As with any venue, show grounds have had to evolve to survive the ebb and flow of the economy over the last few years; the international recession coupled with increasing financial pressure on farming has meant that show grounds have had to diversify into a broader range of events and compete with indoor venues.

But while show grounds can compete in many areas, they have, until now been slow to adopt new forms of technology; that is providing the infrastructure for event directors and the attendees themselves to get connected.

Show grounds are more traditionally associated with large annual county shows and temporary events which come and go.  Typically each event implements its own technology; ranging from phone lines and PA, through to CCTV and payment terminals.   But as these venues are expanding and competing with the likes of Earl’s Court and the NEC, a permanent technology infrastructure will become a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’.

Event Directors now expect to be able to access e-mail, communicate with their teams and take advantage of marketing opportunities such as interactive content; in fact Wi-Fi connectivity is now seen as a standard requirement. 

Tom McInerney, Events Director at Etherlive offers a few pointers on how to get started.

 Top tips for show grounds getting connected

  1. Whatever the event, the chances are you’ll need to provide phone lines to the organisers – the number may vary from event to event.  Be aware that it can take up to four weeks for your telecoms provider to install a line assuming they offer a temporary service.  For a permanent installation, you can always opt for Voice over IP (VoIP) lines which can be easily deployed to meet demand with no added cost whilst delivering the same quality. Many also offer free national calls.
  2. Your communications technologies are all reliant on the power supply – if your power source fails, you have a problem.  So when you’re planning your power requirements for organiser areas, opt for an uninterruptable supply, or arrange a back-up generator to ensure operations continue in emergencies.
  3. An increasing number of show grounds are installing permanent Wi-Fi.  But don’t make the assumption that a small network installed within the main site office  will be enough to provide everyone with the right connectivity and support. Check the capacity of the network prior to each event and establish what would happen if you need technical support.
  4. It sounds obvious, but check that each event organiser has laptops that are set up to use the latest standards (802.11n is the most modern), meaning they will be able to enjoy faster speeds and get better signal strength.  Don’t be afraid of using wire if you need to.  Better that, than no internet access. 
  5. In our experience, the onsite teams at events get bombarded with questions which come up time and time again – opening times, parking details etc.  If you have a telephone exchange on site, why not set up an automated attendant system for your client to reduce the volume of calls to key staff.
  6. Ensure you have a method of secure one to one communication which doesn’t rely on mobile phone networks (which may become too busy).  Radio networks are great for most communications on site, but what if the organisers need to transfer private or sensitive information, like the description of a missing child, for example?  It makes sense to have a secure line dedicated to staff in case of instances like this.
  7. Make the most of the infrastructure you have to add value to services for event organises. CCTV, for example, can now be used for far more than surveillance.  Many cameras can automatically detect and track motion and combined with infrared lights which can ‘see in the dark’.  As well as pure security aspects, deployment of cameras can assist in monitoring crowd flow, entrance traffic management and even providing a more flexible webcam option for linking into websites!
  8. Audience interaction is becoming more popular especially using mobile devices which can be used to view running orders, find your way around or purchase directly from exhibitors’ websites. Consider supplying a Wi-Fi network where attendees will get the best experience.

For further information contact:

Helen Stevens
www.ascentpr.co.uk
etherlive@ascentpr.co.uk
T. 01454 629 741

Showground to Extend Connectivity Services with Etherlive

The Malvern Showground, the home of the Three Counties Agricultural Society, is extending its onsite IT services for customers who exhibit and hire the facilities with help from Etherlive. 

Malvern has rolled out a permanent Wi-Fi infrastructure for a number of IT services across the site to improve communications for events. The implementation, now in its third phase, includes a significant infrastructure for Wi-Fi internet, VoIP telephone lines, CCTV cameras, PDQ machines, and site wide access to the Three Counties electronic scoring system.

According to Nick Vincent, CEO at the Malvern Showground, the installation represents a first for this kind of venue.  He comments, “Showgrounds have long been in the shadows of large indoor venues when it comes to providing the very latest in connectivity and IT services for their customers – offering access to e-mail, secure phone lines and wireless payment systems are no longer ‘nice to haves’ for showgrounds, they’re necessities. 

“Showgrounds are now waking up to the need for technology – and this recent investment demonstrates our commitment to providing permanent, reliable connectivity.  The team at Etherlive has supported us fully throughout the process with its expertise and practical advice.”

