by Leo Jakobson | November 08, 2018
The new Ideation Studio MGM Resorts International has built in the Park MGM is something genuinely new. The space, designed specifically for high-level brainstorming, features impressive and easy-to-use technology, but it doesn't stop there. Every detail, from the lighting to the seating and even the flooring, is designed to "bring behavioral science into planning," says Michael Dominguez, chief sales officer of MGM Resorts International. "It's how we as humans interact."
The 10 rooms, which include conference rooms, team studios and collaboration spaces, are small, ranging in capacity from six to 24, Dominguez says, adding that 60 percent of the company's meetings business is groups of 50 or fewer attendees. The total Studio measures 7,000 square feet, and IACC certification is pending.

The most obvious aspect are the high tables and chairs from Steelcase, which swivel at the push of a finger. They are comfortable, but the height is the real difference, Dominguez says, pointing to research findings that having everyone at eye level is important to engagement, as people don't react and open up the same when they are physically spoken down to. The tables seat five at most, as having to physically walk around a table to reach a wall whiteboard will discourage people from getting up, and the layouts are nontraditional. Natural full-spectrum lighting is another vital component, and even the flooring is designed to be tough but easy to move the rolling chairs over.

The technology comes from a partnership with Cisco for interactive video screens, which are impressively intuitive. These are much more than just digital whiteboards, as they allow virtual involvement of up to 25 outside participants and the creation of virtual "rooms" on which everything created and all documents added during the session live on permanently after the meeting is over. Bringing speakers in on video is simple, via an also-intuitive and easy-to-use app. Security comes from Cisco.

The rooms all meet MGM's Stay Well Meetings standards, incorporating air purification, full-spectrum lighting and other wellness-themed attributes. The Ideation Studio rooms are priced at a flat $175 per person.

But the new Ideation Studio is just one of the latest high-tech venues to hit the Strip. Here are three others that groups can tap into.

Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Las Vegas

Video games have long occupied the cutting edge of technology. And for the last decade, esports -- organized, multiplayer video game competitions -- have occupied the cutting edge of video games. Hence, the rise of esports arenas, which are arena-style venues designed for, and dedicated to, esports. Las Vegas welcomed its first such arena in March 2018, when Esports Arena Las Vegas opened at Luxor Las Vegas. Owned by Allied Esports, the 30,000-square-foot venue features a "network-TV-quality" production studio with 24 cameras, a competition stage, a 50-foot LED video wall, telescopic seating, PC and console gaming stations, two immersive Virtuix Omni machines for VR gaming and a bar where visitors can play retro arcade games like Pac-Man for free.

Electra Cocktail Club at The Palazzo
At The Palazzo's Electra Cocktail Club, groups can indulge in high-tech happy hours. Opened in September 2018, the 127-seat bar serves handcrafted cocktails, with a specialty in rums, agricoles and mezcals. Located right on the casino floor, it shines -- literally and figuratively -- thanks to its chandelier, which features more than 1,200 points of light; its brass, granite and etched-metal décor; its mirrored ceiling; and, most of all, its 40-foot video display, whose 70 million pixels span an entire wall on which the venue shows off custom digital artworks that give the space cred among creative types and technophiles alike. Groups can reserve the entire space or the VIP corner banquette, which sits beneath 10, 14-foot brass and rose gold "bracelets" that give the booth's occupants a glamorous embrace.

Of course, the Strip doesn't have a monopoly on technology. Groups that want a high-tech experience away from the distractions of Las Vegas Boulevard should check out a new venue that opened last year near McCarran International Airport. Called Enclave, the $15 million corporate and social event venue totals 75,000 square feet and includes 22 rooms of various sizes and functions, including boardrooms, ballrooms and breakout rooms, not to mention a 5,000-square-foot rooftop with panoramic Vegas views. Tech highlights include a fiber-optic network that can send video signals between meeting rooms -- which allows keynote speeches and panel discussions to be viewed throughout the venue -- as well as built-in video teleconferencing capabilities.