Tuesday, March 27, 2018

10 Facts about AT&T Stadium That Might Surprise You

If you did not know this already, AT&T Stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys and opened in May 2009. However, if you are not from Dallas Texas and/or never experienced a Cowboys game, there are ten very interesting things you should know – that just may convince you to tour the stadium – game day or not.

10 Surprising Facts about ATT Stadium

1.      Despite being the Dallas Cowboys home, this stadium is actually in Arlington which is 20 miles from Dallas.

Arlington is also home to Six Flags Over Texas, Hurricane Harbor, the International Bowling Museum & Hall of Fame and the Texas Rangers.

2.      The City of Arlington contributed $325 million to the construction of this stadium which ended up costing over $1 billion to build.

In order to raise these funds, Arlington voters passed an increase in the city’s sales tax by .5%, the hotel occupancy tax by 2% and the city’s car rental tax by 5 percent.

3.      The stadium’s capacity is 105,000 which make it the largest NFL stadium in the country.

4.      This stadium is the largest domed structure in the world at 2.3 million square feet.

This roof is retractable, allowing operators to open or close it depending on Dallas weather.

5.      The field is 50 feet below ground level.

Why? When fans enter the stadium, they will have a panoramic view of the playing surface, even before they reach their seats.

6.      ATT Stadium has large and unique video screens.

The center-hung screen which stretches from 20-yard line to 20-yard line and hangs 110 feet above the field is one-of-a-kind for any football stadium. It measures 180’ in length, is 50’ high and weighs 600 tons.

In addition, last year they added a 130’ wide 4K LED video board, which has 4 times the resolution of standard HDTV boards. It hangs above the concourse in the north end zone and rotates 360 degrees.

7.      The ATT Stadium App is a free app that runs on iPhones and Android devices.

This app sends push notifications telling fans to hit the “Unite the House” button which when they hit it, will cause their phone to vibrate and camera flash. The flashes will sync throughout the stadium, giving fans an awesome moment.

In addition, the app will give fans updated traffic routes to the stadium and once in the stadium it will tell them where the nearest concession stands are. On non-game days, they can utilize augmented reality which will enhance the tour of the stadium.

8.      ATT upgraded the stadium’s Wi-Fi and cell service from 8 to 18 GBs and doubled the number of LTE and Wi-Fi antennas.

All of this will increase the speed and access of the AT&T app along with other mobile apps visitors use.

9.      ATT stadium has Hall of Fame Suites which are just 20 rows above the field – the closest to the field of any NFL stadium.

10.    There is a great art collection in the stadium.

AT&T Stadium also serves as the home to a world-class collection of contemporary art of 56 paintings, sculptures and photographs, including 16 specially commissioned pieces by the Jones family.


Want to schedule your group’s behind-the-scenes trip to ATT Stadium?

Ultimate Ventures®  are destination experts passionate about bringing the best of Dallas/Fort Worth to life. Resourcefulness, unsurpassed knowledge of their market, and decades of experience equip them to provide your group with the best visit they can have to the area. Give them a call today at 972.732.8433 or send them an email at info@uvdmc.com for more information.

About the Author

De-de Mulligan is a professional blogger and has been to Dallas many times. She is a regular contributor to i-Meet, the online business community for people who plan meetings and events. Please follow her on Google+ for her portfolio of blog posts about meeting and event trends and technology.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

6 Streamlined Ways to Cut Costs for Your Next Meeting

Even though the economy is in full-roar and things are looking great with regards to the number of meetings and events, study after study shows that meeting budgets have not risen in the same fashion. Add to it the pressures of virtual meetings and you wonder why most of my colleagues are more stressed than ever.

But there is hope. In the Fall 2014 edition of BizBash Magazine, they highlighted some great ideas on how to save some serious coinage. I am taking it one step further in the post and giving you a few of my own as a seasoned meeting professional.

6 Ways to Save

Give Yourself Oodles of Time

Without a doubt, this is where most meeting planners get squeezed. You want to pull off a major event in 60 days,  have great speakers and loads of sponsors. But the truth of the matter is most everyone is slow to commit from the attendee to the sponsor.
Give yourself a year to plan the best event ever. You can compare destinations and suppliers and negotiate effectively with your partners. Last minute changes are what kill your budget every time.

Be Flexible

Look at a variety of days of the week, times and seasons. I think you will be amazed at the price differential when you open yourself up to the possibilities. This runs for all suppliers, including your audio visual rental company.

Combine Meetings or Co-Locate

If you have meetings and events that are within 100 miles of each other, perhaps they can be consolidated into a central location.

Or if you are holding a larger event with a trade show, co-locating can save you a lot of money with setup and striking of audio visual equipment, meeting room fees and room blocks. Exhibit halls can also keep their footprint longer, even if booth vendors move in and out of that space.

Be Transparent About Your Budget

Even though you may wish to hold this to the end, it is wise to disclose your budget range early on for two reasons 1) If you and the destination/vendor are miles apart, there is no sense in continuing your talks and 2) Suppliers can start to get creative with solutions if they know what you want and how much money you are authorized to spend.

Reduce, Reuse and Rent

Look at reducing or eliminating all paper products and replacing them with tablet rentals, digital signage and other event rentals and exhibitor rentals. Reduce the amount of food and beverage ordered by having an accurate RSVP process. Reduce power charges assigned to your conference by turning off the lights and AV power at the end of the night. Eliminate goody bags.

Reuse and rent all other items for your conference and encourage your vendors to do the same.


Don’t Sign the Contract Until You Understand It

Once your signature goes on the dotted line, all negotiating power is lost. You can’t negotiate after the fact. Read and reread your contract and ask a lot of questions. Make sure all the verbal commitments made it into the contract. If you are confused, take it to your legal department for review.

