showNets manages all the things required for trade show and convention success with Oomnitza
showNets designs, deploys, and supports enterprise network services for the world’s leading industry trade shows, conferences, and convention centers. For more than 20 years, the showNets team has designed, installed, and managed project networks for some of the largest events in the world. Clients include big names such as Dreamforce and Internet World Expo.
Rather than deploying a one-size-fits-all network, the showNets team tailors each network to the specific needs of its clients and the facility hosting the event. Where other providers merely add additional technology to scale their networks, showNets scales clients’ networks to ensure that attendees and exhibitors can always stay online. This makes reliable, always-on WiFi mission-critical for showNets and its customers.
showNets handles logistics for all client events. Managing all the things—thousands of laptops, switches, core cases, installation kits, network testing gear, and antennas—is an arduous task. The team previously managed assets for events using Google Docs, but information was scattered all over the place. They would export everything and dump it back into another Google Sheet. As a result, there were many Google Sheets, making thing management overwhelming and time consuming. The team knew it needed a centralized solution for asset management to save time and money and maintain the profitability of showNets’ core business.
The IT team began looking for an all-in-one asset management solution that would bring all information into the same spot and provide starting and ending point for every project. They also needed a partner that could help them in the mission-critical task of setting up WiFi and connectivity for events and planning every aspect of their hardware deployment in a single, robust asset management solution. showNets also needed a way to scale for bigger events. For example, Dreamforce has 100,000 attendees—making thing management crucial for show attendees and conference exhibitors. showNets deploys and breaks down thousands of pieces of gear in a single week, and it’s an arduous undertaking.
showNets chose Oomnitza based on a number of factors, including the ability to plan and scale for massive events, ease of use, customizability, convenience, reporting, and ability to track inventory location in one interface.
After years of use, Forest Bishop, project manager for showNets, can offer more reasons why Oomnitza is perfect for the company. The first is accessibility. “Working in a small business with telecommuting employees provides some struggles,” says Bishop. “Keeping all of our inventory centralized and having it readily accessible so remote contractors can see all the data with a few clicks certainly eases the challenge.”
He also cites Oomnitza’s exemplary customer service. The onboarding process was smooth. Oomnitza took the time to walk through detailed functionality and clean up showNets’ existing inventory tracking. They also created custom code blocks, views, and user ability to tailor the experience specifically to showNets.
Today, showNets continues to use Oomnitza to manage all the network infrastructure at events. It allows the team to check, ship, track, and set up equipment before the show; and test all the things required for the show to be sure they are operating correctly. Once they arrive, contractors implement the assets on site. Oomnitza helps manage the multitude of contractors who troubleshoot the network and answer service calls. After the event, the showNets team tears down the equipment and ships it back to the warehouse or directly to the next event.
During one event, showNets had 1,000 access points, 500 switches, core cases, installation kits, and cabling for two to three thousand assets. By assigning equipment to a particular event using tags, the showNets team can run reports based on each event using filters. The company can break down assets into what is going to each event. Account managers can gather requirements for each event and network engineers can plan ahead and review asset positions on a map. The output from Oomnitza is both a list of all the assets and a detailed map.
Everything starts with cases for things such as access points or switches. Out of Oomnitza, Bishop assigns cases to each event. Head of Logistics, Adam Lloyd, can ship things based on a very organized case list via export from Oomnitza. “Oomnitza makes logistics easy,” says Lloyd. “We can verify that all assets are in the case and are working, and log and track anything broken.”
An Oomnitza workflow automatically generates an email to Bishop and Lloyd showing them that broken things are harvested and off the network. The showNets team also can plan out inventory ahead of time and stay in touch with the technical team on the show floor. Once the on-site staff deploys the equipment, the network operations center in Atlanta can push configurations to the end device. Everyone involved in a project can use saved searches so project managers don’t have to teach them how to search.
“From start to finish, Oomnitza streamlines our core business,” says Bishop. “Oomnitza is saving tons of time and promoting clear communication across teams. It’s key to our productivity and profitability at showNets.”
Forest Bishop, Project Manager, showNets