Access, Access, Access. It can’t be seen, heard or felt. Without it, we feel powerless, adrift. It is wi-fi. In technical terms, wi-fi is a wireless computer network that allows electronic devices to connect to it using radio waves. In everyday terms, it’s how we connect to people and information almost anywhere in the world.
As the director of Information Technology at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC), Lawrence Chang’s work life revolves around connecting and enabling people via technology. That’s especially true when thousands of people attend an event at the CTCC. “People just expect their technology to work and that they will always be connected,” Chang says.
To meet that expectation Chang and his team work with technology provider TELUS to create customized behind-the-scenes networks that ensure no CTCC visitor ever experiences slow internet speeds or frozen downloads. For example, for February’s annual Calgary Teachers’ Convention—attendance 6,000 plus—the CTCC had 55 access points and 200 radio broadcast relays to three separate networks for convention-goers, presenters and exhibitors.
“Exhibitors want to access their work networks, speakers want to present video from the Internet and attendees want to stay connected without using roaming cellular services,” Chang says.
What it means for planners
Event organizers can access a separate network for registration, programs, agenda, downloads and apps. This vastly reduces the costs of printing and distributing paper copies and makes it easy for people to share information with others not at the event.
“At many events today, if you aren’t using the wi-fi connection, you don’t know what’s going on,” Chang says.
A growing trend at events is tablet registration: rather than having event-goers line up at a registration table, organizers wander through the room registering guests as they mingle. Wi-fi is used for more than just internet, including wireless microphones, lighting systems and cameras.
As wi-fi use continues to grow, Chang says the CTCC is planning more network capacity. “We have a one gigabit pipeline right now but we’re looking at 10 gigabit. We are constantly looking to increase our coverage and speeds available. Experts are saying people will arrive at events with an average of 2.5 devices each: a smart phone, a tablet and a laptop.” Chang is making sure the CTCC is ready for them.
Connecting at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre
The CTCC connects visitors and Calgarians—our city’s greatest resource. Its innovative products provide results and collaboration with partners deliver unique solutions. Our meeting spaces enhance social networking, promote interaction and bring together global leaders and thinkers. Come and be part of the energy!
For advice and insight on making your next meeting successful, contact the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre at 403.261.8500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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