Transforming the way we do business at C2 Montreal


At the end of May, I was invited, along with our MD, Chris Elmitt to an event called C2 in Montreal as guests of our new technology partner, klik

The event is a collaboration between super power agency Sid Lee and Cirque du Soleil. It was one of the most inspiring and thought provoking 4 days of my 15+ years working in the event industry, so I thought I’d share some of what I experienced with you.

Our first experience 

We were invited to C2 by our friends at klik back in February when we first met. I had never heard of the event but at $3,000 a ticket and a keynote by Snoop Dog, I knew it had to be something special. I was also intrigued to learn how klik would be deploying over 7,000 smart badges over the 3 day event and how it enhanced the whole experience.

On arrival at Montreal airport, our first task was to collect our interactive klik badge. Time for our first picture for the blog so I grabbed Chris round the shoulder and posed for our first C2 selfie under the airport sign - Crystal on tour here we go!

Chris and Rob at C2 Crystal Interactive klik smart wearables badge

After leaving the airport we checked into our hotel and headed straight to the klik offices in downtown Montreal for a networking event and to meet the wider team. We were greeted by our good friend Kambi Laleye and David Parent, CEO of klik, and given a quick tour of the office. It was as expected, a very cool vibe and some amazingly passionate people, all of whom made us feel incredibly welcome. I remember thinking to myself that these guys are really onto something with klik and they know it. I felt excited that Crystal is going to be part of their journey of world event tech domination!

We then met some of the other 40 or so clients and prospects of klik who had also been invited to C2, some of which had travelled from as far afield as Sydney. Again, the buzz among the people who had used or were about to use the product at their own events was infectious.

We were then given a quick welcome and update presentation by Charles Truong, Head of klik Product Development, who shared some thoughts on the future roadmap for klik and news of the new touchpoints feature and smart match networking tool, both of which were about to be deployed at C2 for the first time. Charles also shared information on a new research study that klik were supporting the University of Montreal with. The study is based on how biometric data could be used to measure levels of engagement at live events. Then the bombshell, “We are hoping some of you would like to take part in the study throughout C2”, so without the blink of an eye, my hand shot straight up. I am now the new Head of innovation at Crystal, so it would have been rude not to be involved with something so exciting that could shape the event technology of the future after all.

The Guinea pig

Later that evening, I received an email from Charles explaining what I had to do. On arrival at the C2 site I made my way to the information desk and met the lovely team from the University of Montreal who rigged me up with 2 sensors to measure my biometric readings throughout my 3 days at C2. I had to drop the device off at the end of each day and pick it up again the following morning (thankfully no overnight readings being taken). We will be getting a copy of the final thesis and I look forward to sharing it with you on this blog later in the year.

Rob Curtis Crystal Interactive biometric testing at C2 with klik

The Production

What struck me the most about C2 was the sheer size of the event. Apparently, it costs $15 million to produce, so you can imagine the level of production and detail that has gone into it. The main arena, which holds 2,000 people is purpose built for the event and is the only one of its kind. It’s a huge circus big top, unique in that it has no support pillars, so no viewing restrictions for the 2,000 people inside. I managed to get into the second session of day 1 (these keynote sessions are usually fully booked way in advance). The opening sequence was a booming 30 second countdown followed by a huge overhead projection mapping sequence, followed by Cirque du Soleil dancers. Our first speaker was a 14 year old wizkid, Sabarish Gnanamoothy, talking about the future of AR and VR. What an experience!

In addition to the main arena, they had a number of other ‘labs’ and huge art installations. I’m not going to go into detail on what I experienced in these sessions but hopefully the pictures below will give you an idea. - I hope you get the chance to experience C2 yourself one day.

Klik deployment

One of the main reason I was invited to C2 was to see a klik deployment on such a large scale. Here were some stats...

  • 15 registration desks were used to register and deploy over 7,000 smart wearable badges
  • The average waiting time on the morning of day 1 was 7 mins - impressive
  • Over 800 Bluetooth tags were deployed throughout the event to track where people were going and what they were doing
  • 110 iPads were used for access control
  • And most impressively …over the 3 days there were over 70,000 contact exchanges, that’s an average of 17 per delegate
  • 7,859 attendees from over 50 countries
  • 52,321 sessions attended
  • 73,684 contact exchanges

The announcement

On the second day at C2, we announced our official partnership with klik! Months of hard work had finally paid off. Crystal Interactive are officially exclusive technology partners for klik in the UK and Europe. It was great for Chris and I to be in Montreal with the klik team when the partnership was announced. I did miss celebrating with the wonderful team back at Crystal HQ though as many of them had played an integral part in getting us to this point.

klik and Crystal Interactive personnel

From left to right: Vincent Leclerc, Co-founder and CTO of PixMob; Chris Elmitt, Managing Director at Crystal Interactive; Jean-Olivier Dalphond, Partner at PixMob; Rob Curtis, Head of Innovation at Crystal Interactive; and David Parent, Co-founder and CEO of PixMob.

That evening we went for dinner to celebrate and hit the bars. We went to a ‘speak easy’ bar. If you’ve never heard of one then I’m not about to tell you, especially in this blog, it was a night full of mystique and intrigue, that’s all I’m saying! Those in the know will know I have nothing to hide!

Snoop Dogg the entrepreneur

On the final day, I managed to see the keynote session by Snoop Dogg before I had to make my way to the airport for my flight home. (I wasn’t able to stay for the closing party were Snoop was headlining, had to race home and rescue my wife from our 2 and 4 year olds after 4 days of looking after them alone!). Not content with being a mega star, it seems our friend Snoop is quite the entrepreneur. On July 1st, Canada legalised the use of cannabis, not just for medicinal purposes but for recreational ones as well. And guess who has invested heavily in cannabis oil production? Yes, our friend Snoop Dogg! He is about to add a considerable amount to his millions. The session was brilliant and had a great mix of thought provoking ideas, humour, interjected with some dark humour from the man himself. What a great way to end 3 amazing days.

Final thoughts

If I were to describe my C2 experience it would be ‘the urban festival of business and ideas’.  It was a truly amazing experience and allowed me to use parts of my brain that I hadn’t used for a long time. Overlay klik, one of the most innovative event technologies in the world right now and it’s a powerful combination. I just wish I could be a fly on the wall when klik present the full analytics report back to C2 on what happened at the event and how they could better it - if at all.

You’ll be pleased to know that C2 has plans to take the concept global, starting with Melbourne later this year. C2 has announced a strategic partnership with IMEX Frankfurt so keep an eye out for C2’s involvement at IMEX 2019. If you love events, love technology and innovation and want to keep the old grey matter ticking then this is the event for you.

Rob Curtis, Head of Innovation.





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