By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW Chairman & CEO
Amsterdam RAI is one of the world’s most popular and successful convention centres and now the RAI is deploying Wi-Fi 6 to offer more and better connectivity to guests and exhibitors – and to embrace the ‘smart building’ concept. The RAI is partnering with Cisco to deliver the Wi-Fi solution including hundreds of APs and advanced services, such as indoor navigation and Cisco’s OpenRoaming.
This Friday the Amsterdam RAI convention centre – well known from a raft of events and conventions including the IBC, the International Motor Show, and more – will launch what will likely be Europe’s first major public Wi-Fi 6 installations and perhaps a world first for a convention venue.
By the end of this year, the RAI will have deployed close to 500 Wi-Fi 6 access points to cover the more than 110,000 square meter event space, says Robert Hattink, Business Support and Network Consultant for the RAI. Robert Hattink is managing and operating the new Wi-Fi 6 deployment, which will go live in the RAI’s huge Hall 5 this Friday.
The RAI is installing Cisco Catalyst Wi-Fi 6 equipment as part of a wider deal with Cisco: From January 2021 the RAI will be the new location for Europe’s version of Cisco Live! – Cisco’s yearly conference and expo event for customers and partners. Cisco has signed up with the RAI for Cisco Live! for at least three years, the RAI says in a press release here. The RAI expects more than 18,000 attendees to flock to the first Amsterdam-based Cisco Live! event in January of next year.
The venue has also entered into a smart building partnership with Cisco to benefit from a wide range of new venue Wi-Fi technology and services, the RAI says. Robert Hattink says accommodating wayfinding (indoor navigation) and location based services were important factors in vendor selection – and he’s focused on making sure the platform is ready to deliver well into the future.
“We expect in the future to for example be able to use robots to deliver packages to specific exhibitor locations in the halls. As a consequence, good Wi-Fi coverage is extremely important. We also need our system to be future proof for interoperability with 5G,” Robert Hattink says.
Robert Hattink says the new Wi-Fi network will be supporting Cisco’s OpenRoaming scheme by early next year. OpenRoaming is Cisco’s recent big effort towards making auto-connect and secure Wi-Fi available everywhere through venue, service provider, and credential partners. Read more about OpenRoaming here.