Ask These Questions to Avoid Event Wireless Problems

Event Planners Should Ask These Seven Questions About Venue Wireless Before They Sign on The Dotted Line.

As event technology nerds at MB4 Productions, we often field questions about venue wireless for our clients. While MB4 Productions is not an internet services provider, many of our solutions like webcast, live stream, and our digital meeting solution (our light event app) depend on a quality wireless setting. In this day and age, quality wireless is an expectation. Attendees, presenters, event planners and suppliers alike all expect to have access whenever and wherever they are, especially at events. Yet, oftentimes, event planners do not know what questions to ask to ensure the venue will meet the wireless demands of their event. While we have a much more extensive list of up to twenty great questions, we have narrowed it down to our top seven most important questions to ask a venue to avoid event wireless problems: 

1. What is the maximum number of simultaneous connections for the network?

2. What is the ratio of access points to expected devices?

3. What are the locations of the wireless access points?

4. Can I count on qualified technical support throughout the entire event?

5. Is there a dedicated amount of bandwidth specifically for my event?  

6. What are the internet upload/download speeds?  

7. Can I speak with a recent client who a similar event in the venue?

Also, remember this conversation is best had before the event space has been contracted. Having the wireless discussion in advance gives a planner the information they need about the wireless scenario as a fit for their event, allows for the most bargain power and provides the option to amend the contract to include external wifi services as needed. Our team is always happy to help with these conversations and contracts, contact us anytime!

Audience Response Systems in a Nutshell

An Overview of Audience Response Systems for Better Meetings.  

Though Audience Response Systems (ARS) and their range of uses differ, these systems essentially use wireless devices to transmit instant audience responses to questions, polls, surveys, quizzes, games and more. With this instant line of communication, presenters can interact with their entire audience and display results in near real-time using software such as PowerPoint.

Audience response tools range greatly in features. There are affordable basic handhelds or clickers as some call them. There are also robust handhelds that allow for texting, built-in microphone, assisted listening or translation. Another option in ARS, are web-based applications like the MB4 Digital Meeting Solution (DMS). These applications are easy to adopt from any wifi enabled device. In this day and age, audience engagement is also frequently deployed through native applications downloaded from an app store. The native nature of these tools allows for more bells and whistles as applications on a mobile device or enabled tablet can use in-built features like vibration, camera, geolocation and keyboards. Even the all-important emojis can come into play.

The top eight major benefits of Audience Response Systems are:

  • Increased meeting engagement

  • In the moment opinion capture

  • Demographics details about the audience

  • Before and after knowledge aggregation

  • Two-way communication between presenters and the event participants

  • Accommodation for different learning styles

  • Q&A (no roving mics, identified or anonymous for more candid responses)

  • Instant survey data and digital reports

This technology can add value to any meeting small or large. But, the types of events we most often see ARS in use at are:

  • National Sales Meetings

  • Pharmaceutical Sales Training

  • Board Meetings

  • Annual Employee Meetings

  • Stockholder Meetings

For the best implementation of this technology, top things to consider are:

  • Does the chosen ARS system require a dedicated internet connection or advanced wireless arrangements within the venue (How many attendees need to be covered by the internet or wireless)?

  • How savvy is the audience? Would they download a native app, or is a link okay, or perhaps it would be better to give them devices such as keypads, or pre-programmed iPads?

  • How dynamic are the presenters? will they need training? Will there need to be a designated ARS tech on-site?

  • How many rooms will ARS be used in, are there simultaneous sessions? Will the system need to move?

  • What percentage is enough to warrant closing a polling question or will questions be closed after the standard 15 seconds?

  • Top ARS best practices as follows:

    • Plan questions in advance

    • Make sure the questions serve a purpose (lead to meeting outcomes or mission-related conversations

    • Build time into the program to engage with ARS results (It is also beneficial to engage with results post-event)

    • Consider how to display questions or text in comments and responses to the audience

This technology has been around for a long time, but we predict it will be utilized more as audiences, both established and young demand to be a more active part of the conversation. Our ARS system, the MB4 DMS, is an affordable way to dip a toe or two into the water. Contact us today, to talk through ARS concepts or other engagement ideas.





Three Reasons Event Planners Are Frustrated with In-House AV

The recent acquisition is not helpful to the in-house AV price-value relationship for event production. 

In life, it is nice to have options, as an event planner a major decision is who to select as an audiovisual (AV) partner. The right partner can mean a show that runs smooth, looks and sounds great. The wrong partner can lead to an event riddled with issues. A common question we see from planners is “what is the difference between in-house and third-party AV providers?” To answer this question fully I will need to do a full separate blog post, but one major difference is the in-house AV model’s price-value relationship. The price to value relationship is on a steady decline as major hotel chains contract with audiovisual giants like PSAV for in-house services and this will likely continue after the recent acquisition of Encore by PSAV. The top three concerns planners currently have are:

1. Increased pressure to use the on-site in-house AV provider 

2. The hotel kick-back requirements create a cost increase that is not reflected in goods or services

3. The lack of competition creates a decline in equipment and service quality

To find out how to avoid frustration over event production needs, contact us. We work with our clients to get top audiovisual solutions for the budget with premium service to boot! With 25 years in event production, we know the contract ins and outs. We are masters at audiovisual implementation and cost-analysis so our clients don’t have to be.