Tom McInerney, Events Director at Etherlive adds, “We have been working with the Malvern Showground since 2008 to establish the needs of its customers and the right technologies to support them.  The final stage of this installation will enable Malvern to differentiate itself from competing showgrounds, and offer event organisers the same level of connectivity and communications that they would expect from any first class venue.”

ENDS

About Etherlive
A successful event depends on great performances. From WOMAD and The Green Man Festival to Southampton Boat Show and the Three Counties Show, we are the ones that make IT work. Etherlive sits behind the scenes delivering reliable Wi-Fi internet, telephony, laptops, PDQs and interactive messaging. Whether in a field or a building, we make connectivity simple.

http://events.www.etherlive.co.uk

The Three Counties Agricultural Society is a registered charity working for rural industry, the environment and countryside life.
Committed to supporting farmers, growers and horticulturists in the region and developing understanding between urban and rural communities, it actively cultivates partnerships with the local and regional business community. Its work is firmly rooted in education at all levels, and it is quickly emerging as a facilitator and enabler of a variety of curriculum-based projects and effective teacher training placements.

The Malvern Showground home enjoys a panoramic backdrop in the shape of the famous Malvern Hills in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. It is a nationally recognized venue and welcomes more than a million visitors each and every year. Its own events include the national Malvern Spring Gardening Show (May), its flagship agricultural event, the Three Counties Show (June) and the Malvern Autumn Show (September).

For more information and a full diary of events, please go to: http://www.threecounties.co.uk

The news is out, after spending the last 18 months working closely on a number of events Etherlive and Venue IT are merging to deliver an exciting range of technology services across the broad events industry. For existing customers the relationship and services provided remains the same, but now with access to an enhanced range of offerings, delivering more efficiency and industry leading innovation.

Full press release follows:

Technical expertise and events experience join forces

As the events and festival season get underway, Venue IT, the provider of telecommunications services to the events industry, is set to join forces with Etherlive.  Merging into a single business unit, the two companies will work together to offer a range of communications services and consultancy to the events industry.

Chris Green, Managing Director at Etherlive comments, “With our strong technology background and Venue IT’s events history and experience, we’re a great fit.  Having worked successfully together for a year and a half on a number of projects, the most logical step was to join forces and work as one.  We’re excited about the prospects ahead and look forward to delivering solutions that enhance the experience of organisers, exhibitors and visitors at all sorts of events across the UK.”

Mike Lang, of Venue IT adds, “This relationship offers our loyal clients the best of both worlds; they will continue to deal with the same people offering the same high level of personal service, and will benefit from increased resources with a new found capacity to deliver not only a range of services from its existing portfolio, but more importantly new and exciting complimentary services – exactly what you need for a successful event.”

Founded in 2004, Venue IT provides telecommunication solutions to some of the most prestigious outdoor national and international events held in the UK.  Among its customers, Venue IT boasts names such as Southampton Boat Show, CLA Gamefair, Red Bull X Fighters, World Triathlon Games, Frieze Art Fair and Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Wiltshire-based and in business since 2007, Etherlive is a specialist event IT company that designs, implements and supports both temporary and permanent IT solutions for events. Etherlive supports organisers, promoters and venue managers as they deal with the challenges of security, communications and monitoring across large and complex sites.

Etherlive’s customer base includes one-off short duration corporate events, specialist permanent installations and annual large scale temporary events.  Customers include WOMAD, the Green Man Festival, Get Loaded in the Park, Silverstone, the Three Counties Showground, and corporate clients such as Nokia, Amazon, Littlewoods, Intel and the BBC.

Initially, the company will maintain both the ‘Etherlive’ and the ‘Venue IT’ brands.  The company will operate from the Etherlive headquarters in Wiltshire.

ENDS

About Etherlive

A successful event depends on great performances. From WOMAD and The Green Man Festival to Southampton Boat Show and the Three Counties Show, we are the ones that make IT work. Etherlive sits behind the scenes delivering reliable Wi-Fi internet, telephony, laptops, PDQs and interactive messaging. Whether in a field or a building, we make connectivity simple.

https://etherlive.co.uk

For further information contact:

Helen Stevens

www.ascentpr.co.uk

t. 01454 629 741

etherlive@ascentpr.co.uk

To music lovers, the festival season may seem like a lifetime away, but organisers are very much in the thick of it; securing acts and commissioning suppliers. 

