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How technology is transforming convention centres


By Kim Benjamin | Aug 14, 2017
Latest tech tools elevate bricks and mortar to create immersive experiences

Technology is transforming convention centres from vast, impersonal meeting spaces into venues with an increased focus on entertainment. Self check-in kiosks, digital signage and touchscreens feature at many centres worldwide, aimed at engaging delegates and delivering an experience as engaging, interactive and as personalised as possible.

Providing super-fast wireless connectivity, supporting live-streaming and social media integration are more recent developments. Those convention centres that are leading the way with technology are going one step further still, investing in beacon technology, advanced digital displays and immersive features incorporating holographics.

Beacon technology, Coex

In spring 2016, Seoul’s Coex Convention & Exhibition Centre introduced beacon technology to improve its offering for exhibitions. The technology has six main functions, including an exhibition guide map, registration and systems for admission, exhibition planning tools, systems for guiding indoor booths, on-site business matching, and the analysis of big data.

The latter will allow organisers and participants to track and improve their exhibitions by recording information such as time spent at each booth, visitor movement in the exhibition, and the results of business matching programmes. For visitors, beaconpositioning technology enables them to find their way to any booth they are searching for, access information related to events, take advantage of discount coupons, and receive push notifications in real-time.

Immersive audio-visual, Suntec Singapore

Launched in June 2016, the ImmersiveAV Suite comprises The Panorama and The Float3D. The former is a wide-format projection screen spanning up to 105 metres, powered by 20,000-lumen projectors and a state-of-the-art audio-visual system. With a screen height of five metres, organisers can display large panoramic scenes for dramatic visual impact. Video presentations, motion graphic overlays, live-streaming, Skype video calls and Twitter messages in multiple windows can also be displayed, allowing event organisers to showcase different elements across a range of platforms simultaneously.

Using holographic projection technology, The Float3D, suspended at 4.5 metres above ground, presents still images and logos using animated effects. Events that have used these facilities thus far include the Aviation Festival Asia 2016, Singapore Institute of Directors’ Conference 2016 and most recently, UFI Open Seminar in Asia 2017.

Enhanced wifi systems, KLCC

Recent upgrades at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) include the installation of a Cisco HDX wifi system to help manage the venue’s complimentary 240Mbps wifi network, the setting up of LAN ports with increased bandwidth and a RM3.1 million (US$720,000) investment to enhance the audio and projection systems in its 21 meeting rooms.

The venue recently hosted the Mega Careers & Study Fair 2017, which was designed as a paperless event. Visitors had to e-register, submit their resumes and access show directories, programmes and schedules online or via mobile devices. While this created a heavy data load, the centre says the event is just one example of how the enhanced wifi system can handle large volumes of data with ease.

LED walls and speakers, MBS

A new batch of weatherised Meyer Sound Lyon and Leopard series speakers, which can be programmed to provide precise sound distribution for large-scale events such as concerts, corporate events and outdoor performances, has been introduced at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore, alongside two high-resolution video walls. As the venue’s VP of sales, Mike Lee explains, the video walls give MBS the ability to customise and configure the screen size, while providing the highest pixel density suitable for various venues within the complex.

Wifi infrastructure throughout the complex’s Sands Expo and Convention Centre has also been upgraded; to ensure some 40,000 devices can be connected simultaneously to high-speed wifi. The centre’s digital infrastructure was used extensively during mega financial services event, Sibos 2015.

Advanced audio-visual, BCEC

Curved screens and scalable bandwidth are just some of the technology elements available at Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), alongside event-specific custom wireless networking. The centre also has a team of IT specialists providing computer and network hire with on-site support, as well as pre- and post-production facilities. The centre’s AV team managed and operated the entire audiovisual component of the 2014 G20 Summit.

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