Top 5 demands for the digital meeting
By Michael Leslie Pryner
The professional meeting- and event planners are constantly searching for new “showstoppers” for their next event. Often they dig into the abundance of applications from the digital world to find a new one, because applications can cover a wide range of needs.
But often it turns out to be a bigger challenge to implement new technological showstoppers, than it is to choose them. If the meeting venue does not meet the needs in terms of digital infrastructure to support the technology, you won’t get far.
Regardless of your technological choice; either apps for mobile phones or tablets, voting systems, social media or video streaming for your next event, there is five important aspects to consider. If you manage these five aspects at your next event, you have a good chance of succeeding with your digital initiatives.
It may seem obvious, but without sufficient power sources it can be problematic to execute an event with digital involvement.
Firstly, the supplier of the digital activities needs power for all the equipment, but secondly the participants also require power to charge their tablets, mobile phones and computers if they are supposed to actively utilize these during the meeting.
Possibly there is astonishing few power sources and often the participants will approach your AV supplier to get power. This is not the best solution, because a defect charger from a participant can jeopardize an entire chain of power to the AV equipment. This is why you have to consider how and where you offer the participants to charge their electronic devices, if they need to during the day.
Is the Wi-Fi on your meeting venue strong enough to cope with your activities? When you visit the venue, they should be able to tell you if they have any areas with bad or no signal to the Wi-Fi. And you have to know how many IP addresses (units) their network setup can manage at once.
At some venues they have enough access points to handle data connectivity from all guests at once, but cannot handle that all of the traffic is directed to the same target – for example one voting site.
When you and your guests’ units have gained access to the Wi-Fi at the meeting venue, the next question is how much bandwidth and speed you have available. Wi-Fi is merely the network connection in house, but what is the capacity when you twist the traffic out of the house.
Previously the participants used to check their email during the event (downloading), but today the social media also encourages to post pictures and videos (upload), and at the same time, you are trying to push out questions, votings and pictures to the participants at once (up- and download). This demands a quick and stable connection. The free connection you have access to in many hotels, is usually low speed. Furthermore, you’ll loose the connection if you aren’t active for more 10-15 minutes, which will reduce the desire to participate in the digital game for sure.
If the guests experience problems with the Wi-Fi signal provided at the venue, they are likely to use their own 3G/4G/LTE connection on their devices. Suppliers of digital participant involvement often use the same type of connection as a back-up (a plan B).
That is why you must investigate in the mobile signal strength on the venue and preferably for each of the big telecompanies (in Denmark; TDC, 3, Telia, Telenor). Are there any “dead” zones in the meeting rooms, as you checked for with the Wi-Fi?
Instruct the crew about the technology that is being utilized for the event and give them the opportunity to try it out themselves. This is the best way to train them in how to cope with the most plausible challenges. It is also a very good idea to have a support station where assistance can be provided if needed.