"Digital2018": N&M provides network for business and political summit in Cologne


At the beginning of November enterprises, start-ups and political institutions gathered to discuss trends and topics in the field of digitalisation. In Hall 8 of the Cologne Trade Fair Centre, N&M set up a high-performance IT network to ensure that the digital summit more than met all the communication requirements of the numerous speakers and exhibitors as well as those of over 7,000 visitors.

Digital competence, innovative capability and the push for change were the predominant issues at "Digital2018" held at the Cologne Trade Fair Centre on 7th and 8th November 2018. Deutsche Telekom had initiated the digital summit together with its partners Huawei, Microsoft, Samsung, SAP and the Bundesverband der mittelständischen Wirtschaft (German Association of Medium-Sized Enterprises). Their aim was to create a platform centred on trends and topics in the field of digitalisation for large and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups and local councils.

On four stages in Hall 8 the focus was on innovations, technologies and leadership with over 100 presentations and discussions underlined by numerous examples from everyday practice. Representatives from local councils discussed the construction of gigabit networks and how to provide the population with broadband connections. Companies in the exhibition area invited attendees to take part in workshops and to exchange ideas on specific applications, best practices and the exhibits on the stands. Further highlights included the presentation of the "Digital Champions" award on the evening of the first day, where pioneers of digital transformation were honoured, as well as the Telekom Street Gig with the "Black Eyed Peas" which closed the event.

High-performance IT networks for communication and control

"Such a crowd-pulling event of this size, especially one that focuses on digital issues, needs one thing above everything else - a secure, totally stable, high-performance network," says Roman Salzwedel, Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik's technical project manager for "Digital2018". The special challenge facing the Event IT team was to set up a high-performance W-LAN to serve around 4,000 visitors a day as well as to support the technical side of the event itself. The 40 exhibitors were able to access an additional wireless network for the presentation of their exhibits. A separate, high-performance LAN network was also provided to suit the requirements of the individual products, some being fixed installations while others were mobile.

The presentations of the keynote speakers were centrally managed both before and during the event using "come2present", N&M's server-based presentation management system, which saves all presentations in a database in a structured form online ahead of the event or locally by means of a central media depository. The database was connected to the individual stages via the network so that all involved could be absolutely sure that their charts would be available when their presentation began. Moreover, speakers could check the current status of their presentations at any time and update them in a simple, clearly structured process.

The team - made up of technicians from N&M's Frankfurt branch office, who were responsible for the project, plus employees from five other N&M sites - also connected up all of the other technical areas: the six control centres and 14 equipment rooms were connected to one another via a glass-fibre network that distributed the audiolight, video and control signals. A redundantly structured Dante network distributed the audio signals to all the stages while 18 distributed Dimmercity units were controlled via an MA-Net or Artnet protocol to provide the lighting. Our technicians were also responsible for the sound in the hall. Besides the conventional PA, guests were provided with over 3,500 small receivers and headphones, which guaranteed quiet sound transmission, thus allowing the audience to wander from stage to stage. This meant the volume could be kept as low as possible while speakers held presentations simultaneously on all four stages. Deutsche Telekom also tasked N&M with the design and implementation of the lighting for the exhibition and catering areas measuring 11,000 m2 as well as with the show lighting for the auditorium. Finally, we were also responsible for video, whereby, in addition to the local presentation control desks, a central signal was transmitted to all of the stages and over 100 m2 of LED surface and 120 individual displays were installed for moving images and other content.