Cisco replaces radio rentals with a modern app for their biggest customer event

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The Biggest Cisco Customer Event Ever

Live! 2017 was expected to be the biggest Cisco customer event ever, with more than 16,000 IT professionals registered for the Las Vegas conference. The company assembled a team of 350 to provide direct support for the event. Cisco, of course, planned to send numerous other employees to Las Vegas to join hundreds of partner representatives, vendors, IT technicians, security and EMT personnel, and laborers.

But Live! 2017 was a big event for reasons beyond the number of attendees:

* The event was spread across two venues, the enormous Mandalay Bay Convention Center and the equally enormous MGM Grand Hotel.

* The conference agenda included over 1,400 individual sessions and presentations, each with its own speaker, speaker presentation content and supporting computer and audio-visual technology.

* Live! 2017 had more than 300 sponsors, all Cisco partners who agreed to help defray the cost of the event in exchange for exposure to Cisco’s best customers. These sponsors were concentrated in a very large exposition hall and required help with booth construction and teardown, internet, electric and lighting service, lead tracking and other services.

Needed: An Alternative to Radios

In prior years Cisco outfitted Live! staff members with two-way radios, but in the run up to the 2017 event the show management company looked for a less costly and more modern communication system. Driving the evaluation were several requirements:

* The company was looking hard for a way to cut back on the tens of thousands of dollars that radios cost

* Obviously, the audio had to be real-time, clear and reliable

* The staff needed the ability to switch easily between one-to-one and group conversations

* Show management wanted to find a modern solution that reflected well on the Cisco brand; and

* A high priority was placed on finding an app that could run on popular smartphones and tablets

The last requirement reflected the experience at previous Live! events, when staff members – particularly non-Cisco employees – used their own devices and accessories for communications. Expensive rented radios went unused, which represented a waste of money and created communications challenges during the ten days of conference set up and the event itself. In reaction, Live! 2017 was made a BYOD (“bring your own device”) event.

With the help of event consultants at George P. Johnson Marketing Group, Cisco started to evaluate various mobile push-to-talk (PTT) apps. ZelloWork was one that drew interest because it offered the features they needed at an affordable cost. There were no contracts, and the subscription could be cancelled after the convention ended. Using an admin console, users could be added or removed as needed during the convention.

ZelloWork also met the BYOD requirement given its support for most smartphones and tablets, including Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows PC, and Windows Mobile. It also supported a wide assortment of wired and wireless Bluetooth accessories.

And since ZelloWork worked over Wi-Fi or any cellular network, there were no distance or frequency limitations. Users could communicate with others on-site at the convention site using local Wi-Fi or off-site using either Wi-Fi or their chosen data plan.

Finally, the team learned that it could create unlimited ZelloWork channels. ZelloWork would let them organize users and conversations by organizational level, company name, teams, and function, as well as any combination of these criteria. They understood that this would reduce noise from nonessential chatter and make it easier to reach the right people quickly. Users could also contact individuals privately for one-on-one conversations.**

Deadline: Use ZelloWork to Tie Together Many Teams in Two Locations

Zello’s technical support team worked closely with George P. Johnson consultants to install and configure a comprehensive network that would meet Cisco’s event needs. The ZelloWork administrator console made network setup simple and easy to manage. Using the console with its Import Users option, approximately 350 user accounts were added using a few CSV files. Users were then assigned to the channels that the Cisco team defined. The team also took advantage of channel and user role configurations to determine which users could listen or talk within each channel.

Zello provided training materials, onsite training and support before and during the event, which was held on June 25-29 in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The support provided by Zello ensured a successful deployment for the event. By using ZelloWork on personal devices, the company saved an astounding 99% of the prior year cost of radios.

What can Zello do for Your Organization

If you need instant voice communications for your team, please contact our sales team to request a demo of Zello Work, or start a free 14-day trial. We look forward to helping you explore the many ways in which Zello Work changes the way people communicate and collaborate in the frontline.

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