Signature Boston Blog

BCEC Introduces its New “Indoor GPS” to Allow for Easy Trade Show Navigation!

Posted by Claire Dollander on Apr 16, 2015 2:41:00 PM

We all know how tiring it can get to look for a booth at a trade show or look for a meeting room at a conference when we don’t know our way around!

We have good news for you! The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) recently launched its new digital navigation system called ActivLocator. It’s a geolocation tool developed by Sherpa Solutions that allows attendees to use turn-by-turn navigation to find their way to a meeting room, exhibit hall, and even specific exhibit booths from anywhere in the facility.

Attendees use a mobile app to access the tool, and once downloaded, the app doesn’t need a cellular or internet connection. See how it looks like in this 40 seconds video taken last month during Seafood Expo North America:

 

“It will be a tremendous value-add for our customers because we will be able to map their entire show floors, booth by booth, and customize information such as shuttle drop-off and pickup locations,” Steve Snyder, CIO and CTO at Massachusetts Convention Center Authorities (MCCA), said in a statement. The system will rely on 270 Bluetooth low-energy beacon transmitters to be installed throughout the center that will be accurate to within six feet of where the user is standing—more accurate than a standard car GPS.

“We have never been reserved about our mission to remain the most technologically advanced convention centers in the world,” MCCA Executive Director James E. Rooney said in the statement. “We are thinking about technology that meeting attendees will be asking for not just in 2015, but five and 10 years from now. Real-time location services are just one of the technology initiatives we are focused on right now to better serve our customers and their attendees.”

The MCCA’s venue-wide indoor navigation system is the first of its kind to be used by a convention center. The MCCA that owns and operates the Boston Convention & Exhibitor Center and the Hynes Convention Center, has led the convention industry with technology ever since it first offered free and reliable Wi-Fi in every area of its facilities. Find out more about our technology by visiting the Technology section of our Signature Boston blog and the Technology section of our Signature Boston website.

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Topics: Technology, Videos

5 Questions with Melody Moore, Signature Boston Sales Manager

Posted by Katie Hauser on Apr 2, 2015 12:15:00 PM

Today we’re featuring one of our Signature Boston Sales Managers, Melody Moore. Originally from New Hampshire, Melody has been a part of the Signature Boston team for four years now. Her sales specialty is booking events that are looking for space at the BCEC and Hynes Convention Center within 18 months, so her customers often have a lot of decisions to make in short time. Melody lives right in the South Boston Waterfront, and she can see the BCEC from her apartment! She was kind enough to take time out of her busy day to share her Signature Boston perspective.

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With so many options, how do you help a meeting planner find the perfect space for their event?

Many times, it will really come down to date and space availability. Our convention centers are so busy, and my clients are looking for space within 18 months, so I often have to get creative and suggest alternative set-ups (theater rather than banquet, maybe mixed seating or reception style) to help a customer see how his or her event can work in the space we have available. I like that creative side of the sales process: it often produces some very unique sets!

What has been among the most challenging requests from a Hynes Convention Center client, and how did you work to make it happen?

I had a client that envisioned their registration and retail areas in meeting rooms at the Hynes. It was an event that attracted thousands of people, long lines were expected, and we had another event scheduled to be in the building at the same time that may have been impacted, so both our operations and public safety teams had apprehensions. Ultimately, the whole team worked together to come up with a solution that satisfied everyone’s needs – put registration activities inside the exhibit hall! This worked perfectly and our customers, their attendees and staff were happy.

Tell us about one of your favorite BCEC events that you booked. What made it memorable?

I have a few favorites, but one that comes to mind has to be the “Duke University Duke Forward,” event that took place at the BCEC back in November 2014. It was an event that invited 400 Duke Alumni residing in the New England area to come together and celebrate the success of the “Duke Forward” fundraising campaign, as well as to mingle with other alums, current students, and faculty who are making a difference in Durham, NC and around the globe.

How do you personalize events?  

All customers should and want to feel special, that they’re not just another event in a big convention center. I personalize events with the help of our great team here!

For example, at both the BCEC and the Hynes, clients love the fact that our Guest Service Associates can be stationed to greet their attendees and help direct them to their destinations. It is important to clients, with our facilities being so large, that their attendees not be overwhelmed, especially if it’s their first time visiting. Our GSAs do a great job at making the overall experience more flawless for our guests and I often highlight their work on site tours.

