We’ve been monitoring trends in the provision of network support for high-profile board meetings, events and medium and large conferences over the past 10 years and we continue to see that there are five priorities for event and meetings planners.
It would be good to get your views on this list:
Seamless VPN connectivity
Conference attendees demand complete access to their corporate network content and protection of their stored intellectual property. This is often an afterthought for the traditional event planner but attendees expect and demand a seamless “office away from the office” network experience. Building a temporary network that is just as secure and stable as a permanent corporate network is essential.
In our experience, event attendees do not want to share bandwidth at a venue and it’s certainly not a trend for the future! Event decision-makers are demanding an allocation of bandwidth for the exclusive usage for the conference attendees only and this will see rising allocations of bandwidth to 20Mbs, 50Mbs, 80Mbs and beyond over the next couple of years. The alternative is segmented dedicated bandwidth for specific location and functions. For example, the Press Room needs 25 Mbs, or the Attendee Area must have, for example 50Mbs, and the event planners at the same time request a limit (throttle) on bandwidth usage for low priority areas. This ensure the users in these areas receive no more than, say, 20 Mbs.
Private and custom SSID / Virtual Local Areas Network (VLANS)
Event planners ask for the creation of a temporary private and secure virtual network that meshes with the corporate network. This fosters much higher rates of productivity and reduces the learning curve when working on the temporary network at an event. This feature request is sometimes aligned with the creation of ‘hidden’ and private networks for mission-sensitive or mission-critical areas of an event.
Seamlessly Mobility at the venue
A top demand is the ability for attendees to move around a hotel/conference venue while remaining seamlessly connected, whether they are in the main hall, seminar rooms, bars, guest rooms and so on. This also extends to the variety of devices. Any successful event must allow attendees to connect whenever, wherever and share content through their devices of choice and to have uninterrupted access to personal and professional content (via the cloud) over any device.
Ratio of device to conference attendee
Attendees’ usage of multiple devices has increased dramatically in the past year. For example, recent events supported by ECS EMEA, saw attendees using at least two mobile devices – laptop and smartphone, with increasing visibility of tablets, such as the iPad. Event planners need to ensure that the break area has ample wireless coverage and to be aware that, for example 100 attendees could mean as many as 250 or more devices that will need broadband wireless connectivity throughout the venue.
What are your top priorities as event and meetings planners? Add your thoughts and comments below.