Successful Meetings - April 2008 - (Page 26)

Technology Talk > By Michael Goldstein Signal Trouble are enhancing their communications infrastructure. Malaysia has built the Multimedia Super Corridor, with 3G and now 4G (4th generation) wireless access. Destination hotels like the Shangri-La in Penang and Sabah, and the 450-room Mandarin Oriental in walking distance of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, offer Wi-Fi and Internet services throughout, including pools and lounges, according to Taib Ibrahim, vice president of Tourism Malaysia. Wireless access in the hotel rooms is about $25 a day, and phones are widely available for rent from companies like Cellcom and Maxis, at a cost of about 50 cents per minute. Major hospitality companies are also moving to make international meetings more transparent. Kevin Hoard, regional director of technology realizing the time distance. support for Dolce But while bring-your-own International, whose 27 is often the best solution, it’s locations include Spain, not necessarily the cheapGermany, France, and est; calls on my BlackBerry Belgium, says the comparanged from $1.20 to $2.49 ny is deploying many access points around the properties for per minute. Last summer, horror stories abounded about Wi-Fi access, and installing cell repeaters to enhance cell iPhones automatically downloading data, resulting in roaming phone reception. “If there are 50 people sitting in a room on charges of up to $3,000. their laptops, you may need four to six access points in each As an alternative, planners should consider putting links to meeting room.” local phone rental companies on the meeting website or selectHoard says many delegates are starting to use cell phones ing a local phone vendor. I rented a phone with 100 international minutes in Israel for about $90 from Pelephone; IsraelPhones like the BlackBerry Curve for Wi-Fi access. “If they don’t have ( offers rentals with calls to the U.S. at good cell phone coverage, they can switch to Wi-Fi. T-Mobile is 38 cents per minute. very strong in this area; with a Wi-Fi capable cell phone, if Planners might also post a few helpful tips for first-time interyou’re near a Wi-Fi access point, you can switch over and make national delegates, such as how to use the international format calls for free over VOIP (voice over internet protocol), if you’ve (+, country code—the U.S. code is “1”), and the fact that 911 is set it up, for around $20 a month.” only used in the U.S., along with the local emergency number. Dolce also tries to point delegates to local vendors if they THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE As part of their effort need a cell phone and keeps plenty of power adapters and conto lure international meetings, many countries verters on hand for international delegates. Dolce generally includes wireless access throughout as part of the room rate, so delegates can get comfortable anywhere. But not too comfortable; Hoard notes, “A lot of meetIf you’re going international, Magellan’s ( ing planners like us to charge for wireless World Grounding Adaptor Plug Set offers 10 different plugs that will access in meeting rooms or lock it out work in almost every country for $39.85. Magellan’s online Electrical altogether, so people will pay attention to Connection Wizard will answer many travel questions as well. the training.” The most common information umbilical cord is the cell phone, and so having a working cell phone is a must while overseas. The phones of many countries work on GSM networks, so international travelers can often use their T-Mobile or AT&T service overseas. However, many other solutions are available. I recently bought a BlackBerry 8830 World Edition that works on both CDMA (U.S.) and GSM networks from Verizon for about $400 (plus a $39 international SIM card). Verizon claims you can call from more than 160 countries and use data services ($65 a month) in more than 90. The World Edition is surprisingly seamless; when I landed in Paris, Tel Aviv, and Munich, my email popped up as soon as I turned it on. The phone worked perhaps too well; my son woke me up at 1:30 A.M. to say hello, not ILLUSTRATION: BEATA SZPURA Extra Bytes: Plug In 26 APRIL 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - April 2008

Successful Meetings - April 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Technology Talk
Personal Success
Websites of the Month
Food & Beverage
On Site
Professional Development
On Site
Professional Development
Miforum Q&A
Beyond the Flames
Reservation for—21,000
Casino Riches
Entertainment Jackpot
Who Needs a Passport?
The International Swing
Around the World in 18 Holes
Places & Spaces
Puerto Rico
Show Special: Washington DC / Frankfurt, Germany

Successful Meetings - April 2008