2015: Election Year – Are You Ready?

Etherlive is working with several customers who are preparing their venues and various production organisations to support the UK General Election happening on May 7th 2015. Many of the event teams are working on similar aspects and issues; here are our top tips

Audit Venues (first and early!) – Many venues are level setting customers’ expectations on how many concurrent wireless connections they can support and what internet access is available but site visits to confirm this data is critical. The earlier the site visit the more opportunity both the venue and the production team have time to address any issues; for example arranging more capacity on the core internet access temporarily or increasing Wi-Fi density & capacity in certain areas.

Consider Demand – In 2010 when the poles closed the first generation iPad had just been launched with many people still considering it a fad. Now most people, and certainly press, carry multiple devices which need high speed connectivity – their phone, tablet, laptop and potentially even watch! Twitter users (around 70,000 then) were sending around 50 million tweets per day, now it’s ten times that. Facebook, just becoming main stream in 2010, now includes video streaming and people routinely use Skype and FaceTime for their calls whilst cloud based data services such as Dropbox, Office 365 and Google Docs are commonplace.

Delivering event wifi to the debates

Delivering event Wi-Fi to the debates

Consider Security – A little discussed element of Wi-Fi is how there are many ways of deploying it with (or without) security & encryption. Recent press on the Sony hack and others should mean that organisers check what level of security is being provided. At worse this should at least be a number of individual networks for organisers, candidates, media and attendees. The preference should be for authentication and encryption with suitable logging and monitoring.

Have a Backup Plan – Consider what happens if the internet connection breaks. Is there a second connection that can be used if required? Could desperate users be taken to a different area at least to upload their photos and emails?

Engage Attendees – Similar to the needs of the media, organisers and those attending events will be keen to remain connected to social media and their own commitments. Providing news feeds, twitter walls and video screens relaying up the minute information all help to create a buzz and promote interaction.

Regardless if you are supporting the election through hosting an event at your venue, or responsible for organising one, successful technology delivery will be a key factor.

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