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Smart City Networks releases findings of telecommunications and technology survey

November 3  |  meeting and event industry news  |   Andrew Maxwell

The technology needs of the events industry continue to change rapidly as more tablets, smart phones and wireless devices come on the market; thus, Smart City Networks conducted a comprehensive survey to study the latest technology and telecommunications issues affecting convention centers nationwide.

Survey shows need for more education in events industry about technology capabilities

The survey focused on four primary issues:

  • Perceptions of “good” technology in the convention center market,
  • Understanding of Wi-Fi, free or not, by all parties,
  • Customer frustrations with technology,
  • Beyond the technology of today, including the development of 4G, digital signage and a connected campus.

Overall, the survey found that providing more information to the events industry, including show managers, exhibitors and attendees, about technology capabilities and costs is critically needed.



Specifically, over 70 percent of convention center managers recommend that show managers be better informed about the need for constant investment in infrastructure, the cost to deliver wireless services and the capabilities of wireless networks.

And 64 percent of venue managers and CVB stakeholders feel that event managers need more realistic expectations about the pricing and type of telecommunications and technology services offered at convention centers – a finding which again supports the need for more education about connectivity options, capabilities and costs.

“It’s not surprising that with free Wi-Fi at your neighborhood Starbucks or McDonalds, that many event managers, exhibitors and attendees do not understand what it takes to provide quality Internet service for thousands of people at once, in one location,” said Mark Haley, president of Smart City Networks. “This survey helps us to understand the needs of the facilities we serve, especially with regard to educating the events industry on technology capabilities, and how to move forward.”

Haley added that the survey echoes, in part, the findings of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) survey released earlier this summer.

The Smart City Networks survey showed that while show managers may ask for free Wi-Fi, over half do not specify a specific wireless service or speed. And building managers responded that a variety of Wi-Fi offerings should be provided, including: tiered wireless pricing options (76 percent of respondents), free Wi-Fi sponsored by an event (54 percent) and free Wi-Fi in public spaces (42 percent). Only 25 percent of those surveyed believe that free Wi-Fi should be available in the entire building.

“The survey showed that while most facility managers believe that some basic Wi-Fi should be offered for free, there is still great concern as to how a building can continue to upgrade the network and infrastructure without a consistent revenue stream from the wireless services,” added Haley.

The survey also addressed the growing trend of digital signage, and a significant 86 percent of venue managers said they were interested in having a permanent digital signage system in the public areas of their facilities. Fifty-six percent of the respondents saw a number of ways in which a digital signage system can add value. The two most popular uses of digital signage were for way-finding / building information and advertising opportunities.

Additionally, the survey asked convention center executives and CVB leaders about creating a “connected campus,” specifically connecting convention center hotels to the convention center network via fiber, copper or wireless Internet. The “connected campus” concept is seen as beneficial to a majority of the facility industry. The most appealing features of a “connected campus” included the ability to improve the attendee experience, extend show information and offer integrated Wi-Fi.

Another significant finding of the survey was that 90 percent of venue managers and stakeholders said that telecommunications and Internet can or should be exclusive at facilities. Consistency and offering reliable, quality services were identified as important factors by facility managers in maintaining exclusive contracts for technology services.

“The findings of this survey will help us to develop wireless Internet products that best meet the changing needs of convention centers as well as the entire event industry,” concluded Haley.

The complete report on the survey can be found at and at

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Lodging Interactive Launches Chatter Guard for Restaurant Industry

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August 9  |  meeting and event industry news, small business resources  |   Andrew Maxwell

Chatter Guard for Restaurants includes ongoing monitoring of major restaurant review sites as well as blogs, bulletin boards and social media sites. Chatter Guard for Restaurants monitors the following sites, as well as many others:

  • Open Table
  • Urban Spoon
  • Yelp!
  • TripAdvisor
  • Fodor’s
  • Frommers

Chatter Guard utilizes proprietary technologies and scours the web to find restaurant related user generated content and reviews. It then processes and filters all reviews via a human review process and provides service level attribute scoring only a human can provide. Attribute scoring consists of Food, Service, Atmosphere, Noise Level and Value.

While our competitors provide automated reporting and review sentiment scoring, Chatter Guard is still the only service which breaks down each sentence of a review and has a comprehensive human review and service attribute scoring process,” added Mr. Vallauri. “It is this precise information that restaurants can use to improve their own service levels.

For more information please visit and, or email

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Small Businesses Missing Big Traffic Opportunities

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March 30  |  small business resources  |   Andrew Maxwell


Small businesses are missing big traffic opportunities by not updating their sites frequently or utilizing social media as much as they could be according to a study by online Website builder SiteKreator.

Over 50 percent of small businesses, it seems, update their Websites less than 0.5 times a month, meaning most don’t touch their sites much at all. In comparison, small businesses that update their Website more than five times per month, have +300% more Website traffic than those that don’t.

Shockingly, 75 percent of businesses included in the study did not integrate social media directly into their websites. Not surprisingly, those that did saw 400% more unique visitors.

The study was based on a sample of 5,000 business websites hosted on SiteKreator, out of a total of approximately 100,000 using the platform.

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LinkedIn: The Most Honest Like Yet

March 24  |  small business resources  |   Andrew Maxwell


Social networking site LinkedIn has published a series of retro-style videos introducing small businesses to the site and what it has to offer.

For business-to-business (B2B) companies — and most of us in the meeting and events industry fall into that category — LinkedIn is the leader in serious business networking.

Company Pages are the latest addition to LinkedIn and an excellent way to increase the visibility of your company, allowing you to showcase recommendations from your customers and helping to build your brand virally.

Company recommendations work in much the same way as personal recommendations. Each time a LinkedIn member endorses your products or services, their recommendation becomes visible to all of their connections. When you promote and curate these recommendations, you gain authentic endorsements on your Company Page’s Product tab. New Media Campaign’s has called this “the most honest ‘Like’ yet“.

LinkedIn just announced that is has reached the 100 million members mark. For small businesses, it’s worth taking a second look.

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