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WiFi for Events - a guide to getting it right


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A check list of questions to ask and things to consider

Published in: Technology

WiFi for Events - a guide to getting it right

  1. 1. WiFi for eventsA guide to getting it right
  2. 2. Don’t forgetIntroduction You’ll need a fixed Internet connection too for web streaming and hybrid events. And some of your fixed and WiFi requirements demandIn today’s world almost no event can be successful without individually discreet segmentation.the aid of WiFi and other technology. WiFi networks atevents and tradeshows are becoming more and morecrowded as attendees use an ever-greater number of 3G/4Gand WiFi enabled devices including smartphones, tablets,cameras and laptops.You will need decent Internet and WiFi connections in order to:access event apps, cloud-based services, email (and its largefile attachments), the web; to network, message, tweet,generate photo uploads and view video clips. High bandwidthand low latency (the time it takes networks to respond torequests) are necessary infrastructure components to ensurea successful audience experience.The richer the content (video and photos) the more devicesthe more the Internet and WiFi demands.
  3. 3. At a 5 star hotel using a ‘quick and dirty’ mobile/web app called WiFi was measured as follows:WiFi for events Location Ballroom Reception Download Upload 11:00 MBPS 4:31 MBPS 5.12 MBPS 0:72 MBPSThe majority of hotels that offer WiFi only for example, Meeting Room 0:02 MBPS 0:34 MBPShave a public WiFi service running over a single The Ballroom may be suitable for 100 people with light usage, but even this check is no guarantee ofbroadband line. suitable supply. Then the next venue I visited, the Hilton Metropole in London, offers 100Mb (Upload & Download) acrossThis is adequate for a handful of business people in the whole hotel – more than enough for guests and most events.the bar but not for 500 delegates in a coffee break alltrying to check email.The bottom line, WiFi is no longer an optional perkyou may or may not offer at your next event.It’s a must. In 99% of scenarios a venue’s WiFiwill probably NOT be fine, it’s not designed,configured, installed or managed to meetyour requirements. It should not be seenas a utility - even if there are timeswhen that’s what we want.
  4. 4. A poor WiFi experiencereflects on your brandAs the number of wireless devices grows exponentially,so do the expectations of your attendees.Poor WiFi can do more than create a bad user experience;it reflects poorly on your brand, it can make attendeesdisappear in search of a better connection, or evenstop them from attending the event at all if they thinktheir productivity will be limited.Bad WiFi can also ruin a keynote and ruin exhibitorinteraction – along with your reputation.
  5. 5. WiFi Horror StoryAn organisation contracted their meeting space, accommodationand F&B requirements. Then they turned to their productionand content requirements. Event apps and a mini expo meant theyhad heavy Internet/WiFi requirements.To get the right Internet solution, the organiser was quoted $80,000!Lessons:1. Know what the technical requirements are at the outset2. Pick a venue fit for purpose3. a Broadband audit done and cost out any upgrade before Get you contract4. Factor this new knowledge into your venue/technology partner negotiation. The venue will probably point you to possible Broadband providers and disclaim responsibility for such additional costs5. you can, contract with the venue the precise level of If Broadband you require6. Ensure it is dedicated to your event and not shared with others
  6. 6. Trying to calculate your Internet/WiFi requirementsBecause every venue has its own unique characteristics,and every event has technology and attendees with varyingneeds, there is no simple formula you can use to ensure agreat event WiFi experience.
  7. 7. WiFi CalculatorAt AddingValue we have created our own ‘rough guide’for reference. It is attached at the end of this document.P.S. It comes with no guarantees.There are too many variables. Talk to an expert.
  8. 8. Check with an expertUnfortunately, many event organisers do not have thetechnical background or skill set to truly determine whetheror not a venue has the ability and capacity to providethe requiste Internet and WiFi for any particular event.Which means that hiring an expert during the event-planningphase is easily worth the investment ensuring a great userexperience and smooth running audience engagement.
  9. 9. What WiFi questions to ask WiFiBeyond knowing the needs of your attendees,creating a positive WiFi experience begins withbeing able to ask the right questions.The following 4 key steps and 22 questions giveyou a ‘non-techie’ approach to help determine ifa potential venue will be able to meet your eventWiFi needs. WiFi for eventsThese questions are a useful reference whether you’reinterviewing a potential venue, a production company,or a WiFi consultant.
  10. 10. 4 key stepsfor a great WiFi experience
  11. 11. Step 1:Ask these 20+2essential questionsof your proposed venue ?
  12. 12. 1:Can you introduce me to theTechnical Support Engineerthat will be supporting methroughout the event buildup and live running?
  13. 13. 2:Does the Technical SupportEngineer have any otherduties or are they dedicatedto my event?
  14. 14. 3:Will the bandwidthbe totally dedicatedto my event?
  15. 15. 4:Will WiFi beavailable 24/7?
