Wireless Network Design for Event Venues and the Meeting's Industry
The Meeting’s Industry, like most industries, has changed dramatically over the last decade, as new technology has reshaped the way we communicate and share our ideas and experiences. Events like Ted Talk, Atmosphere and Comic Con, rely on fast, reliable and secure WiFi to not only meet the demands of attendees who are busy hash-tagging and live tweeting the event, but to support the presenters, event coordinators, vendors, venue hosts, and IT team who all work tirelessly to bring the event together.Choosing a venue is one of the most challenging tasks for a meeting event planner, as many factors must be considered in choosing the right space. In PCMA Convene’s 25th annual marketing survey, they asked leaders in the Meeting’s Industry what their biggest pain points were in organizing, planning and hosting an event. Unsurprisingly, nearly half of the complaints were related to technology or slow WiFi or the costs associated. Many noted that keeping up with the rapid evolution of technology was overwhelming and many venues they considered just didn’t have the capacity to support their network demands. Meanwhile, those who did charged exorbitant amounts for use of their wireless network during the event.
Meeting and event planners are increasingly looking to include wireless technology in their events. Engaging attendees with mobile apps and audience-response systems, networking platform access, guest login and interactive demonstrations require a well designed network to support this capacity of users and devices. Additionally, it must be secure, as safety concerns were another cited pain point from the PCMA study. You can provide all of this and more with SecurEdge WiFi as a Service and offer an experience for your guests unparalleled in the industry. It all begins with design. Here are some tips to help you assess your wireless network needs:
Not all venues are created equally. You may have multiple floors, long hallways, lecture halls, drop ceilings, high beams, concrete or plaster walls, auditoriums, outdoor spaces or some crazy combination of all of the above. While a wireless network can be designed to accommodate any of these needs, its important to accurately represent your space to ensure you are getting the right design for your needs. Having your floor-plans ready and a thorough understanding of your space, we can work together to get the design right the first time.
Determining how many people will be accessing your network is another critical factor in implementing the right network design and can help inform the number of devices you need to plan for. When gathering the figures for your wireless design, it is best to base your number of users on maximum occupancy or the high-end average occupancy of your events. Remember to take into consideration your staff and any other users in the building as well. If you operate a hotel venue, your event space can easily be incorporated into the existing network of your building, but when doing so it is very important to accurately express your current network design needs and provide accurate floor plans so that we can plan accordingly.
Devices and Applications
Whether you’re hosting a family reunion or a video game convention, you'll need to assess your device needs. This can be difficult to do in the event hosting industry, as needs change on a case by case basis. It is recommended that you base your device needs on your maximum capacity and on device trends of your previous events. Determining your number of users can help you guesstimate your device needs, but there are factors that can affect the accuracy of your estimation. If you host a lot of tech-related events it will be better to base estimates on previous events. If alternatively you host a lot of family events like weddings or reunions, an average industry-based estimate would suffice. You should also consider the types of applications your users will be running at the events. Are there networking platforms, proprietary apps, communication apps and software, IoT devices and applications, etc. Knowing how your network will be used can be as important as how many users in determining safety and security needs when designing a wireless network.
SecurEdge WiFi as a Solution
Now that you know what considerations you need to make when planning a wireless network design, here are some ways that SecurEdge can implement a WiFi service that meets your demands today and helps you plan for the future:
Hardware as a Service
Many of the challenges event venues face are the demands to keep up with wireless network technology. Nowadays, wireless hardware has a lifespan of about 3 years. That’s a lot of capital expense to shell out every few years just to keep your WiFi operating smoothly. With SecurEdge Hardware as a Service, your access points, switches, firewalls, sensors and anything else you need will be on a monthly subscription. When the time comes to upgrade your hardware network, SecurEdge will let you know and offer to switch out your equipment for no extra cost, you will just continue paying the monthly fee. This ensures that your system is always on the cutting edge and your events will always be post-worthy.
Software as a Service
The hardware you deploy will also need routine software updates and maintenance. Don't’ sweat it, SecurEdge has you covered. We’ll update you’re software regularly and send you weekly and monthly reports on the status and health of your network. You’ll also get access to SecurEdge Cloud Manager which will let you see you network in real-time. Your floor plans will be uploaded into the software and integrated with heatmap technology to show you the live performance of your network hardware and help you troubleshoot and manage your network remotely. During an event, crowds of people shuffling around can make it difficult to reach and troubleshoot your access points, but with our software that won’t be a problem.
Another great feature of the software platform is the Captive Portal. You can offer your guests access to custom splash pages and captive portal to create a seamless, branded experience for their attendees. With free and paid options and the ability to add and customize new splash pages as you like and manage it all from the cloud, this can be a unique feature that sets you apart when event planners are choosing a venue.
Managed Network Services
With Managed Network Services from SecurEdge, you’ll get 24/7 network monitoring and tier 2 level support included in your monthly subscription. If something happens on your network, we’ll let you know, so that you can spend less time worrying about your WiFi. Our support team has remote access of your network and can help troubleshoot problems before they occur so you can be confident in ensuring your guests the highest quality WiFi performance available.
SecurEdge on Subscription
The best part about SecurEdge WiFi? It’s on subscription! This means you'll get industry-leading WiFi service designed exclusively for your needs without the major capital expense. So whether you operate a chain of luxury destination resorts or are a family owned and operated venue, you can have access to enterprise-grade WiFi and grow your business. Watch the Yelp reviews flood in when your WiFi services set the standard for event venues in your area.
Want to know more about designing a wireless network for your venue? Contact us!
Brittany is the Marketing Coordinator for SecurEdge. If they had a company softball team she would make the T Shirts and play Shortstop.