Southampton Boat Show Case Study
Founded in 1969, the PSP Southampton Boat Show is the biggest boat show in Europe, taking place annually in Mayflower Park, Southampton. It is one of the two major annual boat shows in the United Kingdom, alongside the London Boat Show. Organised by National Boat Shows, the event is a mix of tourist attraction and place of business with over 122,000 visitors for its 42nd year. Many of the world’s largest boat manufacturers, including Sunseeker, Princess and Jeanneau, construct large multi-floored displays to launch their latest boats, as well as exhibiting on the temporary marina.
Venue IT powered by Etherlive has been working with National Boat Shows to provide on-site communications for organisers and exhibitors since 2005. The organisers behind the Boat Show partner with Venue IT to continually innovate the on-site IT services. In 2010 a large VoIP system was deployed, reducing call costs whilst offering greater flexibility, including call recording functions for security reasons. Venue IT also provided additional bandwidth to the show to accommodate the growing need for exhibitor and public internet access. The network supported a daily traffic movement of 30GB across a site over six weeks, consisting of temporary marquees, portacabins, permanent buildings and a large marina.
A large amount of temporary Wi-Fi and wired equipment was installed covering the entirety of the site. This enabled a reliable and redundant network, supporting the needs of the organisers and exhibitors. Installed in a redundant topology, two locations control routing and management of the network, allowing National Boat Show staff to work from a secure network throughout the site whilst press and VIPs are also able to gain internet access wherever they need it. Using the latest 802.11n wireless equipment and gigabit wired links, Venue IT was able to manage the high interference levels that were present from rogue networks, radar and video-sending links. Support staff from Venue IT provided a constant on-site support presence to ensure any challenges were dealt with efficiently.
Multiple Independent Networks
The main network on-site supported independent secure networks for the organisers, exhibitors, press and ticketing agency. Although the same wireless hardware is used, each network terminates independently, allowing the amount of bandwidth available to be managed and monitored.
Site-Wide Ticket Scanning
The Venue IT network allows for gates to be connected, allowing live gate scanning, reducing duplicate tickets and ensuring an accurate count of visitors. In partnership with the ticketing agency SEE Tickets, Venue IT provided support and expertise, joining the ticket scanning machines to the network and setting up a dedicated routing configuration. Supported by Venue IT, the press room provides the international and national press with a location from which they can broadcast live interviews and post articles. There are also print facilities, phone handsets and should they require it, support from trained technicians.
Voice over IP (VoIP)
A site-wide VoIP network was deployed to support organiser communication requirements. Managed by an on-site Private Branch Exchange (PBX), Venue IT could quickly arrange diverts and deploy additional handsets as required. Some calls were recorded for security purposes and the system had emergency backup facilities to route the extensions of key emergency personnel over BT lines should the system fail.
A Key Partner
Finally, one of the main and continuing benefits is that Venue IT could use its existing and unique relationship with fixed line telecom providers to ensure that all services were delivered on time and in a manner that was transparent to the organising team.