Advances in audio, visual, and online technologies have the potential to take events to the next level. Unlocking that potential means knowing your options, understanding your limits, and pairing with a venue that can deliver.
The team at Halifax Convention Centre is no stranger to the power of meeting and event tech. Over the years, they have helped clients wield cutting edge AV gear to elevate everything from entertainment expos, industry conferences, concerts, and beyond. Doing so, however, has meant keeping pace with trends and audience expectations.
“We’ve seen the role technology can play in creating that positive, memorable experience,” says Genaya Cameron, Director of Event Operations with Halifax Convention Centre. “It’s something we take seriously and approach differently with everyone we work with, and it’s helped shape the way that we’ve designed our products for delegates.”
On with the show
From video walls to virtual displays, and interactive kiosks to immersive audio, today’s meeting and event planners have ample means to make an impression. And for many, it’s about using these technologies to build a more engaging and collaborative experience.
“We’ve come a long way from the days of setting up a mic and a pair of speakers,” says Ken May, Manager of Corporate and Event Technology with Halifax Convention Centre. “More and more, we’re seeing things like webcasting and live streaming being integrated into presentations, as well as real-time polling through the use of mobile apps. These aren’t necessarily new technologies, but they’re becoming more advanced, more reliable, and being used more often.”
Next-generation technologies like holographic displays, video mapping, and virtual/augmented reality are also becoming more accessible (and cost-friendly) to planners. Each is poised to take events to the next level, but not without some key considerations.
Securing the connection
To power modern event technologies, there’s a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes. Herein, the team at Halifax Convention Centre partners with the industry-leading A/V supplier FMAV to provide the skills and infrastructure necessary to bring even the most tech-savvy visions to life.
“From the venue’s perspective, Wi-Fi density is critical,” notes May. “You have to be able to connect as many people as you can have in your facility on multiple devices, and you need to have people who can troubleshoot technology issues on the fly in a helpful and courteous manner.”
This is a lesson May, Cameron, and their teams have learned from experience. Whether hosting thousands of social media users during a concert or Comic-Con or keeping professionals connected during large-scale trade shows, the team at Halifax Convention Centre are well aware of how demanding today’s events can be on a venue’s network.
“A lot of people think you can do anything on the existing Wi-Fi, but that’s not the case,” Cameron offers. “You can’t assume that your live streaming event or online activity is going to run smoothly on a basic connection. At best, your content may come out poor quality, and at worse, it may not work at all.”
Therefore, it’s essential for planners to work in advance with venues to ensure the right connection and tech professionals are in place well before the doors open.
“That’s why we’re here,” Cameron adds. “An important part of our role is assisting planners with that upfront preparation because if you don’t have the right infrastructure and people in place to deliver those aspects, you’re going to run into trouble. ”
Selecting and integrating the best event technologies can seem overwhelming at first. Here’s where working with venue staff from the start can help find the right fit.
“We know our venue inside and out,” says May. “We understand what works and what doesn’t, and we can draw on our past experiences to help planners make the best use of today’s technologies.”
Moreover, Halifax Convention Centre can leverage its internal and external network of tech specialists to determine what will work best for a given event and how to ensure things run smoothly: and understand the complexities of different requirements.
Ultimately, adds May, “We’re the enabler. We provide that strong Wi-Fi, technological backbone, and partner network that allows our guests to create an incredible and collaborative experience right here in Halifax.”
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