While headlines are dominated by the glamour of the line-up, behind the scenes, there is a hubbub of activity by a myriad of experts and suppliers, to make sure that the show runs smoothly. 

One element of this is the technology – the means to ensure organisers, stewards, and punters can communicate and receive information on site.  They need phones, broadband connectivity, CCTV, payment terminals, connected ticketing systems, interactive content – and these things need to work.

Tom McInerney, Event Director at Etherlive, highlights some of the tricks of the trade to help festival organisers get their technology organised.

  • From boutique festivals to a national event, the chances are you’ll need phone lines as part of your licence.  Be aware that it can take up to four weeks for your telecoms provider to install a line assuming they offer a temporary service.  An alternative option would be satellite connectivity, which can be deployed at a couple of days notice.
  • When you’re planning the number of phone lines you need, it’s not a disaster if you don’t get it spot on; or if you leave it until the last minute to do.  You can always opt for Voice over IP (VoIP) lines which can be easily deployed to meet demand with no extra cost whilst delivering the same quality. Many also offer free national calls.
  • Your communications technologies are all reliant on the power supply – if your power source fails, you have a problem.  So when you’re planning your power requirements for organiser areas, opt for an uninterruptable supply, or arrange a back-up generator to ensure operations continue in emergencies.
  • An increasing number of venues have existing Wi-Fi networks in place for organisers and punters. Don’t make the assumption this network will be enough to provide everyone with the right connectivity and support. Check the capacity of the network and what would happen if you need technical support.
  • It sounds obvious, but before you install Wi-fi, check that the laptops your staff have are set up to use the latest standards (802.11n is the most modern), which means they will be able to enjoy faster speeds and get better signal strength.  Don’t be afraid of using wire if you need to.  Better that, than no internet access.  Check with your technology provider that they’re bringing the correct kit for your needs.
  • In our experience, the onsite team at a festival gets bombarded with questions during the event which come up time and time again – opening times, parking details etc.  If you have a telephone exchange on site, why not set up an automated attendant system to reduce the volume of calls to your key staff.
  • Ensure you have a method of secure one to one communication which doesn’t rely on mobile phone networks (which may become too busy).  Radio networks are great for most communications on site, but what if you need to transfer private or sensitive information, like the description of a missing child, for example?  It makes sense to have a secure line dedicated to staff in case of instances like this.
    • Other examples where you may use onsite phones would include passing payment details between departments, for example takings totals. Some events may require a dedicated incoming line for local residents who wish to contact the event (perhaps a noise issue, or parking problem) and having a dedicated line in the organiser’s office can help keep residents on side with the festival.
    • Generally events will have lines for artist liaison, organiser compound, gates, hospitality, sponsors and more depending on the number of staff present. What’s nice about VoIP telephone systems is that wherever there isnetwork connectivity phones can be installed or removed in minutes. In addition hunt groups can be created or managed and automated answer systems can be arranged quickly.
    • ELT (Emergency Liaison Teams) should have dedicated BT lines whilst others may use voice over IP (VoIP) which do not require an individual BT cable to operate, costing significantly less to operate with free national calls..
  • Does your licence require keeping within noise levels at agreed locations? If so, it is possible to monitor multiple remote units from a central location – and have an audit trail of readings should they be required. A secure wireless connection is setup between the on-site network and the remote sound meter. A special network unit is installed with the sound meter at the remote location providing connectivity and power (which can include battery or uninterruptable secured mains) whilst the sound meter takes readings from the local environment. The network connection allows the sound monitors to be remotely viewed from a laptop anywhere with range of the network onsite.
  • In the same vein, CCTV can now be used for far more than surveillance – it can fulfil a much grander role in your on site security without the requirement of cabling between each camera.  For starters, the latest developments in the CCTV world include ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) which automatically logs number plates which pass by cameras; with the latest digital cameras all video is stored on a hard disc making later retrieval and viewing straightforward.  Many cameras can automatically detect and track motion and combined with infrared lights which can ‘see in the dark’.  As well as pure security aspects, deployment of cameras can assist in monitoring crowd flow, entrance traffic management and even providing a more flexible webcam option for linking into websites! 
  • Audience interaction is becoming more popular especially using mobile devices which can be used to view running orders, purchase artist albums and even find tents. Consider supplying a Wi-Fi network where attendees will get the best experience.

