Fashion Event Planners: A Critical Item Often Overlooked
We know exactly how difficult it is to plan, produce and execute a successful fashion event. Since 2007, we’ve worked with some of New York’s major production companies, venues, and designers. In doing so, we’ve learned a few things. And today we want to share one that is typically either pushed to the bottom of the list or completely overlooked.
What exactly are we referring to? Simple; a reliable high-speed internet connection.
So why is this important? Why should you care? And how can you make sure your event provides a reliable Wi-Fi connection? Those are the things we want to cover today.
Isn’t Wi-Fi everywhere?
Carrying out a successful fashion event can be a daunting and stressful task even for the most experienced event planners, producers, and designers. Coordinating such an important event takes a special person. From deciding on the perfect theme, venue, evaluating vendors, holding auditions, deciding on the host, hiring a DJ, decorations, photographers, promoting, to all the other important elements that culminate in a successful fashion event. The process can drain anyone's morale.
Even though you’ve been given tremendous responsibility with super high expectations, we also know how fulfilling this process can be. Especially when the event runs smoothly, right? It feels great and makes all the headaches you had to endure, worthwhile.
However, throughout this balancing act of extreme multitasking, not many coordinators take the time to consider the venues internet connection. Most simply assume it’s just there. For better or worse, we’ve come to expect a high-speed internet connection everywhere we go.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Why does my fashion event need high-speed internet?
The short answer is video. But more specifically live video.
The ultimate exposure for 2019 fashion events will most likely be live streaming. Gone are the days of just snapping a photo and sharing it on twitter or facebook, which demanded very little bandwidth.
Streaming live video is the ultimate exposure not only for your event, but also for influencers, bloggers, reporters, and news media. They all understand that live streaming (or recorded video for that matter) attracts more views, shares, followers, and a much larger audience.
There is no question about the impact and value a well transmitted live stream means for the event itself. But also at an individual level for everyone participating in them (i.e. brands, vendors, designers, models, photographers, host, sponsors, bloggers etc). Simply put, everyone benefits from the exposure.
The world went live on Facebook back in April of 2016. More than two years ago. Today, we are all familiar with the dozens of social platforms that offer live streaming. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Livestream, Periscope, and YouNow, to name a few.
The number of people watching live streams online will only continue to grow.
According to research by MarketsAndMarkets, the entire video streaming market (all inclusive) is expected to grow to a staggering $70 Billion by 2021. That’s insane, and only two years away!
Will attendees at your fashion event be streaming live? Most likely yes, many of them will. The challenge we are encouraging you to consider is that they will be broadcasting live - all at the same time. Therefore providing a strong and reliable internet and Wi-Fi connection is critical.
How can I check if my venue has reliable internet?
Whether your fashion event will host 150 or 3,000 attendees, a reliable high-speed internet connection is indispensable. Here is what we recommend.
On your next visit to the venue pull out your cell phone and open Google in your browser. Type in “speed test” (please use images below for reference). The first result you will see is the Internet speed test. Click the blue button that says RUN SPEED TEST.
You will get two results; Download Speed and Upload Speed. The important number here will be your “Upload”.
We do not recommend solely relying on a number given to you by the service provider. Unfortunately, most tend to advertise the larger of these two numbers, which is typically the download speed. We recommend running this test yourself or have a team member do it. Run this test a few times so you end up with a good average.
Don’t worry if you are not certain what these numbers mean yet, you will in a minute.
Is that enough bandwidth for my event?
Now that you have a number to work with, how do you know if that speed will be sufficient to sustain your events bandwidth demand? Let’s simplify the answer with a practical example, without getting too technical.
In practice, the higher the video quality, the more bandwidth you’ll have to provide.
Let’s assume you will have 300 attendees at your event, and 25% of them (75) are expected to be streaming live via Facebook from their mobile devices. You will have 75 simultaneous live streams. Let’s also assume your upload speed test resulted in 150 Mbps (megabits per second).
Facebook’s maximum live stream resolution will be 720p (1280 x 720) at 30 frames per second, and their recommend max bit rate is 4 Mbps. In other words, each live stream will be pulling approximately 4Mbps.
Therefore 75 people streaming at the same time will require approximately 300 Mbps (without any wiggle room). This will not be enough to handle this example’s expected bandwidth usage for the event. Please keep in mind our example did not account for a larger number of concurrent streams, or higher quality video such as 4Kp30/60 resolution, which could alone absorb 15 to 30 Mbps each (or more).
Not all cell phone signals are created equal
We’d like to emphasize that you should not leave the internet connection up to each attendee's individual cell phone signal. There are two main reasons for this.
It can create a bad user experience as they can easily exceed their monthly allocated data plan service, thus incurring additional charges on their bill.
Not all cell phone signals are created equal. We all know cell phone signals can weaken inside buildings. On top of this, not every cell phone carrier will have a strong enough signal in different areas, particularly inside structures.
There is just no way to test everyone’s potential cell phone signal ahead of time. As an event producer and coordinator, you will have to be proactive and prepared. The last thing you’d want is to wake up the next day to videos of your event online that are pixelated, blurry, or in any way, shape, or form - low quality. We all know how frustrating watching those can be.
Our team is ready to help
So now what? If you’ve determined or suspect that your venue’s internet connection may not be up to par or enough to properly feed your event, you need a solution, fast. Remember that everyone will consume Wi-Fi; the staff, vendors, models, attendees, even the DJ! No exceptions.
Most venues will indeed provide a basic Wi-Fi connection, but as we have discussed, there are limits and you will need to weigh the options carefully.
The good news? Our team of engineers is only a phone call away. We’d love the opportunity to provide information on the different solutions we have available to help you.
Lastly, I want to leave you with one final thought. Remember that in today's world, for better or for worse, most of us are connected to two places at the same time. We live in our physical environment, but at the same time, we are constantly connected and interacting with a neverending virtual world. And this requires a strong, secure and reliable Wi-Fi connection.