By Ryan Stephens-Myles, Smart City Technician, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
During an event, the convention show floor explodes with activity of exhibitors demonstrating their latest products and attendees engaging in the latest and greatest updates. Unbeknownst to many, there is an even greater flurry of Internet traffic flowing throughout the building as thousands of wired and wireless devices connect and communicate with each other and through the Internet. As digital information stream throughout the convention center, both exhibitors and attendees rely on the Smart City field technician to setup, supply, and maintain a seamless Internet connection throughout the event.
Being a technician for Smart City requires more than just technical knowledge. To be an effective technician, one needs a healthy curiosity for new technologies, the ability to adapt to different environments, and the capability to provide quality customer service.
Despite first appearances, technicians are usually busiest before an event takes place. With no two events ever the same in a convention center, preparation begins with floor plan mapping followed by phone line programming and VLAN port and switch assignments. After all the planning and software setup is complete, the next step is installing hardware connections. This can mean running cables in the basement, dangling wires from rafters, or pulling and tying cable in floor pockets.
At Smart City, we strive for zero defects in our work. This can prove to be a challenging task, especially within the hectic convention center environment. The most common problem we encounter are crushed and cut cables that cause disruptions to our client’s connectivity. Most cable installations run on the ground, either underneath carpet or black floor tape, for aesthetic purposes and to avoid trip hazards. However, forklifts operating within the halls and carpet installation teams using blades can take our Internet cables out of commission.
Once a show begins, technicians take on the additional roles of on-site customer service representatives and brand ambassadors for Smart City. We patrol the event informing potential clients of Smart City’s presence, respond to trouble tickets as they arise, follow up with customers to ensure connectivity satisfaction and respond to their technical questions.
As a field technician, we provide the frontline support for a customer’s wired and wireless Internet needs within a convention center. We seek to accomplish things right the first time with early setup and planning, and do right by the customer with follow up support during an event. We aim to fulfill the company credo of providing quality event telecommunications and technology solutions.