Event Production Show  –  Etherlive  – Stand 614

For further information contact:

Helen Stevens
www.ascentpr.co.uk
T
. 01454 629741
etherlive@ascentpr.co.uk

Ecolite tower reduces hassle of festival communications

Lights, Connectivity, Action!

02 February 2010 – Festival directors will be able to reduce the hassle and cost associated with on-site communications, following the launch of the Ecolite-P Plus; a mobile communications tower which combines lighting, connectivity, surveillance, and PA services.

Traditionally, event organisers have hired in these services as separate units, a time intensive and costly exercise. 

Tom McInerney, Sales Director with Etherlive, the company bringing Ecolite to the events market, explains, “The Ecolite concept comes from the construction industry – taking temporary light, sound and communications onto exposed and sometimes remote sites. Working with ACE Plant, we’ve adapted the tower to suit the needs of festival communications; combining services that would otherwise have been hired as separate pieces of kit – each needing its own power supply and stand.” 

The Ecolite-P Plus, developed by Etherlive in partnership with Ace Plant, also includes many features which will help site managers reduce their environmental footprint, alongside advanced CCTV capabilities such as auto number plate recognition.

The Ecolite unit packs away into a single pallet size, which makes it convenient to transport.  Once in situ, the Ecolite tower can only be moved by a fork-lift truck, which helps to minimise the risk of theft. 

Alan White, Managing Director at Ace Plant adds, “The beauty of the Ecolite-P Plus is that, once deployed, it can be left to run on-site for up to seven days with its own power generator. This gives festival organisers one less thing to worry about”

Visitors attending the Event Production Show will be able to take a look at the Ecolite-P Plus by visiting Etherlive on stand 614.

ENDS

About Etherlive
A successful event depends on great performances. From WOMAD and The Green Man Festival to Southampton Boat Show and Three Counties Show, we are the ones that make IT work. Etherlive sits behind the scenes delivering reliable WiFi, the internet, telephony, laptops, cash machines and interactive messaging. Whether in a field or a hanger, we make connectivity simple.

http://events.www.etherlive.co.uk

About Ace Plant
Ace Plant is the trading style of Adams Cundell Engineers Ltd.

The company was formed in 1973 by David Adams and Frank Cundell. Initially the company was based at Firs Farm, Old Stratford and in 1974 Ace Plant purchased its first tractor, a 1968 Ford 4000. This original tractor is still owned by us and was recently been restored for display at our 25th anniversary party.

Since those early days we have expanded our range of services considerably and this policy of continued improvement and expansion necessitated a move in 1981 to new purpose built premises in Cosgrove Road, Old Stratford.

www.aceplant.co.uk

The Rain Holds Off at the Showman’s Show for Sunny Reviews
Typically the Showman’s Show, which Etherlive exhibited at in October 2009, is a rather rainy old affair bringing together the leading outdoor and indoor event suppliers at the Newbury Showground. This year the dark clouds held long enough to give exhibitors and visitors a chance to see the latest market innovations in some British October sunshine.
We exhibited in both the outside and inside areas. The outdoor space meant that we could demonstrate to customers the new Ecolite P Plus tower light, combining lighting, CCTV, public address and network access in one palletized unit. The revolutionary unit received very positive reviews especially around its efficiency and simplicity. Also on display outside was the Mobile Command Centre (MCC), the network centre which keeps the largest events up and running with server racks, high speed networking, real-time monitoring and working space for operational teams.
Indoors we demonstrated the latest POD units which have been providing connectivity for many of the UKs leading outdoor and indoor events this year. The current generation includes a solar panel, part of a focus from Etherlive to provide event customers with the most environmentally conscious solutions on the market. With the panel, combined with the existing battery, the unit will run non-stop for several weeks even with UK weather conditions!
Also on display inside was one of our portable flight case communications units which provides a network brain for indoor and smaller events. The unit can support up to 20 VoIP handsets and 5 wireless PODS making it perfect for press or PR launch events.
The response to the two stands was fantastic; customers were keen to see the latest innovations and understand how their event can reduce costs by taking advantage of the latest technology. If you missed the Showman’s Show then Etherlive will also be exhibiting at the Event Production Show 2nd and 3rd February 2010 at Olympia, London or you can get in contact to setup a personal demonstration at any time.

