The Online News Association (ONA) is where 2,000 journalists and small businesses from around the world convene every year, and it’s the job of C3-Wireless to provide the Wi-Fi infrastructure and network services. All attendees are digitally driven, and all have multiple devices, so not only is connectivity important, but speed, convenience, and reliability as well. It is our job to make sure everything works well for them at all times. Not only are we responsible for providing Wi-Fi and network services for those 2,000 attendees and their multiple devices, we also provide Wi-Fi and network access for the exhibitors, sponsors, and presenters.
Providing seamless Wi-Fi and network access for the presenters is especially important. For example: one year at the ONA 2015, there was a presenter from ONA magazine that was demoing million dollar robots. Those robots were controlled via Wi-Fi from the back of the room, so they needed to be able to move on stage, on command, and do certain functions that the presenter asked them to do. Our on-site team and the presenter’s team went through 3 or 4 dress rehearsals beforehand in order to make all that happen with no issues or lag. That is an excellent example of the kind of level of service that we provide just for a 5 or 10 minute presentation. We spend hours configuring Wi-Fi for the production people and the presenter in order to make sure that presentation went off without a hitch.
Facebook, Twitter, everything is very digitally interactive here. Especially at any tech conference, tech people have high expectations to not only be connected, but to connect at a decent speed and operate all the different devices and things that they need to. In general, the thing that separates us from, say, in-house solutions is really this: with in-house solutions, the infrastructure is very permanent. This means that wherever it is, whatever ballroom or hall it’s in, that’s where it stays. The major problem with that is every event is different, therefore every event is set up differently. They set up things in different areas and in different places, but the Wi-Fi infrastructure never moves, so it’s very difficult to get consistent coverage event to event just because it’s not customized…the event is customized but the Wi-Fi is not. The other major issue is that the venue will just flip a switch and walk away, so if you have a problem, you have to call them to come fix the issue. With C3-Wireless, we’re proactively managing the event on site, so not only do we have the design expertise in order for us to custom design where that Wi-Fi infrastructure is, but we are onsite during the event. We are at the help desk and roaming the event, making sure proactively that everything is working properly. That way we don’t have people coming to us, but rather we’re fixing issues before they happen, so to the end user it appears seamless. That is really what makes us successful: not only do we design and implement experts, but we’re here on site managing it proactively. This is our second year in a row doing the ONA, and we hope to return next year to provide the highest level of Wi-Fi and network services available.