SAP IT’s Events and Services team was the behind-the-scenes star of this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW and TechEd events in Madrid, ensuring that presenters and attendees were equipped, connected, and secure.
As an IT technology manager, Andreas Koch orchestrated the efforts of the large tech staff, which began its work many weeks before the event. Bill Kozel recently spoke with Andreas about the experience.
Bill: Andreas, SAPPHIRE NOW and TechEd were big and distinctly different events. Why don’t you begin by dazzling us with some numbers?
Andreas: Well, for starters we deployed 808 mini-switches, laid 3,118 patch cables, and installed 77 printers. Plus, we deployed a total of 1,190 SAP notebooks in the venue for the hands-on sessions, the demos, and other tasks.
There were about 55 technicians on our team, including about 30 from Europe and the rest from the U.S., China, and other locations. It’s a real international team. There were also about 35 hands from local vendors to deploy and collect the hardware, and to set up and tear down.
Bill: Very impressive. How about the Wi-Fi network?
Andreas: Actually, there were 65 Wi-Fi arrays configured on 2.4 and 5 GHz, because regular access points couldn’t support the capacity we needed.
In all, we had 15,360 unique devices on Wi-Fi. And the maximum concurrent number of devices on the Wi-Fi was 9,063. In total, there were 620 gigabytes of data transferred over the Wi-Fi during the three days of SAPPHIRE NOW and TechEd.
Bill: How did the Madrid event differ from the U.S. events?
Andreas: For Madrid, one of the biggest challenges was the high degree of flexibility required. For example, some of the key offices were moved to a different location on the day before the show. So, several of my team members had to stay very late to transfer the technology infrastructure.
Another difference between the U.S. and Europe is all the different languages, which occasionally led to translation issues. Also, in Spain the laws require that you provide SMS authentication for every Wi-Fi user. So when users connected to Wi-Fi, they had to input their cell phone numbers, receive a short text with a code, and insert that code to authenticate their device. That scenario had to be repeated by thousands of users.
Bill: Did you get any feedback from the attendees?
Andreas: We got some very good feedback, yes. And for that I’d like to say “muchas dankes” to my fantastic IT team.
Bill: How’s that?
Andreas: M-U-C-H-A-S D-A-N-K-A-S. It’s a combination of Spanish and German. I created it last year and I’m still using it.