High-tech convention centres

Convention centres in Asia have been investing in technology improvements to enhance event delivery and delegate experience. TTGassociations spotlights a selection of those that have most recently powered up

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Profile Opened in June 2005, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is Malaysia’s premier and most technologically advanced facility with 22,659m2 of flexible function space on a site within the iconic Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

Technology power-up Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre recently invested RM7.5 million (US$2.3 million) in four IT infrastructure projects which were completed in August. They include upgrades to the data centre backbone infrastructure, introduction of a digital walkie talkie system, implementation of an Internet Protocol Closed-Circuit Television system and improvements to the virtualised server environment for the data centre.

Two other projects are slated for launch in 2015, one being the Automated Speaker Preparation Room System – iSpeak and the other, Interactive Mobile Mapping App.
While the current speaker preparation room support system sees materials being uploaded manually to the presentation server for dissemination to the respective room/hall via the venue’s LAN, work is now being done with an international software designer to fully automate this procedure. The new software, known as iSpeak, will also allow presenters to upload, review, adjust and rehearse their presentation in real time. When completed, iSpeak will be the first of its kind in Malaysia.

The other technology innovation is the Interactive Mobile Mapping App, which is being produced by the venue’s own technology department with Google partners. It will enable clients to locate their whereabouts within the venue and serve as a path-finder and informative tool during events.

Charges As both iSpeak and the Interactive Mobile Mapping App are in the development phase, costs to event organisers/delegates have yet to be finalised. – S Puvaneswary


Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre
Profile Opened in 1996, the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre (MCEC)offers a multi-functional plenary hall, 52 meeting rooms and 30,000m2 of pillar-less exhibition space. It is also linked to the Hilton Melbourne South Wharf via a private walkway.

Technology power-up A number of technology investments were made in 2013, among them new portable high-definition ultra-slim digital totems that provide extra branding and directional signage for events and attendees; improved multimedia systems; Live View capabilty which allows the customer to view multiple video streams of their event rooms on a single screen from anywhere within their licensed event area; new audio consoles; on-site rigging solutions; an advanced slide advance system that allows the conference presenter to simultaneously control his PowerPoint slide shows via multiple computers using a fast handheld wireless device; and Visualisation Studio which enables event organisers to work side-by-side with MCEC’s technology team to design, create and view a virtual three-dimensional representation of their event spaces.

This year, MCEC unveiled a new brand, Imagine, and a tagline, Technology that brings your events to life, to better market its event technology prowess.

Charges Costs vary depending on the feature or service. However, MCEC promises competitive pricing as it has an in-house technology department. Visualisation Studio is offered free of charge to organisers who book a venue in MCEC. – Karen Yue


China National Convention Center
Profile Opened in November 2009, the China National Convention Center (CNCC) in Beijing is purpose-built for conventions and exhibitions. It offers 40,000m2 of exhibition space, 23,000m2 of meeting and function space including a plenary hall, a divisible ballroom and 100 breakout rooms arranged in suites, and numerous support areas around the venue.

Technology power-up New to the centre is the CNCC Virtual Tour, an online tool that offers a panoramic view and video simulation of its interior and exterior. It uses a variety of videos and photograph-based media supported by sound effects, music, narration and text. Other benefits offered by CNCC Virtual Tour are access to venue guide, floor plans, location map and surrounding support areas.

CNCC Virtual Tour not only acts as a promotional tool for the venue, it also makes it convenient for the event organiser to take a quick look at the centre before coming down for a detailed site inspection.

Charges This is offered free on CNCC’s website.– Paige Lee Pei Qi

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Profile Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) opened in 1988 to offer 91,500m2 of rentable space for exhibitions, conferences, meetings, corporate functions, entertainment and hospitality events.

Located on a prime waterfront site in Wanchai, HKCEC is recognised as an iconic landmark in Hong Kong.

Much convenience is offered to event organisers and delegates, as the centre is linked to two five-star hotels and is within walking distance to nearly 6,000 hotel rooms.

Technology power-up There has been continuous facility upgrade to HKCEC. Wi-Fi has been made complimentary since 2005, and the system has been continually upgraded since then. Its latest Wi-Fi upgrade came at the end of 2013, enabling up to 5,000 concurrent users to enjoy free-of-charge connections.

HKCEC has also installed additional Access Points to further improve reception. This is an on-going project and the venue will continue to monitor usage, users’ comments and technology development for continued improvement.
Today, HKCEC’s Wi-Fi access covers all exhibition halls and meeting rooms, including foyers of these spaces, all public areas and the centre’s seven restaurants.

Charges Wi-Fi access is free. – Prudence Lui


Profile Opened in December 2005, AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong offers over 70,000m2 of rentable space. Its purpose-built arena, which can seat 14,000 pax, is Hong Kong’s largest and most versatile indoor space of its kind.

Technology power-up With the emergence of cloud-based delivery models, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), real-time uploading of large amounts of data such as financial information or retail transaction details to a repository accessible to numerous users is now possible. To accommodate this requirement, AsiaWorld-Expo has equipped itself with high-speed Internet capability that comes with a built-in resilience system.

AsiaWorld-Expo also works with local telecom providers to provide seamless data connectivity for the growing number of 3G and 4G smartphone users.

