Etherlive recommends an average 10% technology budget for events

Award-winning event technology supplier, Etherlive, has provided a concise guide on the incorporation of technology for events including advice on budget allocation to meet demands. It is the latest in a series of ‘smart bITe’ guides designed to help planners negotiate their way through the growing reliance on technology for events.

With September being the busiest month in the conference and events market, the guide summarises the six considerations planners should be aware of to enhance delegates’ experience and ensure their IT expectations are met:

  • Starting out right
Top of the agenda is awareness of the types of technology venues have on site. This can make the difference between delegates having a good or bad experience. Number one on the list is the quality and type of internet connection on site and the type and design of the wireless network which will deliver that connectivity to attendees. ADSL connections, for example, similar to what most people have at home, are not designed to be used for critical connectivity since the capacity speed is shared (“contended”) with other properties in the same area.

  • Predict potential network demand
Another crucial tip is to project how many delegates will be using the network at the same time and if any of the event activities require all of the delegates to use the Wi-Fi network at the same time. Additional capacity should be organised to deal with the concurrent spike in demand.

This capacity calculation should drive two considerations; firstly the speed of the internet connection needs to be sufficient for the maximum possible requirements and secondly, the Wi-Fi network needs to be planned for the maximum concurrent connections and the type of use it will get. For example everyone downloading a smartphone application simultaneously will create more load than general email and web browsing.

 • Engage network support
If the network is essential to the running of the event, the on-site presence of experts who understand the system will be indispensable, facilitating the smooth running of the system and resolving any problems that arise. This is especially important if the delegates require ‘general’ IT support to connect their devices to the network.

Planners should consider taking an IT expert to site visits to assist with the testing of the network and determine what will need to be implemented in order to meet the event requirements.

 • Pre-plan social media activity
If social media is going to play a role during the event, it is important to brief delegates with the necessary hashtags and Twitter handles. Not only will this encourage them to interact, it will also allow organisers to accurately analyse levels of social media interaction post-event. In addition, if there is a topic that should not be discussed in an open forum, i.e. via social media, this should be clarified from the outset to curtail potential leak of this information.

 • Plan for all eventualities
As with any critical event element planners will be keen to plan for the worst case scenario. For example, in case the Wi-Fi fails, there should be a location where guests can connect their laptops to a cable point if required. Should the event be unable to continue due to entire network failure, then it’s important to have multiple alternative options to counteract this.

 • Budget
IT is becoming a pre-requisite at events. Therefore, in order to ensure that the events needs are met, it is strongly advised that organisers pre-plan their requirements at the outset and budget for all eventualities, in order to avoid any additional costs at a later stage. Although all events are different, based on past events it has serviced, Etherlive typically suggest that as a starting point 10% of the budget is allocated to meet this need.

Tom McInerney, Director at Etherlive, said: “With London already in the spotlight following a landmark summer, we’re approaching the busiest time in the year for conference and events. It’s more important than ever for event organisers to be fully clued up on their technology requirements so that they can really capitalise on the success of their event.”


Notes to editors

• Etherlive is one of the UK’s leading providers of IT and communications technology for the live event sector.
• Etherlive is a specialist in large-scale indoor & outdoor events with multi-faceted communications needs, as well as being a major supplier to the corporate conference and events market.
• Etherlive has been appointed by the likes of the Greater London Authority, the Crown Estates, WOMAD festival, The Green Man Festival, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Southampton Boat Show, London World Triathlon regularly working with brands such as Nokia, Sky, Amazon and Sony.
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• Etherlive Limited, Brinkworth House, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 5DF
• Tel: 01666 511862