In an effort to become one of the most technologically capable convention centers and destinations in the industry, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center recently invited meetings technology guru Corbin Ball to address convention center employees and local hospitality industry professionals on the latest trends impacting meeting planning, associations and society in general.
The center’s technological capabilities impressed Ball, who was a self-described “geek before it was chic.”
“The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has developed a service-oriented, very strong IT infrastructure that appears to be among the best around,” Ball said.
In his program, “Emerging Technologies: Don’t be Left Behind,” Ball gave an overview of social media sites, mobile technology and GPS-based technology and how they will change the meetings industry dramatically in the next two to three years. Ball also discussed how to prepare for these changes to be able to work more efficiently and effectively.
Among the 130 registered guests was John O’Gara, technology program group manager for Microsoft Events O’Gara also was among a smaller focus group of convention center clients that met to discuss technology needs.
“As one can imagine, Microsoft meetings are among the most challenging technologically for venues,” O’Gara said. “The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is one of the most advanced that we use on a regular basis.”
In recent months, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has completed $19.1 million in aesthetic and technological improvements. The center recently implemented a 100 percent redundant fiber optic backbone delivering data up to a capacity of 10 gigabytes, making it one of the most technologically powerful convention centers in the nation.
The facility has also re-purposed pay phone bays into I-Cove stations where attendees can connect their laptops to the internet and/or or re-charge electronic devices. Among other improvements, it opened two executive cyber lounges, installed card-key systems to all 140 meeting rooms, and installed new digital, flat panel audio/video information systems throughout the main lobby and meeting room levels. Additional improvements are slated for 2010.