Charges AsiaWorld-Expo offers competitive and tailor-made packages for users. – Prudence Lui


IMPACT Muang Thong Thani
Profile Opened in 1991, IMPACT is one of the region’s largest MICE facilities with more than 140,000m2 of usable in-door space. Located in Bangkok’s north, the complex’s facilities include IMPACT Challenger, three halls which can be combined to form a 60,000m2 column-free space; IMPACT Exhibition Center, six function rooms with a combined space of 47,000m2; and IMPACT Arena, a 11,000-seat concert hall. Novotel Bangkok IMPACT connects with the centre by way of a skybridge. The complex underwent its last set of renovations from 2012 to 2013.

Technology power-up In May, IMPACT invested 30 million baht (US$1 million) in a new Wi-Fi service. Visitors can now connect to the 4Mbps @IMPACT Free Wi-Fi network for an hour each day. Those wanting longer access with a faster connection speed can opt for True Wi-Fi Maximum, which has a maximum bandwidth of 12Mbps. Three choices of prepaid Internet cards are available from the Business Center. The facility plans to launch the 200Mbps IMPACT Premium Wi-Fi service in the near future.

Charges Wi-Fi is free for the first hour of usage per day. Quicker connections cost 50 baht for 24 hours, 90 baht for seven days and 150 baht for a month. – Greg Lowe

Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre
Profile Since opening in 1995, Suntec Singapore has hosted more than 18,000 events including some of the world’s largest exhibitions and conventions. It reopened its doors in June 2013 following a S$184 million (US$147 million) modernisation programme, and now boasts a modernised façade including a three-storey interactive digital wall, and amenities such as free Wi-Fi throughout its premises. The centre sits in the Central Business District and offers 42,000m2 of customisable space.

Technology power-up The recent renovation integrated a high degree of advanced technology. Its free high-speed, high-density Wi-Fi, which can accommodate up to 6,000 simultaneous devices anywhere in the venue, is the star offering. The system is entirely location agnostic, which means that connection speed will not slow down even if all 6,000 people were to connect from the same location in the building. Likewise, users can move around the centre without having to reconnect.

The modern Wi-Fi operation is also used to deliver other services throughout the centre. For example, it is used to update digital room signage and control room lighting, air conditioning and other environmental settings to deliver a better overall experience for clients and delegates.

Charges Free. – Paige Lee Pei Qi


Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center
Profile Located in Bali’s high-end enclave, Nusa Dua, the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) offers a convention hall that can be split into five smaller rooms, 17 fully equipped meeting rooms with a spacious foyer, the 1,758m2 Singaraja Hall, a VIP room, a pre-function lobby, a business centre and outdoor venues.
BNDCC completed the construction of its second building in 2013.

Technology power-up At end of 2013, BNDCC invested US$300,000 on a new digital signage system. It was done in response to clients’ need to efficiently communicate event schedules/changes or meeting room information to participants in real time.

Some 38 LCD monitors were mounted outside each meeting room and eight movable LCD monitors were displayed in lobby areas. All information diplayed on the LCD monitors are controlled from a central server, and information can be broadcasted instantly. Clients can choose to have a customised design/artwork for their displays.

Charges Free. – Mimi Hudoyo


SMX Convention Centre, Manila
Profile Opened in November 2007, the SMX Convention Centre Manila is the Philippines’ most modern and largest private meeting facility with 46,647m2 of space. Facilities include four purpose-built halls, five function rooms, 14 meeting rooms, and a briefing room with elevated cinema seating for 50. Additional spaces are available in the pre-function lobbies on the ground and second floors.

By end-2015, a Conrad hotel will open behind the centre.

Technology power-up The centre recently launched SMX I-Connect, an event registration system that will generate QR codes on delegate badges which can be used by show organisers to track attendance and to enable the exchange of business information between exhibitors and trade buyers at shows.. The customisable software also offers online programme guide, reporting and exhibitor lead retrieval which clients can access on their personal mobile devices.

Charges SMX I-Connect has three price options ranging from 100,000 pesos (US$2,244) to 260,000 pesos, depending on the requirements of the event organiser. – Rosa Ocampo


Lavasa International Convention Centre
Profile Lavasa International Convention Centre (LICC), established in 2010, is the first purpose-built convention facility in Pune, India. The venue is managed by global hotel giant, Accor, and is designed to host meetings, conferences, incentives, exhibitions and social functions with 15 to 1,500 guests. It offers 18 event spaces, including eight convention halls, a board room and a business centre.

Technology power-up Recent technology upgrades include the Live Webcasting and 3D Projection Mapping capabilities which, although are widely used in developed destinations, are still at a nascent stage in India.

Webcasting enables media files to be broadcasted to a target audience either over the Internet or Intranet. With this technology, events can be covered and streamed live online to a wider audience. Large-scale webcasts can also be conducted on multiple networks like LAN, WAN, VPN and V-SAT.

LICC’s 3D Projection Mapping, also known as video mapping, is a technology used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into a display surface for video projection. These objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings, or actual physical objects such as cars. The video can be combined with, or triggered by, audio to create an audiovisual narrative to enhance viewer’s experience.

Both technologies are gaining much attention among LICC’s clients, especially those who are organising specialised conferences and high-end product launches that require high quality real life experiences in a virtual environment.

Charges Cost varies on a case-by-case basis. – Rohit Kaul