When Assistant Editor Sarah Beauchamp wrote about the APEX Bandwidth Estimator, released by the Convention Industry Council in partnership with PSAV, it quickly became one of Convene‘s most popular stories online. The estimator gives planners a general idea of how much bandwidth an event will require, by allowing them to input the number of attendees and the projected level of bandwidth they’ll be using (low for things like email or Web browsing; much higher for video-streaming services).
But such estimates can only go so far, Matt Harvey, PSAV’s vice president of client network services told planners from organizations within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) who met last week at the New York Hilton. While it’s important to plan ahead to determine the bandwidth that will be needed before discussing price with the venue, it’s also crucial to ask questions of attendees to track actual usage and find out what worked and what didn’t.
For instance: How many devices were attendees using on the network? Were they satisfied with how well the Wi-Fi worked for their online activities?
Harvey also suggested that planners ask venues to supply a report on their meeting’s bandwidth utilization. A graph like the one above shows the amount of bandwidth being used both to send and receive files and information in hourly increments. Gathering several such bandwidth usage reports year over year — say for an annual meeting — could give a planner a good idea about their meeting’s usage and how much it increases over time.
At this point, most hotel venues are not routinely creating these reports, Harvey said, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Like our bandwidth needs, that could certainly change over time.