One of QEII’s core market sectors is international association events. We organise a number of these on regular annual/biennial or cyclical schedules and many loyal clients confirm events well in advance. We have one which runs its annual event here and currently has confirmed events until 2020.
Each year presents new challenges and 2015 was no different. These can be commonplace, for example trying to book the best freelance technical labour a year in advance, or it could be something more unusual such as finding new ways of uploading and organising 800 presentations over three show days plus hosting several versions of each presentation within a secure environment and ensuring each presentation reaches the correct screen at the correct time. We also made the most of our different spaces, transforming our ground floor café into a speakers’ preparatory room to ensure presenters’ needs were dealt with quickly and efficiently.
This particular association is traditionally paper-based, but we also wanted to introduce digital services to their event. Much of their time was spent previously in designing print for wayfinding, stage branding, and for their exhibition and conference programmes. Now, digital signage has replaced signposting including advertising in the main foyer via a quad resolution videowall, What’s On wayfinding signage, signs by each session room, input into a scheduler to ensure the correct session names/times displayed according to the programme and screens with general programme information per day including a floor directory.
There were also the normal audio-visual issues you would expect with any large conference. The client required several versions of Microsoft PowerPoint on every machine, mixed with a certain number of Mac presentations. Some required high definition projection – 16:9 aspect ratio; others were submitted as standard definition 4:3 presentations according to the Microsoft version in use. There was also a vast array of other kinds of presentations adding to the general mêlée including so-called poster sessions which also had presentations attached.
There were subsidiary companies involved at the event which required specific audio-visual equipment, associated with the main event but needing separate organisation and sponsorship presence. Some sessions were recorded, some were not to be recorded and some required audio recordings only. We also organised all the slide pre-production before the event, produced and managed the generic programme slides and video clips. Our ICT department serviced all the exhibitors using an online ordering system and provided free on-site support assisting with their social media requests and supplying touch screens in the client exhibition areas. We also serviced the various Board meetings. All stage set design and related lighting plots were designed in-house using 3D Studio Max.