When a hotel or conference center is in a last-minute technology jam, who do they call? One Ring Networks. The Atlanta-based Internet service provider, which has also has offices in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, has a history of providing efficient solutions for conferences when venues aren’t properly prepared for a group of attendees each carrying a smartphone, tablet and laptop. At the risk of hurting his own business, Kris Maher, vice president of One Ring, offered up five common technological mistakes he sees venues making in the meetings and events field:
1. Insufficient in-house bandwidth.
While companies like One Ring provide temporary solutions, Maher sees plenty of hotels and conference centers spending too much on marketing to clients in need of up to 1 gigabit of data but too little on building a permanent network needed to meet those requirements.
2. Equipment that’s behind the times.
Maher is amazed each time he sees a venue trying to run a high-speed network through old Wi-Fi gear. The trouble is that Wi-Fi equipment is usually only capable of supporting a maximum of 50 megabits, a relatively small amount in an era of attendees using multiple devices. Regardless of the newly installed circuit’s capabilities, the conference will only have what the Wi-Fi device can support.
3. Not enough lead time.
Five to 10 years ago, all it took was a basic Ethernet cable installation to add bandwidth. That process took about 30 days from start to finish. It takes about three times as long to build out a fiber-optic network, Maher estimates. That lack of knowledge leads to a lot of panicked calls to One Ring, which can usually save the day.
4. Not thinking long-term.
Many of its clients in need of last-minute upgrades will pay One Ring per installation rather than signing a one-year contract, which costs them more money in the long run. It also guarantees the venue will have a safety valve.
5. Not having a dedicated IT team.
Relying on groups like Swiftcom and Smart City, which One Ring partners with, can have its advantages, but you need someone who knows “where the skeletons are hidden,” notes Maher. In fact, this mistake often leads to the four above errors.
In Case of Emergency
Kris Maher, vice president of One Ring Networks, says tech companies like Google and Microsoft are willing to spend extra to make sure the Internet works seamlessly throughout an event. For example, Microsoft employed One Ring through a third party to install a gigabit network as a backup for its regular bandwidth. The endeavor cost $100,000, Maher says, and not one bit of One Ring’s data was used during the conference.
Photo credit: Chris Savas