February Tech Bytes: Wi-Fi Love, Getting Lost, Humanless Check-In and More

February 21, 2019

This month, we’re recapping the latest tech news you need to know in an easily digestible format. Have news to share with us for March? Drop me a line at kogletree@tsnn.com.

Who can say no to faster, more reliable Wi-Fi?

Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center Dallas got a wireless upgrade this year thanks to Smart City Networks, which installed a new distributed antenna system (DAS) to expand the cellular service coverage and capacity at the facility.

“This new system is going to make a noticeable difference for everyone who attends an event [at KBHCCD],” said Mark Haley, President of Smart City Networks. “This upgrade, combined with our wireless network investment, reiterates our commitment to deliver exceptional experiences through technology in Dallas.”

Covering 2.2 million square feet of space with strong Wi-Fi isn’t an easy task; the system required 11,000 feet of coaxial cable, 106,000 feet of fiber-optic cable, 172 remotes and 252 antennas. The payoff for meeting planners and their attendees, however, will be great.

“This technology upgrade is going to be a game changer for our facility,” said Rosa Fleming, KBHCCD’s interim director. We agree!

If you had $1 for every time you got asked where the restrooms were…

As much as you love your attendees, helping them navigate the ins and outs of your event’s facility doesn’t always, ahem, take priority.

Thankfully, Orange County Convention Center is doing the work for you (if you’re convening there, that is) with its new OCC Campus Wayfinding app, launched Feb. 1. It’s available for download in the App Store and Google Play.

The Robin to OCCC’s Batman — wayfinding kiosks that were installed on the campus early last year — the app offers turn-by-turn directions (Google Maps style) to help users get around. As a bonus, it doesn’t require connectivity to a cellular network or Wi-Fi to function once downloaded, so even if the internet backfires, no one will get lost.

“This mobile application is an extension of our employees,” said OCCC’s IT Project Leader Mike Distler. “It was designed to convey simple, easy-to-follow directions for anyone who might need a little assistance when visiting the Center of Hospitality.”

Hotel apps are nothing new, but this one’s cool.

MGM Resorts has finally launched a mobile app, enabling users to make reservations, check in and gain access their room all from their phone. You could say it’s about time (InterContinental launched an Android app way back in 2010), or you might just appreciate the fact that you can access a ton of Las Vegas properties — Bellagio, ARIA, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and more — plus other destinations like MGM National Harbor, in one convenient location.

For attendees who might be less familiar with Las Vegas than most show organizers are, the app contains great content on dining and entertainment options around town. Another nice feature is how easy the app makes check-in and check-out, eliminating the need to talk to an actual person if your last night in town involved a later evening than you’d planned.

While the technology isn’t there (yet) for you to use your phone as an actual key at MGM properties, you can use the app to print a room “key” from one of the mobile check-in kiosks in the lobby and quickly be on your way.

Now that’s one way to show off new tech installs.

In honor of their 15th anniversary of working together, WorldStage event technology services gave New York event venues Metropolitan Pavilion and Metropolitan West a heck of a present: a major tech makeover. Then, they celebrated it all with 500 event professionals at a major bash (complete with technology demos) held Jan. 22.

“The relationship between an event venue and entertainment technology provider has to be strongly collaborative and involve innovation, and that was exactly what the January event showcased,” says Scott Isebrand, COO for both venues.

Located in the Chelsea neighborhood, the venues were outfitted with shiny new LED lighting fixtures, laser projectors, roll-down projection screens, LED monitors, passive speakers and more. At Metropolitan Pavilion, WorldStage enhanced its in-house inventory with digital mixers, wireless systems and even more speakers.

It goes without saying that there’s nothing like a good party to showcase what a venue can do.

“The evening gave us a chance to show some different options to event planners,” said Shelly Sabel, WorldStage’s director of design.


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