Multi-million infrastructure investment revolutionises tech offering at the NEC

The UK’s best-connected venue, the NEC, has announced the completion of a £7 million technology infrastructure investment across the venue. It is the first venue in the UK to adopt WaitTime, an artificial intelligence solution that provides real-time measurement of venue capacity and crowd density.

By developing this new relationship with WaitTime, the NEC, which attracts 2.3 visitors annually, has further enhanced its data capabilities. Capacity counting is safe and sharper, compliant venue operations are maintained and the software provides robust crowd data and business intelligence information.

With a majority of ‘Venue Protect’ COVID safety measures still in place, WaitTime’s patented technology also alerts the NEC to capacity issues across the site. The data can then be used to trigger operational responses and inform the teams on real-time capacity levels.

Zachary Klima, CEO of WaitTime, said:

It’s no surprise that as the UK’s largest exhibition venue, the NEC is on the forefront of innovation and adoption of technologies like WaitTime. Using artificial intelligence to manage crowds and capacity levels is going to help them increase operational efficiencies and, ultimately, create better guest and vendor experiences – that’s what WaitTime is all about.

The NEC is the first venue in the UK to adopt WaitTime, an artificial intelligence solution that provides real-time measurement of venue capacity and crowd density

Another integral aspect of the investment is the venue’s Wi-Fi upgrade, utilising technology developed by the globally renowned, Cisco. This Wi-Fi upgrade has installed 1,800 state-of- the-art Wi-Fi access points eliminating all black spots in all public spaces.

In addition to replacing the Wi-Fi, all wired corporate and event networks have been replaced, giving greater capacity and bandwidth, which supports organisers and exhibitors, increasing connectivity at events and broadening access to more digital content.

Guy Dunstan, Managing Director – Arenas & Ticketing, NEC Group, was a speaker at the 2021 edition of ALSD International, hosted by Liverpool FC, joining a panel entitled Preparing for Take-off – What’s Right for your Venue & Delivering a ROI” alongside Chester Race Company and Fulham FC.

Commenting on the Wi-Fi enhancement, Ian Solomon, Director of Operations at Hyve Group, said:

During 2021’s Autumn Fair, it was clear from an organisers perspective that improvements were being made to the NEC’s Wi-Fi infrastructure. It gave us the confidence to direct visitors to download and use our show app using the venue’s free Wi-Fi. As a result, we generated a significant increase in visitor engagement.

Ian Taylor, Managing Director for NEC Group Conventions and Exhibitions, added:

Our new Wi-Fi solution teamed with WaitTime’s crowd and business intelligence is revolutionary. The NEC Group is a data-led business and it is investments like this that help to keep us at the cutting edge of live event innovation.

About the NEC

The NEC – where brands are born, products are launched, and networks are made occupies a 392-acre site in the borough of Solihull (just eight miles from Birmingham City Centre) and welcomes around 2.3 million visitors each year to over 500 events.

Venues on the campus include: The NEC (National Exhibition Centre), the ICC (International Convention Centre), The Vox, Resorts World Arena and Utility Arena Birmingham, in addition, the NEC boasts commercial entities The Ticket Factory, Amadeus, Amplify and NEC Group Media Partnerships. The NEC will also undertake hosting duties for Birmingham 2022.

The UK’s number one venue offers unrivalled connectivity and flexibility with more than 186,000 square metres of covered exhibition space through 32 conference suites and 18 halls, in addition to over 160 acres of hard standing ground and 75 acres of woodland.

Situated at the heart of the national motorway network and physically linked to both Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International Railway Station, 75% of the UK’s population are based within a three-hour drive time of the NEC and the venue has over 16,500 car parking spaces for visitors.

Main image (top), courtesy: The NEC

Sports Venue Business organises and delivers ALSD International, the leading event and 365 community for the Premium Seat & Hospitality sector, focused on optimising revenue through New Builds, Renovations & Service Expansions, on behalf of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors (ALSD). Click on the banner below to find out more…

The 2022 event is to be hosted at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and will feature the usual high-level conference, an exhibition showcasing industry-leading products & services, networking events and a very special behind-the-scenes tour of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sponsored by Levy UK + Ireland.

#ALSDInternational – Europe’s leading event for the Premium Seat & Sports Hospitality sector

#ALSD – Leading the Premium Seat sector for the last 30 years

#sportsvenuebusiness – The leading platform for sector news, views & developments


Share This Article

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.