Visitability Case Study - Technology

Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

INTRODUCTION

Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre (MCEC)’s development and success in the field of Digital Connectivity are continuing to achieve the goals of the Visitability Program. Through implementing extensive improvements to their digital infrastructure and using up-to-speed technology – critical to maintaining Melbourne’s relevance and ongoing success as a destination – MCEC has cemented itself as a leader in this space.

The following Case Study features the developments that have enabled MCEC to be a local, national and world leader in the provision of Digital Connectivity and celebrates their international award winning successes in the field.

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Mcec Exhibition Centre Exterior

ABOUT THE MELBOURNE CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE (MCEC)

Mcec Convention Centre Interior

MCEC was opened in June 2009 and consists of two adjacent, internally linked spaces; the Melbourne Convention Centre and the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

The Convention Centre boasts 52 meeting rooms of various sizes, a grand banquet room, a spectacular entry level foyer and a 5550+ state-of-the-art plenary that can be divided into three self-contained, acoustically separate theatres. The site also encompasses a Hilton Hotel, offices, residential and retail spaces.

The Exhibition Centre features 30,000 square metres of purpose-built clear-span exhibition space, meeting rooms, a 466-seat auditorium and the Clarendon Room, which boasts spectacular views over the Yarra River.

In the financial year 2014-15, over 1 million people visited MCEC. 918 events were held in the venue including 89 national and international conventions and exhibition, 70 concerts and hundreds of smaller conferences and events.

A report prepared by Ernst & Young revealed that MCEC contributed almost $1 billion of economic impact to the Victorian economy in the financial year 2014-15. 

Mcec Exhibition Centre Aids Conference

DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY AT MCEC

The IMAGINE Brand

In 2014, MCEC launched the IMAGINE brand, offering countless technology options to ensure every event is extraordinary. IMAGINE brought to life MCEC’s core purpose and focus - to connect people through memorable experiences. New infrastructure included upgraded border routers and core network switches, 192 new fibre points, PRTG network monitoring and a new wireless gateway capable of managing 10,000 concurrent connected devices. But while this new infrastructure is critical to IMAGINE, it’s the way it’s applied to events that enhances the delegate experience and conference outcomes at MCEC.

MCEC’s approach to Digital Infrastructure

MCEC has developed leading digital capabilities and continues to invest in this area to ensure it is evolving its offering as a venue. MCEC began the development of its digital capability with the simple approach of ensuring that the right digital infrastructure was provided to clients. MCEC has also invested in its team of digital experts to enable client events to ‘come to life’ and to ensure that an enhanced delegate experience is offered at all times.

In 2014 MCEC, along with public private partner Plenary Conventions, invested in excess of $2 million to upgrade the venue’s entire IP network and cabling infrastructure. According to MCEC’s Director of Technology Operations, Michael Walsh, this allowed MCEC to increase the capacity and speed of its network tenfold. This resulted in enabling the venue to handle larger internet connections for events such as the International AIDS Conference 2014 and Penny Arcade Expo.

MCEC’s digital team also implemented a new wireless internet portal which included a new, simplified login page for customers featuring event branding and sponsor logos.

Mr Walsh said: “We know that no two events are the same, which is why MCEC’s IMAGINE encompasses our technology offerings under the one brand and provides access to the infrastructure and expertise to connect people with memorable experiences.” 

How has MCEC used Digital Infrastructure to enhance experiences?

  • Live View screens make it possible for multiple video streams of event rooms to be viewed on a single screen anywhere within the event area. Users can click for a full-screen view of an individual room with its accompanying audio. The screen can also feature event and sponsor logos plus social media details.
  • Visualisation Studio where the technology team works with event organisers to create a virtual 3D representation of their event space, where realistic depictions of different options for audio, video and lighting can be tested before final decisions are made.
  • Social media integration, through an easy-to-use iPad interface, allow organisers to control and moderate the display of an event-based Twitter feed.
  • Digital signage system includes: digital meeting-room door cards, LED wayfinding walls displays and totems, a video wall at street entrance and social media capabilities and video over IP TV.
  • Intelligent Lecterns let event speakers easily adjust a room’s lighting, projection, volume and even temperature levels.
Mcec Visualisation Studio

2015 INCON Digital Infrastructure Award

In 2015 MCEC’s renowned technology offering was recognised at the highest level when the organisation won the international INCON Digital Infrastructure Award. INCON is a partnership of the world’s leading conference organisers and event management companies. At the time of publishing, there are 11 Partners operating in 170 destinations employing 3,000 staff. The Digital Infrastructure Award has been developed by INCON to celebrate and inspire change in the digital infrastructure and services made available in meeting venues around the world.

The Award rests on a simple principle that meetings are better when a first class digital infrastructure is made available along with applications and tools that enhance the delegate productivity and experience.

From a Visitability Program perspective, the Award demonstrates MCEC’s commitment to improving Melbourne’s digital connectivity through providing seamless services that today’s visitors automatically expect. 

More about the INCON Digital Infrastructure Awards