Mitchell Hughes – General Manager, Tampa Convention Center
Understanding the technology that you are using at a trade show can be tough, you also might be just “Figuring it out” on the fly. Whatever the case, the trade show floor is not the place to find out something does not work. Mission critical tech has been at the forefront of the events industry for a very long time. There are some things that one can do to ensure that the tech works and is event ready. Here is a list, although not all-inclusive, it should cover a vast number of items.
Planning is a vital part of implementing a successful event. As technology needs grow, it is essential to mimic the process of setup and demo or set up for the event to make sure it is working correctly before the items are shipped to the event site. Technology that sits and not used for an extended period may not function properly or may need some attention for optimal performance.
Update systems before an event
Operating system updates, anti-virus, and other program updates can throw a massive pull of resources on your computer and bandwidth on a show site; it is best to ensure those items are up to speed before an event.
Have all the cords
Several smaller form factor computers no longer have ports, but use adaptors and dongles to get the job done. Most event venues do not carry these items due to the large quantity of these proprietary items and the expense to have on hand. It is best to know what you will need and plan for that, maybe even double up just in case.
Have a contact for your IT team
Often, technical individuals and companies on site will not be able to assist you with computer problems unless it relates directly to the services in which they are providing. Having open communication with someone at your firm which is understanding in your setup is a very safe bet.
Get your paperwork in-line
Make sure you have all of your service orders complete with detailed floorplans (Internet/networking, electric, event, and decorator items). Proper preparation will ensure the timely install of all items before your arrival. If for some reason, you cannot provide detailed plans on where things needs go, please communicate that to each department. Set a time to meet at the event site, so that departments can have things installed where they need to go to hopefully avoid labor charges.
5GHz is the key
Before you come on site, make sure you have a device that is 5GHz capable. It will not matter if you “Just bought it,” there are still PC manufactures that use 2.4GHz only devices to entice you with a lower cost computer. 2.4GHz is highly interfered with and may not do well in an environment like events. So much so, that a lot of companies no longer provide 2.4GHz in some areas of their facilities. You can get a USB dual-band wireless adaptor (yes another adaptor) which will grant to 5GHz if you only have 2.4GHz. If you are not sure what you have, you can likely ask your IT team to take a look and let you know.
I hope this helps in the planning of your event from a technology perspective and gives you some things to consider.