I also want to give a shout-out to our Digital Media team. I find that many clients want to know more about how they can welcome attendees and highlight sponsors – especially when it comes to the BCEC’s outdoor Marquee. These structures are definitely an added selling point and a way to bring personalization to events.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

I would have to say that the most fulfilling aspect of my job is interacting with meeting planners on site visits around the facilities. I love having the opportunity to meet with a client face-to-face, where I can learn more about their program and help them envision it in our building. It’s a great way to showcase how exceptional our facilities are and how remarkable the Signature Boston experience is.  

When the day comes and you find out you got the sale, it makes all the hard work and long hours worthwhile!

 

 

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Topics: Hynes Convention Center, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Info & Tips, Events, Boston

BCEC Offers the Best Wi-Fi of any Convention Center in the World!

Posted by Claire Dollander on Mar 19, 2015 11:09:00 AM

Accommodating some of the world’s largest trade shows requires Internet access capable of handling extraordinary amounts of data traffic from tens of thousands of users. The newest Wi-Fi system that the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) is deploying is set to exceed expectation of the most demanding attendee.

Here are some of the reasons why the BCEC’s latest generation Wi-Fi system is the best in the industry:

The BCEC transitioned from a traditional “coverage based modeling” system to an advanced “dynamic capacity based modeling” where careful calculations were made on the maximum number of people in a specific area, the number Wi-Fi devices they carry, and the type of devices. The system accounts for the usage and number of specific devices. For example, a laptop will routinely transmit large files such as slide show presentations and documents, while phones will more likely transmit pictures and texts. However, there will be vastly more phones than laptops in nearly every crowd scenario. With attendees using an average of 2.5 devices, the BCEC not only provides a signal to their mobile devices, but also provides the appropriate upstream bandwidth.

With a 10 gigabit fiber network and the ability to increase and decrease the bandwidth in real time according to show’s usage, the BCEC is equipped to accommodate events with extensive mobile technology requirements such as PAX East Expo, that brought thousands of video game fans and professionals last week.

The number of wireless access points is increasing from 113 to 580, a 413 percent increase in access points throughout the BCEC!

The BCEC offers a customized Internet access experience. For repeat customers, the BCEC can provide Internet access to attendees based on the network settings and floor plans from the prior year and make quick adjustments to accommodate current Internet usage trends.

Find out more about why the BCEC is the most technologically advanced convention center in the world by visiting the technology section of our Signature Boston blog and the technology section of our Signature Boston website.

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Topics: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Technology

Signature Details a Crowd Pleaser at PAX East 2015

Posted by Rachel Weiss on Mar 11, 2015 1:53:00 PM

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This past weekend was PAX East, the largest gaming convention in the Northeast – where thousands of game enthusiasts and game developers meet at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center to discuss and try out the latest and greatest in the video gaming industry. PAX first came to Boston in 2010, starting at the Hynes where it surpassed all attendance expectations requiring a move to the BCEC in 2011, where it is now held annually.

When a signature event like PAX East rolls into town, it is all hands on deck to ensure the event is executed to perfection, from our exhibitor and guest service associates to IT (gamers use a lot of data!) to event managers. However, one team that likes to fully embrace the nature of the event and get more and more creative each year is Levy Restaurants, our restaurant services provider. Our team of chefs likes to “best” their work each year by coming up with outrageously different and delicious food offerings – PAX East attendees have come to expect original food selections!  

PAX East doesn’t ask Levy to create signature items; it is just something our chefs happily do each year.  The main focus of the entire Levy team is always to ensure attendees are entirely satisfied with their dining experience at our convention centers, whether that is an elegant dinner or a gigantic ramen burger!

A few themes that seem to appear every year are “bigger is better,” “the messier the better,” and “must contain meat.”  Keeping that in mind, the BCEC chefs created the following items, which were a huge hit at PAX East this year:

Twisted Carnage
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This hearty pretzel was stuffed with steak, cheese, pepper and onions, weighing in at two pounds! With one pound of dough and one pound of meat, this pretzel could fill up even the hungriest of gamers. The name ‘Twisted Carnage’ is a video game reference, and the dish definitely fueled hours of gaming, so there is no doubt this item was made just for PAX East!

