Innovating in Times of Crisis

Innovating in Times of Crisis

For many businesses, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic also brought on panic. In some cases, people had to pivot and move their workforces home. In others, people closed their doors and opted to wait till everything was over. But at Backstage Networks, we knew that now is not the time to pause and wait. Instead of relying on government-provided stimulus packages or privatized relief, BSN seized the moment and started to innovate.


The Go LIVE Together Movement

In the live event industry, a global shut-down had a particularly strong and immediate effect. In many cases, however, BSN knew that the conference, esports competition and show must go on. So we adjusted, adding virtual event support and tools to our offerings. We also joined the Go LIVE Together coalition.

As one of 80 founding partners, we joined Go LIVE Together because we believe that nothing in the world will ever replace the power and need for trade shows and live events. Events serve as a massive incubator for innovation and economic growth. Advocating for recovery funding will be essential – not only to the events industry, but to the healing and recovery efforts of the global economy.

Dave Bauman, the CEO of Backstage Networks, says, “So much creativity, innovation and energy comes from live events. It is imperative that we in the events industry find a way to come together and problem-solve for our community and all those we impact.”

We will continue to aid in Go LIVE Together’s mission to ensure that, when the health crisis is over, the voices and concerns of the live events industry are addressed in local, state, and federal recovery funding related to COVID-19. In tandem with these efforts, we will continue to innovate our business model.

Three Cases of Innovation in Action

1. Virtual Events

One approach we have already incorporated into our business is support for virtual events. As a Cisco Select Partner, we are able to offer the most trusted virtual tools as a managed service — which saves our clients money, because they can sign up for what they need instead of taking on a long-term contract for just a single or few events.
We have also developed a virtual exhibitor platform, which is providing significant value to our customer’s virtual events and is now certified for future adoption and customization.

2. #GoLiveSafer

  • A cornerstone of the Go LIVE Together coalition is to return to live events in a safe way, so attendees can have peace of mind knowing that event coordinators are doing everything possible to protect them. We have developed several services and products that will help:
    Attendee Location Services will allow event coordinators to keep track of how many people (via their WiFi enabled phones) there are in an event space zones. Notifications and alerts can be pushed to event staff via email, SMS and live TV monitors. This will help execute proper social distancing guidelines and manage traffic flow and queues. Social distancing is going to be a part of everyone’s lives for the foreseeable future, and BSN wants to support safety and live events with these location-based services. With this information, we aim to answer the question, “How do you know if it’s really safe?”
  • Body Temp Sensing Cameras act as a first line of defense for events of all sizes. These cameras can identity whether or not an attendee has an elevated body temperature, which is important because fevers are often one of the first symptoms of viruses like the flu, Ebola, SARs or COVID-19 coronavirus.
  • COVID19 Rapid Deployment Data Networks provide agile Internet access whenever, wherever you need it. BSN can deliver Internet anywhere in the US and major international markets to deploy mission-critical, ultra-secure data networking infrastructure for testing centers, pop-up hospitals, conferences and festivals alike.

3. Smart Restaurants

Another innovative solution we are particularly proud of is a service aimed at making the return of patrons to restaurants as safe as possible. Our Virtual Touch (vTouch™) offering includes a contactless menu that can integrate with a business’ existing WiFi, via a separate appliance we can supply, or as a fully managed Internet and WiFi service. To help practice social distancing standards, we offer the aforementioned social distancing tool to enable restaurant management to monitor patron distancing. The product is able to track headcount and event alert when too many individuals are in a confined area.

Naturally, with increased digital applications in the restaurant comes increased IT needs. We bundle these offerings with our fully managed internet and WiFi service, allowing restaurant management to focus on the business and customer experience.


Improving the Business

Outside of these business innovations, BSN has also spent time during COVID-19 isolation to improve business efficiencies, and ourselves. This includes:

  • Refreshing all of our employee OSHA training
  • Providing all technical and field staff with trainings to move them up a level in the organization. This includes CBRS Training and Certifications, CWNP Training and Certifications, Network+ Training and Certifications, CCNA Training and Certifications, Wireless mmWave Training and Certifications
  • Improving customer and partner automation tools with our CRM platforms
  • Expanding our network footprint and datacenter computing power

As restrictions begin to lift, not only will we have a new suite of product offerings, but our existing business will be stronger, as well.

Live events offer opportunities for new connections, new ideas, and new experiences, so innovating new solutions to safely gather is in the DNA of event industry professionals. We know that challenging times require adaptation, and we at BSN are proud to continue innovating in our own business, as well as alongside the Go LIVE Together coalition.