Inspiration isn’t the struggle – it’s the implementation. Event professionals have an abundance of apps, devices, and services at their beck and call, with new and exciting technologies reaching maturity every week.
Before deployment it's vital that we cover the groundwork. Even the best-designed event technologies can prove ineffective without robust infrastructure and the right preparations.
Whether smartphone apps, voting systems, Twitter walls, or live streaming, there are five key considerations event professionals need to be careful not to miss. Making sure that these five key points are well implemented before the event begins is a great way to help avoid any embarrassing issues.
It seems so obvious but without power sockets available in usable locations throughout a venue, it’s not going to be possible to power installed equipment.
Audiences will struggle to use delegate apps and tweet about your event without charge for their smartphones so it’s worth considering where and how they might recharge through the day. Make sure that as well as being available, these charging points are easily accessible.
A good site survey should include a test of Wi-Fi coverage throughout a venue to check there are no dead spots in key areas. Pose questions to the venue’s tech team; ask them about the networking and Wi-Fi such as how many devices can be connected at once. Audiences will soon be frustrated if they can’t reliably connect to the available services.
Once devices are connected to the venue Wi-Fi, the next consideration is what Internet speed and bandwidth will be available. Where once attendees checked email periodically, now audience engagement technologies encourage photo and video uploads, instant polling, and perhaps even streaming audio or video for Q&A. These are underpinned by fast and reliable Internet access.
Suppose the Wi-Fi fails or isn’t quite up to the task - can 3G/4G/LTE be relied upon to support smartphones and tablets through everything from accessing event schedules via apps, to posting photos and insights to social media? Test all the major phone networks for signal strength, and perhaps plan around zones with better reception.
Tell everyone involved about any technology that will be used at the event, and give them plenty of opportunities to direct questions at you. Run a help desk and make sure that onsite staff have sufficient training in how to diagnose and fix any faults. Events happen once, there are no do-overs.
Dan Monsieurle is Director of Sales & Marketing at justFDI, the parent company of ThinkWall. Since 2010, Dan has been part of the team bringing ThinkWall to clients such as the BBC, Honda, Microsoft and Allianz.