When I became a meeting planner 20+ years ago, audio visual and computing needs were simple and divided. You rarely needed to rent a computer at your conference unless it was to set up a temporary office, provide a media room for the press or have an Internet café for attendees.
Oh how things have changed in 2014 and will continue to change and evolve in the future. AV still consists of things like projector rentals, but it really is so much more. Attendees are bringing their computing power with them and the expectations are high that Wi-Fi access will be everywhere. Apps are getting more powerful and plentiful. AV technology companies are now one-stop-shops with computers, tablet rentals and Wi-Fi hotspot rental options.
It is important for you to realize that there is a way to move forward without driving yourself crazy. Through careful planning and asking a lot of questions, you will be able to bring the best of your AV and IT solutions together, and you may find the resources reside in the same AV technology rental vendor!
Five Key Questions to Ask During Event Planning
- What apps are we going to use at the meeting? Are they going to be native or web based?
Without a doubt, this discussion point will have the greatest impact on your Wi-Fi network. If you choose iPad rentals as your platform and the apps you are installing on those rentals are web based, your network needs to be robust enough to handle the constant uploading and downloading of information. On the other hand, if you download the app once and everything is accessed without the Internet, your Wi-Fi workload will drop substantially.
- How many devices are attendees planning on bringing to the conference?
Once you have a fix on the device rentals and apps, it is important to poll your attendees, speakers and exhibitors to determine what other devices they are bringing and what they will be using those devices for.
When you have the data, work with your vendor (whether it be at the hotel or audiovisual technology company or both) to see if the venue’s current Wi-Fi infrastructure can handle the load.
- Who’s going to monitor the Wi-Fi workload?
What most people don’t understand is the bandwidth doesn’t crash “out of the blue”. It has peak usage that, over time, leads to the Internet slowing down to a crawl or ultimately going down altogether. This typically happens when no one is monitoring uploads and downloads of web activity and can see the graphical impact of this activity.
If the answer is, no one is going to monitor your activity, then move onto another facility. You can’t afford for the Internet to go down and if it does, you will be hearing about it for months after the conference ends.
- What about scanner rentals and shredder rentals?
As much as your organization would like to rid itself of paper, it probably isn’t going to be entirely eliminated this year or next. Important documents need to be scanned to the cloud. There is sensitive information on an attendee’s badge, or on the master bill you have at the hotel that needs to be shredded onsite.
While you might think these rentals are only available through a computer rental agency that just isn’t true any longer. Good technology rental companies also have this equipment in their inventory.
- Can one company handle all your technology needs?
Chances are the answer is yes! As AV and IT requirements blend, the best organizations will move in the direction of their clients’ needs. And that is true of Hartford Technology Rental, an audiovisual IT rental company that is a one-stop entity for you and your event planning needs.