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Archive For: Using Wireless at Trade Shows

Bring your own WiFi–the FCC fines Smart City $750,000!

USA Today (click here for story) reports that Smart City, a major internet and WiFi provider at trade shows across the country, has been fined $750,000 for jamming WiFi signals and forcing exhibitors to pay fees to use their own WiFi. “It is unacceptable for any company to charge consumers exorbitant fees to access the Internet while at the same time blocking them from using their own personal Wi-Fi hotspots to access the Internet,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the Federal Communication Commission’s enforcement bureau, in a news release”

NewLeads has fought this practice for several years and finally, thanks in large part to the hard work of exhibitor-rights advocate Ian Framson of Trade Show Internet (TSI), a provider of WiFi kits for exhibitors. The FCC investigated a TSI formal complaint and found Smart City to be in violation of jamming TSI customers in several instances. This is the second FCC crackdown on WiFi jamming in a year; the previous $750,000 fine was levied against Marriott nearly a year ago. Thanks and kudos to Ian Framson and TSI for taking the time and spending the money to fight this illegal practice, Please send him a congrats and your thanks to: ian@tradeshowinternet.com. Great job, Ian; this is a win for all exhibitors.

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FCC Fines Conv Ctr for Jamming WiFi HotSpots

In a HUGE victory for NewLeads exhibitors who use our WiFi, the FCC has fined the Gaylord (Mariott) convention center in Nashville a stinging $600,000 penalty for breaking the law by jamming attendee and exhibitor WiFi hot spots.  NewLeads has had to continually fight against this illegal practice in place at many exhibit halls around the country to enable our customers an uninterrupted WiFi connection to our servers. Finally, the FCC has made it clear: jamming WiFi will result in big penalties!  Read the story here.

The FCC has also created a NO JAMMING hot tips page at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/jammer-enforcement and added this alert:

Federal law prohibits the operation, marketing, or sale of any type of jamming equipment, including devices that interfere with cellular and Personal Communication Services (PCS), police radar, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and wireless networking services (Wi-Fi).”

Ask NewLeads today how our military-grade WiFi network leverages leads across your entire booth and increases your quantity and qaulity of sales ready-leads.

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The Problem with Lead Solutions that Depend on Wireless Connections–no problem

The Problem with Lead Solutions that Depend on Wireless Connections (is not a problem with NewLeads)

A desperate competitor recently posted an article trying to scare exhibitors away from iPad solutions that rely on internet and wireless connectivity, saying that there is a problem with lead solutions that depend on wireless connections.  Ironically, the competitor’s iPads ultimately rely on internet connections so that the leads can be “synced”. Perhaps the blog post goes under the category of “open mouth, insert foot”.  But it raises an important topic, nonetheless: what is the problem with lead solutions that depend on wireless connections?

There are two ways to use wireless at a show: one is with an internet connection and the other is with a local wireless cloud network (the latter of which is used by NewLeads.) Anyone using their smart phone at a trade show knows about internet and cell phone “flakivitiy”; some places are great for Verizon and At&T but Sprint has no signal and vice-versa (be it phone or broadband card).

Some lead collection systems rely on the internet, either directly or by periodically syncing the leads, both of which are flaky at best. Not having an internet connection–intermittent or permanent–means either no lead collection or no syncing of locally gathered leads at your show–none at all. Clearly, relying on an iPad’s connection to the outside world is a huge gamble at any level.  Even if you buy an internet drop and pay for wireless IP addresses for each iPad, the system is now only as good as your wireless system and your speed is only as good as the amount of shared traffic by other exhibitors.  It’s like rush hour traffic; you’ll still have a problem even if you are connected.  And did I mention how expensive are those internet drops?

So what is better about the NewLeads BlackBox trade show iPad cloud server in the booth? Why do we absolutely guarantee it, knowing that failure would mean the loss of a client? Instead of hoping for an internet connection, we avoid it, putting the wireless right in you booth.  This is the only system NewLeads has deployed for 18 months to Fortune 1000 exhibitors and nobody has ever lost a wireless connection with our iPads (except for a physically damaged unit in shipping). While we won’t divulge the secrets behind our technology, we can tell you that our system is personalized to every iPad in the booth and does not try to compete with other wireless networks.  Each iPad is fine-tuned to our network and our secure access point knows every connection.

