Monday, 22 February 2016

ThinkWall at BETT

ThinkWall at BETT

The British Educational Training and Technology Show, or BETT as it’s more commonly known, is a major educational event that happens every January at ExCeL London. With a footfall of 35,000 across four days, there are a multitude of activities happening at differing locations throughout. So how did ThinkWall help keep people engaged and inform them of where and when things were happening?

This year, we had 15 screens around the venue taking advantage of our Social Signage, Digital Signage and a custom plugin for displaying agendas. All of these were managed from a central location, thanks to the cloud nature of our software, coping with the typical event venue issues like poor Internet connections.

ThinkWall.JPG

As with all of our ThinkWalls, we did a branded design to suit their guidelines. The right hand side of the side of the screen alternates between a gallery of photos and tweets that were happening on the very busy hashtag (around 10,000 a day from Twitter and Instagram). At first, we used our “light touch” approach with a series of filters, but with such a busy hashtag it didn’t take long before it was being hijacked by ne’er-do-wells. At this point we switched to moderating each piece of content before it went on screen. Time consuming, but had the added benefit of curating the content too, removing not just inappropriate, but also boring messages.

People love seeing their content on the big screen, but visitors also got first hand opinions of what was hot and where to go. Crowd journalism at its best.

On the left hand side, we showed what was happening now, and what was coming up next. Most of the time, this was for the area the screen was outside, but in other areas (such as the press office) this included multiple agendas at once so they could see what options were available to them.

Rather than using our control panel to input data, we used a Google Spreadsheet which was then imported automatically into the control panel. This was the easiest way to collaborate with the team with such a large data set, without needing any training. Any changes that came in, we were instantly notified. The changes were sanity checked before being pushed out to the screens. Silently, they updated with the new data without anyone noticing.

On various days, site wide notices were required - such as an advert promoting free drinks being available after the event. The full screen advert was uploaded and quickly deployed without any of the screens needing to be touched.

With 35,000 people excluding exhibitors, reliable Internet was a tall order. Many walls were cabled in, but for some this wasn’t an option. We design and test ThinkWall on connection speeds as low as a 56k modem, with frequent disconnects. This wasn’t far off what we ended up with on site - but the data trickled through and you never saw a half loaded image or an error message.

See you next year?