Typically the Showman’s Show, which Etherlive exhibited at in October 2009, is a rather rainy old affair bringing together the leading outdoor and indoor event suppliers at the Newbury Showground. This year the dark clouds held long enough to give exhibitors and visitors a chance to see the latest market innovations in some British October sunshine.

We exhibited in both the outside and inside areas. The outdoor space meant that we could demonstrate to customers the new Ecolite P Plus tower light, combining lighting, CCTV, public address and network (Wi-Fi & Wired) access in one palletized unit. The revolutionary unit received very positive reviews especially around its efficiency and simplicity. Also on display outside was the Mobile Command Centre (MCC), the network centre which keeps the largest events up and running with server racks, high speed networking, real-time monitoring and working space for operational teams.

Indoors we demonstrated the latest POD units which have been providing connectivity for many of the UKs leading outdoor and indoor events this year. The current generation includes a solar panel, part of a focus from Etherlive to provide event customers with the most environmentally conscious solutions on the market. With the panel, combined with the existing battery, the unit will run non-stop for several weeks even with UK weather conditions!

Also on display inside was one of our portable flight case communications units which provides a network brain for indoor and smaller events. The unit can support up to 20 VoIP handsets and 5 Wi-Fi PODS making it perfect for press or PR launch events.

The response to the two stands was fantastic; customers were keen to see the latest innovations and understand how their event can reduce costs by taking advantage of the latest technology.

If you missed the Showman’s Show then Etherlive will also be exhibiting at the Event Production Show 2nd and 3rd February 2010 at Olympia, London or you can get in contact to setup a personal demonstration at any time.

The Etherlive outdoor stand with the Ecolite P Plus and Mobile Command Centre (MCC)

The Etherlive outdoor stand with the Ecolite P Plus and Mobile Command Centre (MCC)

 

For further information contact:

Helen Stevens
www.ascentpr.co.uk
T
. 01454 629741
etherlive@ascentpr.co.uk

Lights, Connectivity, Action! Etherlive and AcePlant release the Ecolite P Plus tower light with embedded communications and security technology

Etherlive in partnership with Ace Plant are launching the brand new Ecolite P Plus at the Showman’s Show at Newbury show ground, stand 171, Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd October. This new tower light comes ready to illuminate any event with integrated CCTV, public address and Wi-Fi connectivity, all in one eco friendly unit!

The Ecolite P Plus has been created in collaboration with TCP, based on the latest Ecolite tower light it includes many features which will help site managers reduce costs and their environmental footprint whilst benefiting from technology such as wireless internet and CCTV coverage.

With the addition of industrial Wi-Fi the unit automatically meshes back to existing Etherlive wireless networks in the area, providing secure internet access, CCTV video and public announcements.  

The Ecolite P Plus includes all the advantages of the Ecolite family of tower lights which include advanced high efficiency, low glare, ceramic discharge lamps which make the bulbs 85% more efficient than traditional tower lights. The unit has been designed with a pallet size footprint which uses over 50% less space during transport than conventional tower lights (20 on a standard lorry) but still includes a hydraulic 9.1m mast using bio-degradable fluids which can withstand 100 kph winds.

With multiple power options, including seven day generator and hot swap battery; lighting, communications and security systems such as the pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) CCTV camera will continue to operate regardless of the external power environment.

The communications capabilities of the EcoLite P Plus includes industrial Wi-Fi and wired network access which can deliver VoIP services and other network access as required. Public address announcements are sent to the unit from a central point and broadcast using the built-in speakers.

