Your event app is ready to roll. You’ve submitted the app to the stores, so event app connectivity is not a priority – right? Wrong! At the event there will be schedule updates, push notifications and possibly live polling, Q&A or attendee messaging.
Event app connectivity will be crucial.
Will 4G Suffice?
If you have a couple of hundred attendees or less, the 3/4G available at the venue may provide the event app connectivity you need. If the venue is in a central location (say London or Sydney) and the space in use is at or above ground level you are off to a good start.
You can check with your venue contact, however there’s no substitute for an actual test.
What you need for a test is one device on each of the available networks e.g. 3 (UK) or Optus (Aus). Then at the venue (in the areas you are using) simply go to speedtest.net on any browser on each device, run the test and save the results.
If your results are more than approximately 20Mbps for each network, you don’t have more than 200 attendees using the event app and you’re not running a lot of polling or Q&A 3/4G may well suffice.
Where’s the Wi-Fi?
But don’t forget that event attendees will often tweet, check their emails plus a multitude of other phone activity: all of which gobbles up connectivity.
For this reason, and the fact that attendees expect good connectivity, most event planners offer Wi-Fi. This can be supplied by the venue or you can hire a specialist Wi-Fi company to provide this service.
Free Venue Wi-Fi
Most venues offer free Wi-Fi, which is typically shared amongst everyone at the venue.
This may be sufficient, but if you plan to encourage a lot of activity that requires connectivity, such as tweeting, participation in polls, Q&A or an event app game, consider upgrading to a dedicated Wi-Fi network for your event. Whichever option you choose just check that these issues don’t catch you out.
Getting on to a Wi-Fi network can be as easy as selecting the network and clicking connect or it can be as laborious as opening a web page and filling in a form.
If you are looking to provide a great Wi-Fi experience choose a network that’s quick and easy to get on to. Perhaps you could include clear instructions on your event app.
Short Session Times
When it comes to venue Wi-Fi, attendees will grumble if the session time is too short. In other words if every ten minutes they have to log in to Wi-Fi they will soon lose interest in the activities you are trying to encourage.
Lack of Concurrent Connections and Speed
A speedy network is important. Your venue contact will advise you on the speed required for the attendees’ activities.
However, you will also need a network that allows all or a large percentage of your attendees to use it at the same time (access points).
Don’t forget however, that the speed and concurrent users are directly related. The more concurrent users on the network the slower the experience is for all.
If your event is heavily reliant, perhaps if you’re using a web-based event app, on Wi-Fi and there’s a problem you will want it fixed fast. Find out from your venue if the Wi-Fi support person or team is located in house or if not how quickly they can be onsite.
The good news is that more venues are charging less for good Wi-Fi.
With any luck though the whole issue will soon be a thing of the past, we’ve got good 4G covering most of the population in the UK and Australia now and hopefully it will soon be as accessible as electricity.