Why You Should Never Rely on WiFi at Trade Shows

Gearing up for your next event? In a connected world, internet access is essential for business and the same can be said for an event. But do you really need consistent internet access and WiFi at a trade show or exhibition? And have you considered the pitfalls?

Internet access at events is expensive

If you’ve booked an internet connection at an event before, you’ll know how costly it can be. Typically, you can expect to pay hundreds, sometimes thousands for a connection. Want a faster internet feed? Then be prepared to part with even more marketing budget. Internet at events, especially large expos and trade shows, is big business for the venue.

Is WiFi allowed at events?

Hardwired internet is all very well and good but the nature of an event means your team won’t want to be static. This is where WiFi comes in, but there are few things to take into consideration. At large scale event spaces, the organisers may enforce a strict no WiFi rule or only allow you to use their infrastructure.

Can I bring my own Wi-Fi?

If you’re a tech-savvy exhibitor you may choose to take your own equipment “under the radar”, but be prepared for technical challenges, especially if other exhibitors have had the same idea (more on that later) or the venue’s IT team are watching like hawks. Some venues will let you bring your own WiFi, which is great, however, it’s always best to be prepared for a worst case scenario, which unfortunately happens all too regularly.

WiFi is unreliable

In a busy trade fair or convention centre where WiFi is present, wireless networks are competing for space. The easiest way to describe it would be bunching every FM radio station together on the radio. You try to tune into one station and you overlap with another. Not forgetting the pirate radio stations…yarr!

A great example of this is a keynote speech by the late Steve Jobs. Undoubtedly one of the most iconic figures in technology, his demonstration of the then-new iPhone 4 was brought to a grinding halt because of WiFi problems! Check out the video below:

We’ve spoken to countless businesses who have encountered wifi and internet access issues at events. Those that have tried to simply run their website enquiry form on a laptop to collect leads, to setting up a quick SurveyMonkey web form for data capture, only to find the internet connection drops in and out, and they find themselves reverting back to paper forms and stacks of business cards.

Summary

Hopefully, this post has given you some things to consider when planning for your next company event. We’d all have great internet at events if we could, however we know the reality! Our advice? Plan to work offline wherever possible and don’t rely on software and apps that need to be connected to the internet in order to function. If you do need the internet, limit who has access to it and have a backup plan in case it drops out. Remember, an event for your business is about meeting people and essentially generating leads. Need an effective way of collecting leads at your event? We can help with that!

If you would like to find more about collecting leads on your iPad or Android tablet (without the need for an internet connection), let’s talk – our team are here to help you hit your goals.