Tech Fair features festive flair

By Gaby Galindo

LOGOS PHOTO EDITOR

2016’s UIW Tech Fair showcased the latest technological trends in full Fiesta fashion on Wednesday, April 13, in McCombs Center Rosenberg Skyroom.

The purpose of the Tech Fair is to bring the UIW community together to share ideas about cutting-edge technology and innovative ways of implementing them. Since its inaugural event in 2011, Tech Fair has become a renowned annual UIW tradition.

UIW student Devin Easley, a tech enthusiast, said he enjoys the opportunity the Tech Fair provides in meeting other creative, tech-savvy people.

“I get to meet all kinds of people in the tech world,” Easley said. “Who knows if someone could be recruiting IT students for some networking jobs. I enjoy talking to people and learning new things or trying out the latest tech.”

Fiesta celebrations coincided with the Tech Fair, which inspired the event’s colorful and festive theme. The Skyroom was decked in vibrant banners, balloons and Fiesta décor of all sorts from floor to ceiling. Vendors were even encouraged to compete with others in decorating their booths for the most festive display.

A new venue for the Tech Fair provided a larger turnout than previous fairs, which used to be held in the now-demolished Marian Hall Student Center. The new location in the Skyroom allowed organizers to sign on more vendors and speakers than ever before. They even assembled four presentational spaces with flat-screen monitors and one large Technology Theater room. The significant improvement in space and appearance likely was a major factor in the overall experience and success of the tech fair.

Along with the large turnout, the fair had big-name representatives to show off their tech. Vendors such as Dell, AT&T, Blackboard and Apogee were a few amongst the crowds. A number of presenters had a great deal to offer visitors and showcased their latest technological innovations.

“Tech Fair is really important to me,” Easley said, “because it’s a way I can see how tech is advancing and how people who are students like me are making all kinds of great things like websites and video games and stuff like that I would either subscribe to in the future or look forward to buying myself sometime when it becomes a real product.”

A representative of Body Viz showed off the 3D imaging technology and gear currently used in UIW’s John and Rita Feik School of Pharmacy. Biblio Tech provided library cards that allow access to the Bexar County digital library and countless other useful resources. UIW’s Office of Financial Assistance showed students how to make smarter financial decisions using a free online educational program call $ALT. Attendees also had the chance to see some student-produced work at the UIW Convergent Media table. Visitors caught a behind-the-scenes look as UIWtv students set up lights, camera, and other equipment next to the fair entrance to produce a live broadcast of the event.

UIWtv News Director Devan Villarreal, a communication arts major concentrating in journalism, served as a talent for the UIWtv broadcast and got to know many of the organizations in attendance.

“I have to say the vendor that I enjoyed was the Samsung booth,” Villarreal said. “They had a new tech toy that was virtual reality and I must say, for being an Apple product lover, I want the Samsung virtual reality toy.”

Some of the other festivities provided were an abundance of free food, goodies, swag and trinkets from different booths. Upon arrival, attendees received a free Tech Fair bag to carry throughout the event. Afterwards, those who completed a survey and provided feedback about the fair were given a special T-shirt and Fiesta medal of their choice. Attendees were also given raffle tickets after each special presentation for a chance to win door prizes. Prizes included two iPad minis, five gift cards totaling upwards of about $500, A Dell laptop, a DYMO wireless label maker, two pairs of JBL earbuds, and several swag bags. The list of prizes and winners can be found on the UIW Tech Fair website.

From drones to virtual reality devices to life-saving medical equipment, this year’s tech fair had a wide array of new and useful technological devices.

“I think students and faculty can learn from this event,” Villarreal said, “because technology is always evolving and it’s great to be able to keep up-to-date with those changes.”