The beauty of this live iPad network design is that information is instantly shared across all iPads in your booth. It even works with business card scanners and RFID badges, so you can rely on it for every show.  Let’s say that attendee/prospect Taylor speaks with Avery on your staff who takes notes on the iPad and ticks off some lead survey answers after the conversation.  Later in the day, Taylor speaks with a different rep in another area of your booth. With the NewLeads in-booth wireless network, Taylor’s information is easily recalled and the lead is merely updated with new or corrected data and interests.  This is true even if the re-visit is two days later.  The NewLeads iPad BlackBox network eliminates duplicates and conflicting lead data.  Best of all, it provides rapid sharing of leads and data among all reps in the booth.  It also gives managers the ability to see real-time booth activity in dashboard  reports  such as leads per hour, collateral viewing trends, leads per sales rep and so forth.

To understand why a NewLeads wireless system in your booth will always work, you need to know how everyone else tries to do this and why it is unsuccessful.  The way most wireless networks are deployed at trade shows is with “volume”.  It’s like my twin boys, now 16; when they are together and in a conversation with someone else; they keep interrupting each other and raising their voices to be heard, louder and louder, until eventually they hear a frustrated parent say (in a loud and stern voice), “Keep it down!”  If they are in a room with 50 other teens, it’s impossible to hear a conversation across the room.   It’s all just noise with no ability to  distinguish one conversation from another. So it is with wireless networks at trade shows; lots of noise and no distinction. The NewLeads wireless networked cloud is like a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones; it does not use power to overcome the other networks but rather uses precision and exclusive communication channels to filter out the noise. After 18 months, it still works flawlessly and is more reliable than a hard-wired network.

So what is the design  flaw in “syncing” leads?  In 1996, long before anybody was in this business, NewLeads created a syncing solution which revealed many flaws over the years.  Consider what it means and does: synching leads combines leads from all iPads into one database.  But if you are like most exhibitors, you have a return visitor rate of 20% or more.  What if Taylor comes back to the booth and does not speak with the same sales rep?  The lead can’t be updated unless it has been synced, so a second scan is done.  What if the answers to the sales survey questions have changed?  Which record will the sync use? Combining records is not accurate; many answers are single pick only.  What if the attendee information is slightly different? Which record is correct? Will you allow software rules to randomly make this choice?

If you don’t need your leads right away and you can wait for a week or two for the iPads to get back to the vendor to upload and sync, then syncing is an acceptable solution. Otherwise, get a real-time networked cloud solution and see how the NewLeads trade show iPad solution can triple your sales ready leads.

Meanwhile, get all the tools you can to bring more sales-ready leads to your company.  Here are some free white papers you might find useful to download: Increasing Attendee Engagement at Trade Shows and Aligning Trade Show Leads With Your CRM.  If you’d like more information, please click on the information request here.

 

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Tradeshow Wireless Internet Pricing Rip-Offs–$3,500, REALLY??

You ask for Internet access in your hotel room; that’s $24 for 24 hours. Two computers? Double that. Need it on a plane? That’s $10 to $25 per flight. Seems pretty expensive until you order trade show wireless Internet as an exhibitor for your booth (cue the horror flick music).

How about five PC’s accessing the Internet for your booth? Are you sitting down?  Have you taken your blood pressure medicine today?  How about $3,500?  REALLY? Are you (insert your frustration-based adjective(s) here) kidding me? I wish I were kidding. It makes me feel good about that first text message bill for my daughter’s new cell phone many years ago. It was $200. Chump change by comparison.

There was a time not long ago when the only option to show labor was floor labor. You didn’t even think about screwing in your own light bulbs. There was a time when lead retrieval was also “take it or leave it” until NewLeads changed the game in 1996. And there was a time before we all had iPhones, Androids, iPads, personal Internet access points (MiFi) and broadband USB sticks.

The Berlin Wall in trade shows has already fallen, and show labor is no longer a monopoly. Lead retrieval is often substituted with third party vendors, and it’s high time for the “Wicked Wardens of WiFi” to step down and stop abusing exhibitors. Time for a Trade Show Spring. Time to use your own MiFi and broadband cards or choose a third party for Internet access. Time for some good old American capitalism to work in a free market where competition drives prices down and quality up.

Aside from the forklift driver services you buy that equate to $500 an hour (known as drayage), is there anything more egregiously priced than Internet access for your booth? If it makes you irate, you are a sane and rational person; if it doesn’t, consult your psychotherapist, rabbi or priest at the next possible juncture. Better yet, aim your frustration at the party that allows this to happen: your industry association or trade show organizer/owner.

