Extreme Networks, Inc., a cloud-driven networking company, has announced the Wisconsin Center, a premier convention facility and the host of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, depends on the ExtremeCloud™ IQ network management platform and high-density Wi-Fi 6 access points to deliver agile, secure, and reliable connectivity throughout its meeting rooms, ballrooms, and exposition center, as well as in its sister venue, the Miller High Life Theatre.
The Wisconsin Center hosts hundreds of events each year, including corporate conventions, Anime gatherings, large-scale sports competitions, religious events, celebrations, ceremonies, and everything in between – oftentimes simultaneously. With nearly 500,000 guests annually, the Wisconsin Center demands network reliability and trusts Extreme‘s cloud-managed networking solutions to provide every visitor with the best possible experience.
Sean Colburn, Network Administrator and Sarah Maio, Vice President of Marketing and Communication of Wisconsin Center, will share their ExtremeCloud IQ experience at the Extreme Connect Virtual user conference, on Wednesday, September 16 at 9 a.m. BST/ 12 p.m. EST.
Extreme Connect Virtual is a two-day summit taking place on September 16 and 17, featuring IT strategy sessions and practical workshops that will demonstrate how to drive transformation through network operations and create an effortless networking experience.
End-to-end security, visibility, and control: ExtremeCloud IQ provides full visibility into the network, allowing the Wisconsin Center’s IT team to analyze attendee behavior through device connections to different access points throughout the venue.
The team can also see how apps are behaving in relation to the network, and the innovative staff at the Wisconsin Center has used this data to improve event-specific apps mid-event. This happened in 2019, when a conference client released a polling app for attendees that wasn’t performing as planned.
ExtremeCloud IQ provided the data necessary for the Wisconsin Center to sit down and work with the client to improve the API, ensuring flawless performance for the rest of the event. This experience eased the Wisconsin Center team’s stress when planning for the DNC’s pre- and post-convention events.
Multi-campus cloud network management: Both the Wisconsin Center and its sister venue, the Miller High Life Theatre, are managed by the same network team. ExtremeCloud IQ allows the team to control the networks for both venues through the same platform, optimizing efficiency so they can keep pace with demands.
The simplicity of network management through the platform also allows each venue to tailor its network for the specific needs of clients and deliver solutions at cloud speed. The Wisconsin Center demonstrated this ability by enabling instantaneous scoring during a 2019 gymnastics competition. This allowed competitors and their parents to see scores within minutes of leaving the floor.
These event-specific offerings, combined with the delivery of advanced metrics that allow clients to assess attendee behavior, provide enormous value and keep clients coming back year after year.
IT-driven revenue stream: IT departments are rarely seen as a profitable part of a business, with the network perceived by most executives as a costly necessity. The IT team at the Wisconsin Center has completely flipped this perception by monetizing Wi-Fi connections and turning its network into a revenue stream.
The Wisconsin Center is partially open to the public, and community members can access the network via “pay as you go” Wi-Fi. Event organizers and attendees can also choose to purchase Wi-Fi access if they need guaranteed bandwidth. Thanks to the security and network visibility offered by ExtremeCloud IQ, the Wisconsin Center’s IT team can immediately identify unauthorized network access and change passwords as necessary, enabling them to offer this service without an additional risk to the network.
Sean Colburn, Network Administrator, Wisconsin Center, said,
“Our venue requires a reliable Wi-Fi network that is both flexible enough to work for every event and every unique need, and secure enough to allow simultaneous public and private access. The flexibility and security we’ve experienced with Extreme has allowed us to monetize our Wi-Fi, transforming our IT department from a necessary cost into a revenue driver. Additionally, the visibility we have with ExtremeCloud IQ gives us an unprecedented view of how event attendees are interacting with the network, allowing us to provide our clients with invaluable data and setting us apart from other venues. When the DNC announced they selected our venue for the convention, we knew we were well prepared to handle it. We’ve experienced huge benefits since our upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 and deployment of ExtremeCloud IQ, and we’ve never been happier with our network.”
Norman Rice, Chief Operating Officer, Extreme Networks, explained, “The Wisconsin Center has been central to establishing the growth and re-generation of Milwaukee. This deployment is an example of what can happen when an exceptional team really sees the potential of their network. Their ingenuity when it comes to using their data and their ability to adapt on the fly during events allows the Center’s small network team to meet the needs of every client. No two events are ever exactly the same, and Extreme is proud to deliver solutions that provide the flexible wireless connectivity they rely on.”
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