Technology is a constant companion for all event attendees, and it's a companion that is expected to be on its best behavior. It should be always present, yet invisible, supporting attendees from registration to close without pause. The old adage, "no news is good news," certainly applies here — all planners want to get through their event without a single technology complaint.
They also want to be able to promise support for the most used and requested technologies out there. This gives them a competitive advantage, making their events more engaging and enhancing the attendee experience.
Most, if not all, technologies rely on the WiFi, so greater technological dependence also means greater WiFi network dependence. But designing and maintaining smooth connectivity and completely reliable WiFi is not an unattainable goal. Here are the five essential steps for getting started.
1. Adopt Vendor-Agnostic Tools for Continuous Optimization
WiFi infrastructure is not set in stone. Venues can change vendors at any time, and this makes it important for anyone in charge of the WiFi to work with vendor-agnostic optimization tools. This is the only way to guarantee uninterrupted access to WiFi analytics.
A vendor-agnostic tool ensures that not only is no data lost during the transition, minimizing the chance that a connectivity issue will go unidentified, but also that there is no delay while IT professionals and event planners learn to use new optimization tools. Once trained on the vendor-agnostic solution, teams are good to go no matter what changes occur.
With the WiFi always reliable, vendors can lean on offerings such as QR codes, virtual reality and live streaming without fear of interrupted access.
2. Work With Platforms That Deliver Insights for Fast Problem Solving
Speed is the name of the game when it comes to maintaining optimized WiFi. The less time someone must spend identifying the root cause of an issue, the faster that issue will be resolved and the fewer the number of attendees who will be affected.
This means working with tools that deliver easy-to-understand insights such as root-cause identification, suggested resolutions and general health and performance updates, rather than only providing data capture. Insights should be straightforward and easily accessible.
When researching options, be sure to ask about customer service offerings. Ideally, extra help won't be needed once training is complete. But in case issues or questions arise, planners will want to have customer service agents on hand, so that WiFi connectivity issues can be resolved quickly and events can continue uninterrupted.
3. Use Proactive Alerts to Avoid Attendee Dissatisfaction
Would you rather resolve an issue before event attendees are affected, or wait for attendees to notice the issue and bring it to your attention?
Without fail, planners would prefer to resolve problems before they become cause for complaint. But this requires working with WiFi optimization or analytics solutions that proactively identify abnormal network performance and alert IT in real time.
It also means working with an IT team that is supported with tools that allow proactive intervention — for example, real-time access to the network from any location. Whether IT is permanently on-site or not, this gives them the flexibility to resolve problems without having to travel to the affected area. This can result in faster resolutions and less interruptions for event attendees.
4. Test the Entire RF Ecosystem as an End User for Better Visibility
The radio frequency ecosystem is the environment in which WiFi networks exist. This ecosystem includes WiFi infrastructure, connected devices, nearby WiFi networks, Bluetooth devices and other radio waves sharing the airspace. Everything in this ecosystem must be monitored and tested, so that any and all types of interference are recognized and resolved.
For the most reliable connectivity, tests should be run in a way that mimics attendee behavior. This requires using a testing tool that connects to the network like an end user device. All test results then accurately mimic the user experience.
Not all testing tools that work this way will return results in real time. Look for one that will for the best ROI. Tests should be run continuously throughout an event so that user experience insights are constantly updated. Look for a tool that allows for scheduled testing or arrange a timetable for consistent manual testing with IT professionals.
5. Review Historical Analytics to Future-Proof Events
When prepping for a future event, it's important to review past WiFi network performance. Reviewing long-term performance trends is an effective way to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to support optimal connectivity.
This might include updating infrastructure, scheduling data-heavy events in certain spaces, or running tests more frequently. Historical analytics will make clear what is needed in a specific venue to meet specific needs.
Prepare for Next-Generation Expectations Now
Technology — and its dependence on WiFi — is going nowhere. Whether it be contactless check-in, live translation, mobile apps or immersive experiences, everyone at events is looking for more ways to connect to the WiFi, not less.
To keep events running at next-level performance without connectivity issues, use tools and solutions designed for easy, cost-effective WiFi optimization. Attendees and staff will thank you by celebrating everything they accomplished at the meeting without having to make a single WiFi complaint.
Roger Sands is the cofounder and CEO of Wyebot, an AI-driven WiFi automation platform. He has more than 20 years of executive management experience within the wireless network industry, including roles at Hewlett-Packard, Colubris Networks and Accton Technology.