  16. 16. 5:Will WiFi be available in hotel roomsand conference rooms or justconference rooms?
  17. 17. 6:What is the upstream capacityof the connection in each of the roomswe are using?
  18. 18. 7:What is the downstream capacity of theconnection in each of the rooms we are using?
  19. 19. 8:Does the bandwidth providethe same uploading anddownloading speed?
  20. 20. 9:What is the minimumsignal in each room(Up and Down)?
  21. 21. 10:Is the WiFi coverage consistentin all areas or are there weak areasof connectivity?
  22. 22. 11:Will I need to have a single usernameand password for my event, single passwordor multiple username and passwordsto access the WiFi?
  23. 23. 12:Who will manage the usernameand password system?
  24. 24. 13:Can you provide the Internetin all the areas I need it,both fixed and WiFi?
  25. 25. 14:I may have some particular applications e.g. webstreaming and VPN requirements. Will you be ableto configure the event network to handlemy requirements?
  26. 26. 15:Will the network be managed .............................................. ............... .............. .................. .................. ..................actively managedduring the event(contact who,how, when)?
  27. 27. 16:What is the backup planin case things go wrong(ie do you have two separateInternet providers anddifferent connection routes)?
  28. 28. 17:How do you deal with anyoutages (what is the %frequency and durationof outages)?
  29. 29. 18:Where are the access points?
  30. 30. 19:Can you provide hard linesfor each of the meeting roomsfor speaker needs?
  31. 31. 20:Can you separate WiFi for roomsor for different groups?
  32. 32. 21:Will we be allowed to have accessto the venue prior to our event?WiFi for events
  33. 33. 22: What type of WiFi security is in place?
  34. 34. Have you ever organised aconference in your own home?You may think that some of these questionsare too technical but remember that you arelikely to have around 500Kb upstream on yourBroadband at home and 5Mb downstream.If the venue only has that amount availablethen imagine your meeting running in yourlounge at home!
  35. 35. Happy with all the answers?If you are satisfied with the answers to thosequestions and the information leads you tobelieve their system or expertise fits with yourneeds, then go to Step 2. 2
  36. 36. Step 2:Ask for reports from previous similar events.They should be able to provide reports onprevious events, which include bandwidth,numbers of users, and any problems thatwere encountered.Make sure the reports are from events thatare similar in scope and attendance toyour proposed event.
  37. 37. Step 3:Ask for references from similar eventsthat they handled. Do call the referencesto get their perspective and ask a fewquestions about how easy or difficult thestaff are to deal with and if the venuefulfilled everything they said they would.As an event coordinator or planner, keepin mind that WiFi is something you cannegotiate and you should do so up frontwhich means it cannot be an afterthought.
  38. 38. Step 4:Your production partner or agencycan address all your Internet andWiFi requirements.Alternatively, consider using one of thefollowing WiFi specialists or one of theirtechnology partners:-•••
  39. 39. Getting Internet and WiFiright = happy audiences!The upside?Well-planned and implemented Event WiFimeans that attendees can live stream andblog about your event, right here, right now.The Media can quickly get their stories out;and product announcements can go viral inreal time, maximising word of mouth andevent buzz, broadening the reach of yourevent investment.GOOD LUCK!
  40. 40. WiFi ‘Rough Guide’CalculatorTotal Audience (pax) 20 50 100 200 250 500 750 1000 Usage Single/Multiple Devices Low SD 1 Mb/s 3 5 9 11 21 31 41 Medium MD 2 3 6 11 13 6 38 51 Medium SD 2 5 9 17 21 41 61 81 High MD 3 6 6 11 21 26 76 101 High SD 4 9 17 32 39 71 96 116 Mb/s MD 5 11 21 40 49 89 120 145 Mb/s MegaBytes/second Low Email and simple web surfing Medium Web applications and streaming audio High Instructor-led web training, large file transfers, SD video streamNB. Please note: This is a guide only. Many factors can influence the Fixed/WiFi suitability of a venue
  41. 41. Getting Internet and WiFiright = happy campers! ;)
  42. 42. www.addingvalue.comThis guide was produced by AddingValue.AddingValue is a multi-award winningcommunications and events agencybased in London, UKAuthor: Randle Stonier HonDEd.Founder of AddingValue@RandleLondon
  43. 43. © Copyright AddingValue Events Limited 2013To the best of our knowledge, the information contained in this document is correct at the time of production. We do not acceptany liability for errors or omissions. This document is not in any way to be published or circulated or reproduced in whole or inpart. It has been prepared by AddingValue Events Limited (‘AddingValue’) solely for use by it in the presentation of ideas andimages to its clients and is for discussion purposes only. To the extent that material used in this document has originated withAddingValue, the copyright to that material vests in AddingValue. Copyright in other material used in this document vests inthird parties and is not licensed for publication. Any person acting contrary to this warning does so at their own risk and mayincur liability to third parties by doing so. They may also be liable to indemnify AddingValue against claims made and damagesawarded against it, and related costs incurred by it, in respect of allegations of breach of third party rights.