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Practical Ideas for Running Events IT

The Olympic and Paralympic Games London 2012

Keeping in mind the imminent 2012 Games in London, we are pleased to look at the requirements of National Olympic Committees, as well as international news organisations for this exciting event.

IT Support for Events

This article is written with medium to large events in mind. By that, we mean an event with at least 1,000 participants and at least 10,000 spectators, conducted over a multi-day or multi-week period, in a geographical theatre spanning several locations. Our Events solutions start paying off for you when you have more than 10 people attending as participants, management or support.

If you are responsible for a major event, or for sending a group of people to participate in one, you will inevitably have to take some decisions regarding logistical support. Most of these will be obvious, like transportation, lodging and meals. But, on top of these, you have to take into consideration the major constituencies to your organisation. Are there any third-parties to inform about your event before you go? Do you have an obligation to keep your group/team/squad informed about practical things while you are together at the event? Is it in your interest to issue regular press statements during the event? Will it add to the experience if individual participants in your group can get together in a conference while the event takes place? To share ideas? To motivate each other?

Most event organisers nod approvingly when they talk of the above.

You should think in three dimensions, before sending a delegation to an event:

  1. How will they communicate with the outside world?
  2. How will they communicate in writing within the delegation?
  3. How will they communicate in person with and between members of your delegation?

1. Communicating with the Outside World

Communication with the outside world can be in writing or by voice. Most likely your event managers will be busy tending to the management of the delegation and of the schedule. Likewise, your delegation will be fully occupied with the task at hand. This leaves few, if any, opportunities to establish regular communication externally.
To solve this conundrum, you need effective tools which can convey your messages, as they appear.
We propose a combination of a CRM system, to manage your close external relations, and an Email Broadcasting system, to keep distant external constituencies informed of your progress.

2. Written Internal Communication during the Event

In the traditional boot-camp model of event management, each day starts with the delegation leader announcing the practical issues of the day during an early morning roll-call. The entire delegation and the event management team are present and news is spoken out loud to everyone. Many items on the agenda are designed for just a subset of the delegation, but everyone must listen patiently until the meeting is over. This is potentially time-wasting for many members of your team. It may even be impossible to conduct such a meeting, if your meeting participants are spread over a wide geographical area.
Keeping your delegation informed about practical matters during a multi-day/multi-week event is a tough task in itself. We propose to maintain an electronic Bulletin, or Messaging, Board. This takes the place of the old-fashioned wall-mounted messaging board, but is accessible to everyone, irrespective of physical location, through a browser on an Internet connection. With careful planning, you can design the sub-categories appropriate for you and by granting author access to your team, you can let them post information as well as comments to yours and each other's messages.

3. Conducting Team Meetings during the Event

When it comes to rapid exchange of ideas and information, nothing beats the personal touch. Planning meetings, logistics meetings, briefings, de-briefings, announcements - these are all enhanced when presented by people. Your problems start when geographical distance between meeting members make it prohibitively expensive to conduct frequent meetings. Even small distances can effectively block a meeting quorum, especially when busy scheduling makes it difficult to find a time slot everyone can agree on.
To solve this vital communications problem, we propose a Voice and Video Conferencing platform, which will allow you to conduct meetings through a browser and an Internet connection. We think a Video Conferencing platform with associated whiteboard facility will allow you to conduct crucial meetings at short notice over any geographical distance. You will be able to see who is present at the meeting, hear each other's voice, as well as see the meeting leaders face. In addition, you can watch PowerPoint slides or video played on the team leader's computer, as well as write interactively on the in-built whiteboard.


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