About Hartford Technology Rental

At Hartford Technology Rental, we are committed to help you make your meeting or event very special while keeping your budget under control. We offer monthly rental specials that highlight our cost commitment to your organization! Give us a call today!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Will Wearable Technology Wear Out Attendees?

Google Glass.  Apple Watch. Fitbit.
What are they? Wearable technologies! And in some demographic circles they are all the rage. While they are fun and sexy, do they have the juice to run your event?

Let’s take a harder look into wearables, how they are positioned and the truth about their applicability for attendees in 2015 and beyond.

What Wearables Have to Offer

  • Their main strength is the ability to track and measure activity and record such activity with video (in the case of Google Glass).
  • Sleek designs are meant to appeal to different individuals. Depending on the manufacturer and product, they have a variety of color schemes as well.
  • Many offer phone support through Bluetooth and are compatible with certain versions of the manufacturer’s smartphone line.
  • Depending on the system, they are waterproof.
  • The battery life lasts multiple days.
  • Some have voice recognition and can use the speakerphone option.


What Wearables Are Lacking

The major thing wearables are lacking is the variety and depth of applications any attendee would want while at a conference. In addition, most apps are not hardware agnostic – meaning the ability to be used on multiple vendor platforms – which is a problem developers need to address pronto if wearables of any kind are going to be accepted in the event industry.

Bridget Carey, a senior editor at CNET stated, “Fitness bands track steps, smartwatches buzz with missed tweets, and wearable cameras capture every waking moment. But none of this fits together.”

In fact, most testers of this technology agree that right now, unless you are interested in one or two specific apps for the wearable, this device is just a distraction.

Ben Bajarin, a principal analyst at Creative Strategies stated, “The wearable market has been challenged. Consumers buy them, the experience is novel, but after time the devices fail to add any real value.”


Wearables Will Eventually Get There


According to a report from Transparency Market Research sales from wearable devices are expected to reach $5.8 billion in 2018. Last September, MarketsandMarkets published a report predicting this market will have sales of $11.6 billion by 2020.

What Should You Do For Your Attendees in the Meantime?

If you are interested in giving your attendees a full breadth of applications with mobile flexibility, consider a line of Apple rentals and tablet rentals offered from Hartford Technology Rental.

While HTR will be keeping their eye on wearables in the future, I believe wearables have a long way to go before they will be totally accepted in the event industry. Google Glass has the most applicability for training, but even this product struggles for acceptance due to privacy issues.

Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to learn more about our product offerings. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Indecisive about Your Event’s Wi-Fi Needs? Why it’s Keeping You up at Night

Most of my event planning colleagues have limited knowledge about Wi-Fi, bandwidth and access points. If you are like them, you are struggling with how much bandwidth your event really needs and is free Wi-Fi all it is cracked up to be.

It really boils down to connections, applications and expectations. Let me explain by helping you sift through what the attendee wants and the venue has to offer.  


The Attendee

At a basic level, attendees expect the same Wi-Fi experience with you that they can get at home and the office. They are not encumbered with only having access in certain rooms at certain times and they can upload and download most apps without restriction.
However, they pay for this freedom and most office networks have a finite number of devices attached to it.

So why is it, when thousands of attendees gather for a conference, they expect lighting fast Internet without a fee? I will tell you why; they have been conditioned to expect it because free Wi-Fi is everywhere – from the coffee shop to the hotel room.

But it isn’t free and you need to level set them with the expectation that great Wi-Fi carries a cost.

In addition, I highly recommend you avoid a plan to limit Wi-Fi to a certain area. All you will do is frustrate your attendees. I was at a conference last year where the only Wi-Fi access was in the hotel room. Guess what happened? Attendees showed up late, left early and missed out on a lot of great conference content.

The Venue

You need to know how the facility is going to provide Wi-Fi to your attendees. Here are a few great questions to ask:

1.      How old is your wireless infrastructure? Most hotels and conference centers should be upgrading their broadband every 5-10 years. So if you have a center that hasn’t touched their Wi-Fi configuration since 2004, which may have a problem.

2.      Are you using Dual Band? 2.4 Ghz is the old standard Wi-Fi frequency while 5 Ghz is the new. Most progressive venues use a combination of frequencies at the same time thus allowing attendees and presenters to use the higher band for areas that need a stronger radio signal.

3.      Will the conference IT staff be constantly monitoring Internet activity? It is important to have someone monitoring overall Internet capacity and the amount of uploads and downloads that is going on within the conference. If an attendee decided to back up their entire laptop to the cloud at your conference, you want the IT staff to be able to identify the IP address that is doing the backup and put a hold to its ability to suck the life out of your bandwidth.

4.      If you are reaching your peak usage, can the venue add more bandwidth? This is probably the greatest insurance you can have. They will see the peak building and quickly work toward a solution to add more dedicated bandwidth to your conference. It won’t happen instantly, but an experienced person knows when to bring on more resources.

5.      Will your bandwidth be shared or dedicated? You really want dedicated bandwidth for a number of reasons, but it will be the more expensive option. However, it will be the more secure and fastest option for your users.

6.      Understand all your connectivity options when you are at the negotiating table. Once you understand what your attendees need, the apps that will be utilized and what your estimated bandwidth capacity requirements are, work with your venue to come up with the fastest, most efficient solution. Try and move toward a reasonable fee, but understand that free is probably not an option. Work on a service level guarantee of a certain up-time and what your recourse is if that guarantee is not met.

How Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Can Help

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, located in Wisconsin, Ohio and soon to be Pennsylvania, has excellent IT staff just waiting to speak with you!