Fluffernutter
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This tasty treat was a twist on a local specialty. With attendees coming from all over the country - and even the world - what better way to welcome them to Boston than with a Massachusetts favorite? With marshmallow fluff, Nutella and banana compote, this grilled sandwich was a triple layer concoction. The middle slice of bread has a hole cut out so that the sandwich could be filled to the max with delicious ingredients!

Ramen ‘TuPoBe’ Burger
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Keeping in the tradition of the meatier the better, this specialty burger was comprised of three different meats: turkey, pork and beef. If the word TuPoBe reminds you of Kobe, that’s exactly what the chef was thinking when he named it! This Asian-style burger is topped with an Asian slaw, sesame vinaigrette, wonton noodles and wasabi dressing. Instead of a traditional bun, the TuPoBe burger is paired with a ramen bun, made of cooked ramen noodles.

Find out more about our food and beverage services at signatureboston.com, and rest assured that our Chefs are ready to get creative for your attendees at your next Boston event!

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Topics: Events, Hotels & Restaurants

An Easy Ride from Boston Logan International Airport to the Hynes

Posted by Claire Dollander on Feb 26, 2015 2:23:00 PM

The Back Bay Logan Express is a round-trip shuttle from Boston Logan International Airport to the Back Bay neighborhood that drops off and picks up passengers at the Hynes Convention Center. The shuttle runs every 20 minutes and costs just $5!

The Back Bay Logan Express is a new service that was launched in the spring of 2014 and has been well-received by conventioneers as it stops right in front of the Hynes! It stops at two locations in the Back Bay that are both walking distance to most convention hotels in the neighborhood, representing over 5,000 hotel rooms!

Back Bay Logan Express stops at all airport terminals. It’s a fifteen minute drive from the airport to the Back Bay. No other city in the U.S. delivers a faster travel times than Boston between the airport and its convention centers!

Service is seven days a week, running 5:00 am until 9:00 pm from the Back Bay to Logan Airport and from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm from Logan Airport to the Back Bay. The fare is $5.00, payable with a credit or debit card. The services is free for riders with a valid MBTA Charlie Card. All buses are wheelchair accessible. Find more information on the schedule on the Massport website.

Boston Logan International Airport offers nonstop service to 75 domestic and 44 international destinations. Over the past decade, the airport has spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. 

Find out more information on transportation and nonstop service to international destinations by visiting the Transportation section of our Signature Boston blog.  

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Topics: Transportation

10 Things to Do in Boston This Winter for Under $25

Posted by Claire Dollander on Feb 19, 2015 1:30:00 PM

The city may be covered under a blanket of white, but there’s still lots of options—indoor and out—to keep conference attendees entertained! From museums and salsa dancing to ice skating and skiing, the Boston area offers a variety of winter attractions for less than $25.

Put Your Head In the Clouds
Visit the Prudential’s Skywalk Observatory for a  360-degree view of the city, 50 floors above Boston’s steets. The cost is $16 for adults, $11 for children, and $13 for students and seniors. The price includes an audio tour and entry into the Dreams of Freedom Museum.

Go Ice Skating
Head over to the Boston Common park to glide across the picturesque Frog Pond. Skate rentals cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Then take a stroll around the park, beautiful in the snow, and look for the renowned Make Way for Ducklings sculpture.

Explore Architecture
The Boston Public Library is a great example of Boston architecture. Take a free tour to soak it all in. You’ll learn about the work of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as other famous sculptors and painters. The tour lasts about an hour.

Go Skiing
Enjoy some night skiing after a day at the convention center by heading to Blue Hills, a 30-minute drive from downtown Boston. A weekday lift ticket from 5-9 p.m. will cost you just $25.

Take a Brewery Tour
Samuel Adams offers beer tours and tastings for a suggested donation of $2. Tours depart every 45 minutes and last about an hour. The doors open at 10 a.m. or check out the Morning Mash In Tour on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 9:40 a.m., a unique tour that includes a specialty tasting.

Learn about Boston Sports
Adam Vinatieri may be the kicker for the Indianapolis Colts now, but we still worship the shoes he wore during the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win at The Sports Museum. Located on the fifth and sixth levels of the TD Garden, you can also visit iconic Boston sports memorabilia such as Larry Bird’s locker or the Beanpot trophy. Admission for adults is $12, students and seniors are $6, and kids under 10 are free.

