Jessica Gonzalez #006
Evolving Event Technology: Helping the Industry Thrive in A Safe Way
Jessica Gonzalez has made a lot of changes since she started out in business. She’s one of the top experts in event technology, predominantly cell phone charging, kiosks tables, and all that good stuff. Her company got its first investment through Newark Venture Partners for VendX, an experiential vending machine. Things were going well, spirits were high, some really big hits were being rolled out including a lot of simple events, and then COVID hit.
Her entire business was shut down overnight.
A lot of people in the events world had to furlough their employees, leaving just a few necessary personnel.
Jessica refused to take this as the final answer and asked her employees to give her just a little bit of time to work out a new plan. Being a mom and an entrepreneur, after the first week of Netflixing, chilling, digesting everything, and drinking everything in her cabinet (her words, not ours!), she got to work.
She went into her basement and started looking at things to help people open back up. At that point, she didn’t know if this pause was going to be two weeks or two months, let alone a year and counting. She started with UVC technology.
All of the cool products started with UVC, which is a source of electrostatic spray technology. She was the only one who had it at the time in the United States, which led to LUX-UVC, InCharged, and VendX.
The Projects and Products
As mentioned earlier, VendX was a new project that used vending machines. The whole idea was quickly adjusted to being a touchless experience using a phone and a QR code. They added QR code technology to enable the customer to complete the whole process from their own phone instead of needing to touch the screen. The way it works is that the QR code pops up, you scan it, and the machine dispenses a sample prize.
VendX geared these prizes towards things that would be useful for being out and about while wearing a mask and trying to stay safe: breath mints, hand sanitizer, moisturizer.
After successfully making the pivot in 2020, the company experienced exponential growth. They moved into the retail space, restaurants- suddenly, they had a lot of different projects underway. They grew around 250% from the previous year. Now, they’re adding layers of technology to help people in events as well as in restaurants.
Developing systems to track results were vital:
Which restaurant was disinfected with what products?
When was your table last disinfected?
They began creating and adding tools, training, and materials to make sure that people weren’t taking greasy rags, wiping down a table, and calling it disinfected.
The QR code was used in conjunction with your mobile device to quickly identify what was used to disinfect that particular table or surface? What formula? What machine?
Every single person who was cleaning a table had to scan the sprayer or the disinfectant, using a QR code on the product, at the time that they cleaned it.
If they used any other product, they had to scan that as well. This meant they had to scan the table, the product, and it even allowed them to see videos on how to properly disinfect it.
This system has naturally integrated onboarding for anyone who is new or old to the team, as well as interested clients. Once you’re done cleaning, you hit done and it’s uploaded to the server, allowing you to then scan the QR code and know that your table was cleaned right before you came.
VendX is currently working with a bunch of different restaurant groups and retail groups to implement this idea on a larger scale. They’re still trying to develop other technologies- for example, building a UVC robot that can autonomously clean a space. They have UDC air purifiers and are committed to developing anything and everything that can keep businesses open and let people find their way together again.
Future Growth for Event Technology
Events are coming back. They’re mostly hybrid streaming events with ticketing, and people are using different event technology platforms, but there are still smaller. However, localized events for only 30-40 people that get tested are also taking place, and they need these solutions to disinfect the venue a hundred percent.
The first thing on Jessica’s mind is making it affordable because the events world is struggling. Because of this, most of her products, if not all of them, can be rented, put into an event space, and branded. This means a sponsor can actually sponsor a UVC bag cleaner.
In general, they’re focusing on transitioning these products into the events world, because they want to invest in the health of their industry. Hopefully, these event technologies can be a piece of that.
To answer the question of what comes next for Jessica, you have to answer the question, where are event technology and the industry going?
There’s going to be a massive shift in the industry’s perspective on what makes a successful event. Before this pandemic, thousands of people would be crowded into a room, but that’s no longer viable. The change is going to be an up-and-down roller coaster.
Jessica and many leaders in the events-industry are hopeful for a time when they can open events and businesses again, but until then she will continue making solutions that are affordable and innovative.
If you’re interested in implementing some of Jessica’s products, or you’re looking to learn more about their up-and-coming projects, you can explore her website InCharged or get connected using her LinkedIn page.
To get caught up on even more current news within the events community, check out other articles on EventSpeak’s website, and for tech-lovers who are looking for more, get connected with our resident expert Joel Martin on LinkedIn.