Live events encounter a range of challenges, such as huge volumes of network traffic, and the need to set up temporary networks in a limited amount of time so that visitors can share events on social media, make cash-free purchases and stream videos.
“Things that are innocuous in an office situation become a very big problem in a temporary environment,” says Allen Cook, CEO and founder of TOURtech, which provides temporary network solutions, voice over internet protocol services and targeted public wi-fi services for between 80 and 100 temporary and live events every year, including Coachella and Lollapalooza. “We don’t have much time to set our networks up, nor do we have the luxury of time to deeply analyse or troubleshoot where problems lie. It also becomes difficult to track network traffic which makes it difficult to identify network problems in order to fix them.’’
To overcome these challenges, TOURtech worked with Microsoft partner Sinefa to deploy its unified management and visualisation solution in 2015 after a successful two-week trial. Sinefa’s solution has made it possible to fix network congestion issues that often occur at live events and improved customer satisfaction by decreasing network performance-related complaints.
”Windows is at the core of our system,” says Cook. “Every festival system we deploy relies on a server running Windows 10 for network monitoring and wi-fi controllers. Our organisation runs on Office 365 and we use Surface tablets for RF Analysis and wi-fi optimisation.”
Since introducing Sinefa into its networks, TOURtech’s network congestion has significantly decreased. Previously, bandwidth was unmanaged, which meant that backhaul connectivity needed to be oversupplied by 10-30% annually to keep pace with the rapid increase in demand at music festivals. By eliminating a proportion of this traffic, connectivity levels have become more stable.
“Connectivity is one of the largest costs for an event, which is a third-party cost to us,” Cook says. “Anything we can do to optimise bandwidth utilisation helps our bottom line, and means we can also pass the benefits on to our clients.”