Find Your Zen
Was one of your resolutions for 2015 to try downward dog? Back Bay Yoga Studio offers classes for all levels of yogis. Regular classes are $15, or pay just $10 for 60- and 75-minute classes before 5 p.m. The studio is conveniently located in the heart of downtown, near Boston Common and most convention hotels.

Tour a Chocolate Factory
If you are a chocolate lover, it doesn’t get much better than this. Learn how Taza makes its Mexican-style organic dark chocolate and enjoy samples during a $6 factory tour. Tours last between 45 minutes and one hour.

Take a Salsa Lesson
When it’s cold outside, the Havana Club’s salsa classes offer a fun way to warm up. A $12 admission includes a dance lesson and party afterward. Beginners are welcome and you don’t need to come with a partner, a partner will be assigned to you. The teachers and dancers are great!

Enjoy Art
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world with a collection of nearly 450,000 works of art, from ancient Egyptian to contemporary and special exhibitions. This winter, enjoy portraits of legendary stars by Yousuf Karsh; Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and much more.

Visit the Boston Attractions section of our website for more things to see and do in and around Boston!

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 Boston Public Library
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 Salsa Classes at Havana Club
frog-pond  Frog Pond on Boston Common mfasmall-1  Museum of Fine Art, Boston
backbayyogaclub  Back Bay Yoga Studio Samual-Adams  Samuel Adams Brewery
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Topics: Boston, Entertainment

Turn by Turn Navigation Coming to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

Posted by Katie Hauser on Feb 4, 2015 5:39:54 PM

 

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Imagine you have ten minutes to kill before your next session, and all you want is a cup of coffee. But, you can’t seem to figure out how to get to the closest coffee stand or how long it will take you to get there. We’ve all been there before! Convention centers are enormous, and if you’re in a rush it can be difficult to find the shortest route to your destination without being totally familiar with the facility.

Well, coming this March to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, you’ll soon have this problem solved right at your fingertips. Signature Boston recently announced the installation of a full-building geolocation service powered by Sherpa Solutions “ActivLocator” technology. Now, planners, exhibitors and attendees will have a digital wayfinding tool available via a smartphone application that guides them turn-by-turn to meeting rooms, through the exhibit hall, shuttle pick up and drop off locations, and of course, to that badly needed cup of coffee!

The system uses Bluetooth low energy beacon transmitters, so you only need to download the app to their mobile device and make sure that your Bluetooth is turned on. Once the app has been downloaded, no cellular or wireless connection is needed to get you where you need to be. And meeting planners, you can work with Signature Boston and Sherpa to map out your entire exhibit hall floor so exhibitors can get easy directions to all of the booths they want to visit most.

Our Signature Boston facilities are the most technologically advanced convention centers in the world. In fact, geolocation services are just one of the technology initiatives we are focused on right now. At the BCEC, we’re also in the midst of a full-building wireless infrastructure overhaul that will increase our complimentary wireless service’s capacity more than twofold, with improved signal strength in every area of the facility.

You can learn more about all of our technology offerings at SignatureBoston.com!

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Topics: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Technology, Events

See Boston From a Different Angle. Watch a Time-lapse Video!

Posted by Claire Dollander on Jan 22, 2015 1:44:25 PM

See Boston from many different angles with this time-lapse video that will give you an upbeat overview of the city! Enjoy a 2-minute journey through Boston including views of the city skyline, Boston Harbor, downtown, the Financial District, the Seaport District featuring our Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the renowned Boston Common, and other stunning landmarks.

The author—Julian Tryba--explains his innovative technique of layer-lapse: “Traditional time-lapses are constrained by the idea that there is a single universal clock. In the spirit of Einstein’s relativity theory, layer-lapses assign distinct clocks to any number of objects or regions in a scene. Each of these clocks may start at any point in time, any tick at any rate. The result is a visual time dilation effect known as layer-lapse.”

Find more videos in the Video section of our blog and on our SignatureBoston.com website homepage. Enjoy!

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Topics: Videos

Banner Year Expected for Signature Boston Convention Business

Posted by Katie Hauser on Jan 8, 2015 1:26:00 PM

 

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At Signature Boston, we are celebrating another successful year and rolling into 2015 with a full slate of major meetings and conventions booked for Boston. In 2015 we will welcome some of the world’s most important events to the BCEC and the Hynes – many of them repeat customers. 

