Thanks to funding from the Ambition Scotland Organisational Development Fund, the Arches had wi-fi installed throughout its huge, brick-walled, mobile-reception-restrictive premises, meaning punters, promoters, staff and artists can now Tweet, browse and post throughout the building….
(The Arches being built in 1899, just prior to the invention of Wi-Fi)
The installation of Wi-Fi provision in the Arches in April 2013 has already demonstrated a positive impact on our artist, promoter, staff and visitor experience in the venue::
- Wi-Fi has enabled freelance professionals working on our recent Behaviour Festival such as Artists, Stage Managers, Production Managers and Lighting Designers to work more efficiently by having access to online tools such as Dropbox, e-mail and Skype in the rehearsal and performance spaces. This has provided the facility to update, share and disseminate information such as LX/AV/Sound Cue Updates, CAD Drawings and Production Schedules with colleagues in real time during the rehearsal process.
- In terms of programming, there are also significant benefits to our programme of curation and artist support. Artists regularly utilise web platforms for audience interaction and live streaming during their performances and the improved Wi-Fi infrastructure has furnished us with the capability to present specific productions by internationally renowned artists that engage with this technology such as Rimini Protokol, Blast Theory and Richard Dedomenici.
- Wi-Fi provision permits our audiences to receive up-to-date information on gig set times, schedule or venue changes, guest appearances and ‘meal deal’ promotions whilst they are in the venue.
- Our events marketing and audience engagement strategy has been strengthened by patrons now able to access social networking apps through their Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices whilst in, or as soon as they leave, the performance space – whether this be sharing photographs of a gig or commenting on their theatre festival experience ‘as it happens.’
- Reliable Wi-Fi access will also increase usage of our foyer space and café bar restaurant as a meeting point and creative hub. It will attract more local customers and business people who are looking for a reliable cafe where they can stop for refreshments whilst catching up on business, or indeed arranging business meetings within the space.
- Our hosted emergent artists are now more able to easily experiment with new media in the performance space and cultivate their practice in this field without internet access barriers. This provision also facilitates our Artists in Residence to connect “virtually” with their mentors in the rehearsal room through Skype and instant messaging.
- It has improved our capacity to develop international partnerships that showcase Scottish work by enabling international meetings to take place via Skype, webinars, etc. It also assists us in creating networks which share best practice and facilitate peer development, training, knowledge and data exchange.
- We work with universities and colleges to develop long term critical collaboration for the creative sector which builds future audiences and career practitioners. This project enables us to continue to support artists to produce innovative work which embraces local participation and attracts national and international audiences, performers and producers.
- Our Creative Learning Lectures and discussions can now be fully interactive giving attendees the option to connect with each other digitally during networking events. We can now host “virtual speakers” in the space via Skype, and broadcast lectures through online streaming.
- From a commercial perspective the venue will now appeal more to corporate clients and conference organisers looking for a venue to host conferences and training days in Glasgow which must have Wi-Fi access throughout the venue as a pre-requisite, especially as part of any speaker’s multi-media presentation, for example, or on exhibitor stalls.
- The Arches is now able to offer free Wi-Fi to conference delegates and attendees at conference dinners and has signed up to the Conference Cloud campaign. Organised by the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers the campaign aims to encourage hotels and venues to offer free Wi-Fi to conference delegates.
The positive impact of this new infrastructure will no doubt become more evident over the next year. However, immediate benefits include efficiencies in terms of reduced staff time required to set up event specific solutions, convenience for artists, staff and audiences, and in increased use of the building as a fully Wi-Fi operational venue.