About Etherlive
Based in Wiltshire, England, Etherlive is a technology services company working in partnership with event organisers to deliver key services such as VoIP, internet, CCTV, payment processing, interactive advertising and rich media to all types of festivals, events, product launches and conferences. A finalist in the Red Herring 2009 technology awards, Etherlive has developed a range of solutions tailored to meet the demands of the live event environment all backed by experienced deployment & support teams. For more information visit http://events.www.etherlive.co.uk

Media Contacts

Dana Hashem/Kathryn Mills-Webb
Johnson King
ruckusteam@johnsonking.co.uk
+44
(0) 20 7401 7969

WOMAD Music Festival Moves to Better and Faster 802.11n Wi-Fi to Keep Everyone Unplugged but Well Connected

Etherlive deploys high performance Ruckus Wireless mesh network to meet wireless needs of organisers, traders and festival-goers

SUNNYVALE, CA, July 20, 2009 Ruckus Wireless today announced that Etherlive, an event and specialist IT services company, has selected the new Ruckus Wireless dual-band 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi system to provide outdoor wireless infrastructure services and public access to support the annual World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) festival near Trinity, Florida.  Co-Founded by Peter Gabriel, WOMAD will be held in Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire from July 24th to 26th.  The festival attracts some 40,000 visitors, and covers an area of over 250 acres.

After extensive evaluation of various vendor outdoor Wi-Fi products, Etherlive selected the new Ruckus 802.11n system because it was the only centrally-managed concurrent 2.4/5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi solution that combined advanced beamforming technology to deliver extended range and reliability, with sophisticated smart meshing technology at the same or lower cost than existing 802.11g outdoor products.

The massive, ultra high speed Wi-Fi network is the primary infrastructure to support a number of applications including organiser voice communications, public broadband Internet access, commercial PDQ point of sale devices and even sound monitoring units around the grounds.

“The new Ruckus kit effectively redefines the outdoor market with respect to price, performance and cost,” said Tom McInerney, operations director for Etherlive.  “With the new dual-band outdoor system we were able to more than double the performance and range at a lower cost and with fewer APs to deploy and manage.  But more importantly, the mesh code automatically forms and self-heals as the environment changes.  This solves some huge problems for use with respect to dealing with interference and the time it takes to manage and tune such a large network.”

With InStat predicting that more than one billion Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be in use by 2012, there is a growing demand for ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage everywhere.  At outdoor festivals it is critical that organisers and production teams are able to communicate out in the field as effectively as if they were in their offices to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible.  Previously, festivals had to rely on incumbent telecoms providers to install telegraph poles around the desired sites.  This was not only extremely expensive; it also did not provide the flexibility required to support delay-sensitive applications like voice over Wi-Fi or chip-and-pin machines.

WOMAD consulted with Etherlive about installing a temporary wireless network to cover the site in Wiltshire, further specifying that the connection had to be robust enough to support critical applications without the risk of network failure.

Etherlive installed a Ruckus Wi-Fi high performance mesh network at the site to provide a reliable Wi-Fi connection for the organisers, traders and the general visiting public.  The network is already in use by the operational team, and when the festival opens it will also support a number of critical applications such as voice over Wi-Fi phones used by site managers, IP cameras, and Wi-Fi point of sale (PDQ) chip-and-pin machines used by traders.  For festival-goers there will be free internet access to a WOMAD portal & iPhone application from the main arena, and across the extensive camping areas, providing visitors with live, up-to-date information about the event including audio streams from Radio WOMAD. Using the iPhone application users can even download music from the artists playing.

Sound engineers will be using the Wi-Fi network to remotely monitor and manage decibel levels around the event without having to physically walk the property.  As sound levels can be affected by even slight changes in weather such as cloud cover or rain, keeping them within the required range, as set by the local authority, has traditionally been a tricky task with engineers patrolling the edge of the site and then having to rush back to the stage to adjust the volume when required.  With the Ruckus system, the likelihood of fines is dramatically reduced as engineers gain complete visibility to sound levels from wherever they are on site, meaning much quicker reaction times.

“There’s a growing expectation among festival-goers that Wi-Fi should be freely available, and that internet access and access to social networking should be part and parcel of the WOMAD experience,” said Chris Smith, Festival Director at WOMAD.  “What’s more, we need a reliable wireless network to run the site efficiently and ensure the event goes off without a hitch.  When we saw the demo from Etherlive we knew this was exactly what we needed.”

The deployment consists of Ruckus dual-band 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi access points (APs) and a centralised ZoneDirector Smart WLAN controller.  The units, which are all weather-proofed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions, are installed within specially designed PODs across the site.  In addition to the Ruckus wireless technology, Etherlive has developed a power management system with redundant 48 hour battery backup which ensures the network keeps running should one of the on-site generators fail.  A team of experts from Etherlive will also be on hand throughout the festival to trouble-shoot any potential issues.