For years, transparent pricing has been discussed in both HCEA and TSEA circles. And you know what is said about talk: It’s cheap. Lot’s of gab and no results. A long time ago, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton declared, “The pen is mightier than the sword!” and American humorist Josh Billings declared (paraphrasing), “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This is about your anger turning to progress: writing a letter. Notice I did not state “email” or “phone call” or “face-to-face battle” or “grab a drink or a cup of coffee” (although that last one could be part of the plan in addition to the letter).

A letter–that old-fashioned thing that nobody writes anymore because email is ubiquitous–is all the more powerful today than it was ten years ago.  A well-worded letter sent registered mail will have a great impact. Individual letters from your colleagues will magnify the impact. Withdrawing your sponsorship from a trade show will make an even bigger statement. And while you’re at it, send a letter to the association that is purportedly representing your interests as an exhibitor or meeting planner. Can’t they spend some of those dues on advocacy? A letter is a powerful thing. Write it, send it registered mail, don’t accept the abuse any longer. And just think for a moment: what would you do with an extra $3,500?

Or you can just keep paying the Politburo.

 

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Networking iPads in the Booth

Networking iPads in the Booth

What’s so hard about networking iPads in the booth?  Just pull out your Apple network and your on, right? If only it were that easy, which it is until the show starts and there are 200 other signals attacking you.   Trade shows are unique.  Every booth has a wireless network and getting a clean signal for your needs is like getting clearance to land at O’Hare in a January snow storm with a teenager at the controls. Yet if you don’t have a network for your leads system, you’ve missed the boat.

Many exhibit and marketing professionals visited our booth at the Exhibitor Show 2012 wanting to know more about our networked iPad solution and specifically about the benefits of networking them all together with the Back Box and our rock solid wireless network.  All of our iPads are networked in your booth which instantly leverages information across your entire team at the show in real time. If your iPads are not networked, you’ll have a “merge purge” nightmare when you try to combine all of the data.

If your iPad vendor is telling you that “syncing” is easy, explore what “syncing” means. For example, if Taylor (the attendee) visits your booth and expresses interest and time frame in product x and then comes back and expresses interest and a different time frame for the same or different product with another rep on a different iPad, then “syncing” requires a human to review and decide what to do with that lead. You can’t do it automatically; if you do, your results will be less than accurate. On the other hand, if you are networked in the NewLeads cloud, it’s never an issue because there is only one record per attendee. There is only one cloud server database in the Black Box so there is never an issue with duplicates.

With the NewLeads Black Box, every time a badge is scanned into one iPad, that scan goes into every iPad, instantly. This is valuable in several ways: the visitor’s name appears on every iPad so your reps can see who has been scanned into the booth, the attendee can visit anywhere in the booth and be updated in their requests on any iPad, and the valuable lead details are stored on the Black Box cloud server, so even if the iPad were to be stolen, the data would not be compromised because it is not stored on the iPad.

Several people asked about last minute changes to their lead surveys. With our cloud server, these changes can be made remotely on the server and then all iPads are updated literally in an instant, while the reps are still using them, with no loss of data.

If you are planning on using iPads, make sure they are networked!

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Exhibitor and Pittcon Wireless Fails While NewLeads Wireless Stays Up

When you choose to use a wireless solution in your booth, you must be sure it will work–but how?  At both Pittcon and the Exhibitor Show 2012 in Las Vegas (a trade show for the trade show industry), the Mandaly Bay wireless failed repeatedly. However, NewLeads and its eight partners on the show floor had no problems with using our wireless iPad solution because NewLeads supplied the wireless network for each partner. How good was the system? Certainly, it was better than the one offered for free by the trade show organizer. The following email apology was sent by Exhibitor2012 regarding the failure of the show provided wireless network:

(Dear Exhibitor at 2012):

Given the high volume of WiFi signals from the EXHIBITOR2012 show floor, the official MC2 sponsored WiFi signal was frequently facing network interference and deemed ineffective. Although Mandalay Bay made every effort to overcome this technical challenge, they were unable to deliver a consistent, working service.

We thank MC2 for providing this ongoing service. 

EXHIBITOR2012

Wireless interference at trade shows is only increasing, and the little Exhibitor Show had relatively little wireless traffic compared to shows like RSNA, NAB, CES, and many more. Why does the NewLeads wireless system work? It’s Telco grade, which means it’s not a cheap system that you get at Best Buy or even the best from Cisco; none of these will work at trade shows except for the NewLeads system. This same system is used by our government in national security situations where the network can’t fail and must be impenetrable. In fact, our wireless is more reliable than a hard-wired network. (We didn’t believe the claim either until we started deploying it). Try it at your next show with our iPad solution for guaranteed results. (Sorry, our wireless system is not available as a stand-alone system).

 

 

 

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