The Digitisation Project at the National Exhibition Centre

The Digitisation Project at the National Exhibition Centre

The NEC digitisation project was part of a broader facelift across the NEC campus which positions the National Exhibition Centre as a modern, technologically-advanced venue.

Anna Valley was responsible for working with the various NEC business units and a host of suppliers to design and implement digital solutions across the campus to improve wayfinding, facilitate the delivery of advertising and information and help create an end-to-end experience for visitors.

This was achieved through the extensive use of LED across the venue, including a mixture of functional and impressive displays with multipurpose capability to offer versatility.

Watch the video below to find out more or read the full case study in AV magazine here

Video transcription :

James Jackson, IT Director for NEC Group

The NEC venue has been around for around 40 years, it was built in the 1970s. When Lloyds Bank took ownership of the group, the investment really stepped up.

The digitisation project is a real fundamental underlying the strategy of the NEC Group. It’s predominantly around making the venue and everything about the venue look more modern, up to date, exciting for our customers, underpinned by the technology, and underpinned by the revenue that it’s going to drive for us.

Shaun Wilton, Anna Valley Director

The NEC project was perfect for Anna Valley because we’d spent many, many years operating in a live event space, we’re also experts in LED and a digitisation project like this was bringing together a lot of our experience in one place at one time.

 

Tina Thomson, Head of Purchasing at NEC Group

We needed to find a partner to work with who could grow with us. We had really no experience of the digital world in terms of these sizes, and we needed someone that was going to teach us, and show us what we needed, and what was the art of the possible. But someone who was going to be with us in three, five, 10 years time.

 

Helen Truman, Project Manager at NEC Group

We were looking to be able to sell advertising space to third parties. We were looking to promote our own products and services, so that might be things like catering, car parking, those kind of things, brand messaging. We also set out to implement a different way of wayfinding, so getting people around the venue.

 

James Jackson, IT Director for NEC Group

The venue as a whole has gone through a complete facelift. The outside of the building has been reclad, much more modern lighting, looks fresh. Many people think it’s a brand-new building. The AV in particular on top of that, adds to that level of technology and modernisation, really brightens up the venue.

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Sponsorship, Media and Sales for NEC Group

We decided to install a number of the digital display at the key entry points to the venue. The piazza entrance here, which is just behind me, as well as the atrium entrance on the other side of the NEC campus, but also at the train station entrance, where circa 25% of all of our visitors arrive via train as well as via the airport.

In addition to that, we wanted to install a large amount of digital display in the key areas outside of the halls so there are screens around those areas. We can run commercial messaging, but also provide some wayfinding advice so our customers can navigate their way around the venue.

 

Helen Truman, Project Manager at NEC Group

Our event schedule is really busy. We do go quieter over the summer months, but not as quiet as we used to be. Our challenges have been working with the event management team trying to find suitable times in the diary to complete the work. That has meant that Anna Valley have had to work with us to work out of hours in order to get work completed.

 

James Jackson, IT Director for NEC Group

I think the thing that’s different about the NEC is we have a vast number of screens, but every screen is different. We drive different content to every screen at different time.  What we’ve managed to do with Anna Valley, and the content management provider is really tackle that and understand how best we do that without a huge resource of people, either in IT or within our marketing department.

 

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Sponsorship, Media and Sales for NEC Group

The ability to have a really dynamic digital display is something that’s really vital to us, given the great diverse nature of the audience that come to the NEC campus as a whole.

 

James Jackson, IT Director for NEC Group

To date it’s been a delight working with Anna Valley. The guys have been on site every single day, they feel like part of our team.

 

Helen Truman, Project Manager at NEC Group

They’ve got that real desire to actually deliver. They want to meet the timescales that we’re setting, although they were challenging.

They've handled it absolutely professionally from day one. They have been a true partner.  The support that we've had through this whole process, and will continue to get through the service and maintenance for the next three years, has been invaluable. There's no price for that kind of level of support. It's been amazing.
Tina Thomson, Head of Purchasing at NEC Group

 

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Sponsorship, Media and Sales for NEC Group

If you went back two years, before the screens were installed, we were sadly really behind the times and behind our competition, but now we’re firmly in our number one position in the exhibition industry with the amount of digital display, but also the quality of the digital display.

 

James Jackson, IT Director for NEC Group

Everyday now we see a new exhibitor come along and say, “We want to use your screen. We want to use your screen. We want to use your screen.” Because it’s really beginning to really drive a value add to the company.

 

Tina Thomson, Head of Purchasing at NEC Group

We started small because we needed to build our own confidence, and as the project’s gone on we’ve got bigger, and braver, and Anna Valley have just been with us through that whole journey. Egging us on!

Get in touch with our integration team to find out more about exhibition and entertainment venue AV.