“Building a flexible and robust Wi-Fi network on such a large scale to support a massive area and a huge number of concurrent users is a major undertaking – especially outdoors where interference and noise is everywhere and can’t be controlled,” said McInerney.  “The Ruckus kit solves all these problems because it is designed to be self-optimising and highly adaptive, it’s the only solution that can cope in this environment, directing signals exactly where they are needed and avoiding any interference as and when it occurs.”

The Ruckus Wi-Fi mesh uses dynamic beamforming APs on both ends of every mesh link to eliminate performance variability on the mesh backbone.  In addition, the network will erase dead spots to ensure reliable connections and provide stable performance across the entire site, delivering a two- to four-fold increase in signal range and reliability.  Pioneered by Ruckus Wireless, dynamic beamforming is the latest Wi-Fi innovation that automatically directs transmissions to the best performing signal path on a per packet basis using real time feedback mechanisms inherent in the 802.11 protocol.  In this way, Ruckus is able to overcome problems that have previously hindered outdoor Wi-Fi deployments at large festivals and events, namely interference, physical obstructions such as moving trucks and even metal stages, network management complexity and cost.

“Outdoor Wi-Fi has traditionally had a bad reputation, suffering performance problems when the wind blows or when a tree is in the way of the signal – obstacles you can’t really do much about,” said Jim Calderbank, director of enterprise sales EMEA at Ruckus Wireless.  “But with Wi-Fi becoming ubiquitous, this needed to change and we’ve done just that.  For festivals and organisers of large outdoor events, this is going to make their life much easier.  The organisers will be able to work more efficiently, traders will be able to process transactions reliably, and festival-goers will be able to easily access the internet from their smartphones – a recipe that will surely help WOMAD continue to attract more visitors and artists year on year.”

About WOMAD

WOMAD stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance and gives its name to the internationally established WOMAD Festival, which brings together artists from all over the globe.  The central aim of the WOMAD festival is to celebrate the world’s many forms of music, arts and dance. As an organisation, WOMAD now works in many different ways, but our aims are always the same – at festivals, performance events, through recorded releases and through educational projects, we aim to excite, to inform, and to create awareness of the worth and potential of a multicultural society. Peter Gabriel was one of WOMAD’s co-founders: “Pure enthusiasm for music from around the world led us to the idea of WOMAD in 1980 and thus to the first WOMAD festival in 1982. The festivals have always been wonderful and unique occasions and have succeeded in introducing an international audience to many talented artists.”Equally important, the festivals have also allowed many different audiences to gain an insight into cultures other than their own through the enjoyment of music. Music is a universal language; it draws people together and proves, as well as anything, the stupidity of racism.”

About Etherlive

Based in Wiltshire, England, Etherlive is a technology services company working in partnership with event organisers to deliver key services such as VoIP, internet, CCTV, payment processing, interactive advertising and rich media to all types of festivals, events, product launches and conferences. A finalist in the Red Herring 2009 technology awards, Etherlive has developed a range of solutions tailored to meet the demands of the live event environment all backed by experienced deployment & support teams. For more information visit http://events.www.etherlive.co.uk

About Ruckus Wireless, Inc.

Based in Sunnyvale, California, Ruckus Wireless is a next-generation Wi-Fi company credited with pioneering “Smart Wi-Fi” technology. Named a 2007 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, Ruckus Wireless was formed in 2004 at Sequoia Capital. The company designs, develops and markets industrial-strength Wi-Fi systems that provide reliable distribution of delay-sensitive multimedia content and services over standard 802.11 technology. Its flagship product, ZoneFlex, is the first wireless LAN system to combine the best in centralized wireless LAN principles with state-of-the-art Wi-Fi advances such as smart antenna arrays and wireless meshing. Its MediaFlex line of multimedia wireless routers is used by more than 125 broadband operators around the world to extend digital services such as IPTV throughout the home without wires. The company’s patented hardware and software technologies deliver predictable performance, extended range and real-time adaptability to changing Wi-Fi environments. The company has raised approximately $42 million in financing from premier venture capital investors, consumer electronics companies and broadband operators such as Motorola, T-Ventures, Telus, Sutter Hill Ventures, Mitsui, Sequoia and others. Ruckus Wireless is led by President and CEO Selina Lo. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.ruckuswireless.com.