This year, meetings and conventions will bring more than 900,000 attendees to Boston - attendees who will generate 615,000 hotel room nights and $610 million in economic impact for the Commonwealth. This will be our third best year for room nights overall, but the BCEC is expected to break a 2010 record of 403,000 hotel room nights by generating more than 431,000 in 2015.

Early in 2015, we will welcome back a number of our successful annual events including New England Grows and the 40th Anniversary event for Yankee Dental Congress. 2015 will mark the 30th year that Yankee Dental has been held at an MCCA facility – they first held their event at the Hynes in 1985, and moved to the BCEC in 2008.

Also in 2015, BCEC will again host popular public events including the New England International Auto Show (January 15-19), the Boston RV & Camping Expo (January 17-19), and the New England Boat Show (February 14-22).

Boston continues to be a leading destination for international events, and in 2015, we will host nine events with more than 25 percent international attendance including the Heart Rhythm Society, the Seafood Expo North America, NAFSA: Association of International Educators Annual Conference & International Education Expo and the American Diabetes Association Annual Meeting. This will be the first BCEC meeting for the American Diabetes Association – they last held their meeting at the Hynes in 1995. The ADA Annual Meeting is a five-day, science-heavy conference that brings participants from more than 124 countries together to discuss the most timely and significant advances in basic science and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes.

Other events of note in 2015 include the New England Region Volleyball Association’s Pre-Qualifier at the February event, which will transform the BCEC’s exhibit halls into nearly 20 regulation-sized volleyball courts, and the return of PAX Expo East in March, the largest video gaming conference in New England.

2014 was a fantastic year for Signature Boston, with 241 events held at the BCEC and Hynes bringing 845,000 attendees to Boston, and generating an estimated 630,000 hotel room nights and $590 million in economic impact. On top of these numbers, in June, we posted our best sales month in history, booking 38 future events for Boston that will generate 472,787 future hotel room nights in Boston. And in August, the MCCA debuted its new experimental outdoor space at the BCEC, the Lawn on D, to great review. Over a period of just three months, we hosted more than 30,000 attendees and community members at concerts, kids events, football Sundays and other publicly programmed events on the Lawn on D.  

After a fantastic 2014, we have another busy year with much hard work ahead of us.  

In 2015, we will be focused on executing exceptional events for our customers, and working simultaneously on our expansion and hotel development efforts in the South Boston Waterfront. It’s an exciting time for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and the entire Signature Boston team, and we look forward to sharing more successes throughout the next year and for many years to come.

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Topics: Hynes Convention Center, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Events, Boston

The BCEC Lawn on D is “On Fire”

Posted by Claire Dollander on Dec 18, 2014 2:18:00 PM

Last week at the BostInno 50 on Fire Event, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center‘s Lawn on D took home a win in the Arts & Entertainment category! It’s remarkable that after just four months, the Lawn on D was recognized as one of Boston’s most creative arts and entertainment destinations.

The Lawn on D is a temporary outdoor space that runs alongside the BCEC and was used over the summer by show and conference organizers. They used the space in unique ways. Some used it to provide lunch to their attendees, who enjoyed free Wi-Fi, local food trucks and were able to take a break from traditional meeting rooms. At night, planners utilized the built-in tent, tables and bar to host receptions. Unique art installations such as an interactive lighting-enabled swing set made events truly memorable.

According to BostInno, The carefully selected finalists are the top luminaries, newsmakers, trailblazers, and visionaries disrupting the innovation scene across industries in Boston. The 50 on fire winners have proven growth, public accolades, and are changing the game by mixing creativity, bravery, presence, and a special spark. They are companies that took risks, fulfilled their visions, and racked up a list of accomplishments that truly speak for themselves.

Open through 2015, the Lawn on D is an experimental “working lab” for a permanent outdoor space that will be part of the expanded BCEC. Find out more about the BCEC expansion by visiting the Expansion page of our website.

Be part of our success and take advantage of our creativity, imagination, attention of detail and ability to execute world class events! Visit our Signature Boston website for more information on our two convention centers.

We are proud to add this prestigious award to our collection. Visit the Awards page of our website and the Awards section of our blog to find out more about why we are the best at what we do.

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Topics: Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

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