt to this current climate.
Joel Martin 9:29
So I see that the virtual virtual bit. What else you got? Come on, show me some more.
Ciaran Mullaney 9:32
So I’m gonna show you some other good stuff too. What?
Joel Martin 9:36
I love that registration.. check in.. we got we got some, some good applications here, which are contactless. You don’t even have to touch the screen anymore. You can just scan right?
Ciaran Mullaney 9:46
Yes. And we’re trying to deny we were in the process of putting in an installation at a zoo actually in the UK. And we were due to start in March installation of then everything had put on hold. Client came back and said, right? We’re ready to go again. But we got to change the whole concept. We can’t have people touching screens… So we’re like, what, what do we do? So we put it, we put it onto people’s mobiles. So it’s like. Great. You come, you buy your ticket, we, we create the experience. So you can interact with each of the screens. So there’s a photo booth, there’s different experiences, but it’s all controlled through your handset. So you’re not touching screens, and things like a dashboard. So again, it’s like, rather than go and touch a screen to download your content, everything is automatically pushed to your device. So it’s all there for you to see…
Joel Martin 10:37
We need more phone cleaners is what you are saying… Because I don’t know where else you’ve been today….
Ciaran Mullaney 10:41
Joel Martin 10:44
Light cleaning and all sorts of cleaning for your phone is going to be essential. Okay, so mobile, a huge part of it, which is funny because I got my, my start experience with charging. And, and it could, it’s gonna be more important than ever, I guess, with all the other requirements that we’re gonna have in our phones. Gamification. Of course, always we got to make sure things are fun..
Ciaran Mullaney 11:05
Indeed. And we’ve done we’ve been doing a lot of these sort of smaller sort of physical events, but also more of the digital stuff. So we’ve gamified things like. I think you may have seen, some we had like a social slot. Let me see if it’s on the the next page, I’m going to jump ahead a couple of slides just and so like this, for example. So the social slot is a really good this is an example of when we had in a in a live venue. And then this is an example of when we did it online. So it’s still How do you get people to feel that they’re part of something? How do you create that excitement?
Joel Martin 11:37
You got to hit the gong!
Ciaran Mullaney 11:39
Yea. Yea. I love the sound effects. I love it. And so yeah, this is this is some of the stuff that we’ve been doing. And we’ve also been looking at, how do we create more sort of traditional sites for people to come to so people get people get bored of zoom, and just having zoom calls all of the time? We are, we are,
Joel Martin 12:03
What is future? Show me something? Maybe Maybe we take off the screens is what you do now? Where do you see this headed? Three months from now?
Ciaran Mullaney 12:11
It’s good question. So, um, I mean, for us, like, where I see, I step back for a second, I see us going more into like a fully immersive world. So we’ve been talking to some clients, and where they want us to build more of like a, like a game. So putting you in, like a computer game and a virtual world, that you walk around in a full 360. But through your computer, so not not necessarily through VR, but it’s how do we take that VR experience, but put it here on a screen that everyone can enjoy…
Joel Martin 12:45
Oculus, but you’re saying like on a 2d screen?
Ciaran Mullaney 12:48
Yea. you’re still giving, give this the senses more like, people
Joel Martin 12:52
Like RPG a video game?
Ciaran Mullaney 12:54
Yeah, yeah. And I think a lot of people relate to like the Google Street, Street View, idea, that kind of movement, but obviously more interactive and having, you know, so you might be at a conference or an exhibition, and you go up to a stand, or you go up to a kiosk, and that kiosk comes to life. And it’s that sense of moving around. And you may see who else is. Who else is there with you. And that’s, that’s where I see it going. It’s like if we, if we get to a point where, we can get people to feel like they’re still part of an event and still there with other people. And it’s not just a one, one to one through screen. It’s that one to and with many others.
Joel Martin 13:33
Yeah. And I’ve experienced that recently watching a show or movie. And having the group view and having everybody’s reactions. It’s it’s kind of funny, it’s we’re in that Logan’s Run world man, it says, it’s, it’s a little crazy. Okay, that’s a good, that’s a good vision. And I know we have Event Tech happening next week. Here in Orlando, they’re going to have BizBash. I know that Vegas its Event Tech remote, right, where everybody’s attending virtually. So things are slowly happening in the experiential and tradeshow world, not like they used to. I know that in the UK, it’s the same thing with event tech live, it’s that’s on hold for now. But I feel like the real experiences like the ones that you’ve shown, are going to be very, very relevant as we especially post election, as we go back to a real world with a vision of where things should be headed, right? We’ve been talking a lot about wearables, you showed RFID some people are talking about that I’m going to have on the show or wearable temperature technology that monitors you with while you’re in a venue or a theme park. You know, not only can you pay with it, but it’s also constantly monitoring who you interacted with. Sort of like certainly contact tracing and so I see all of that being part of this ecosystem. So it’s great to see you guys who have always been innovators and leaders in the field, you know, showcase what you can do on the virtual screen. So that’s very cool, man. Props to you guys. Props toevents tag for for doing Ythat…
Ciaran Mullaney 15:00
Yea, it’s been it’s been tough. You know, everyone’s had had their moments and you know, we certainly have as well, but it’s, it’s, you know, the way I look at it is you could have easily gone. Okay, well, that are well finished and just pack up your bags and go home, or go, how do we turn this around and turn it into something else? And, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve gone right? We’ve got a team of smart people, we all love tech, we’re all see this as an opportunity to do something, something else and make something out of it. And yeah, it’s had its moments, but but we’re all we’re all still here. And I think
Joel Martin 15:30
Oh wait that’s the gong… We’re coming up on time… So. Any last thoughts of the post COVID world, what are we. Last thought. Where we going with this?
Ciaran Mullaney 15:39
I mean. I think there’s still going to be a bit of time. And I think there’s a lot of there’s a lot of innovation still to come out of this period. And I think, you know, events have changed. But I think for one way, the better because we have had to innovate, and new cool technologies that have come out of it. And that’s only going to be more prevalent when events do come back again, I don’t think suddenly those will get parked. It’s not how do we adapt those into what what becomes of
Joel Martin 16:05
It’s like a pinata. The world is changing. CiaranI love talking to you like always. And just like me have the technology and I think you guys have pivoted, you’ve adapted. You’re staying strong. I love what I’m seeing. I love what I’m hearing, and I can’t wait to have you back on the show.
Ciaran Mullaney 16:22
Thank you Joel.
Joel Martin 16:23
Check out the website down here. Make sure you subscribe. And thank you for watching the show this week. Stay tuned. We’re gonna have another event technologists on the show next week. Ciaran. Thanks buddy.
Ciaran Mullaney 16:33
Thanks Joel. Thanks very much appreciate. Good chatting.
Joel Martin 16:35
No. Pleasures, all mine. Bye.