Host City: As you know from working on six Olympic Games, major events are extremely complex projects. What are the common pain points that you have seen appearing across the event planning process?
Paul Foster: Major events are complex operations to manage. With many stakeholders across different functional areas, partners, suppliers, broadcasters, government and more, it can be a real challenge to collaborate and co-ordinate the plan effectively. It’s easy to rely on legacy tools that don’t have the right functionality, or CAD solutions that require costly specialists to update. OnePlan answers these pain points and more – it combines the best characteristics of CAD and mapping in one easy-to-use solution that enables real-time collaboration across all stakeholders.
In our hybrid world, stakeholders now expect more from event organisers and their technologies. A good example of this is the ability to visualise, at any moment, a hyper-realistic view of the stadiums, arenas, athlete villages and entire city. This is what our Venue Twin solution enables - a fully interactive 3D digital twin of your entire event. Virtual site visits 24/7 from any angle, meaning huge cost and sustainability benefits.
Host City: With so many different venues and items involved in events like these, a single planning tool sounds like the holy grail for organisers. How does OnePlan make it possible to plan and track all these variables on one platform?
Paul Foster: OnePlan and Venue Twin seamlessly integrate, so any change made is instantly reflected in the hyper-realistic 3D world, and vice versa.
Our platform is built for real-time collaboration - we know how important that is for event planning. It’s easy to control the admin rights so any team member or stakeholder can make updates based on their access - including adding comments to be reviewed. The dashboard makes it easy to select from any map type, analyse your event data, procure from suppliers, and so much more.
Ultimately, it’s all possible because that’s what our customers – including LA Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, World Triathlon and 2,000 events worldwide – are asking for! A good example is being able to plan independently on separate floor levels of a venue. We built that feature based on customer feedback.
Host City: The pandemic has forced us all to rely more on technology to communicate and monitor projects. How has OnePlan helped event planners over this period – for example, enabling virtual site visits?
Paul Foster: The pandemic has fast-tracked how venue owners and major event organisers realise the opportunities that innovative technology gives them. Venue Twin massively reduces the need for site visits – because you can now visit your venue 24/7 virtually, from any angle and any scenario. It means a huge cost and time saving – directly reducing travel expenses – as well as significant sustainability benefits.
Our customers are telling us this is a fundamental shift in how they plan their events and venues. Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton have told us it’s a ‘game-changer’ for them – they’ve switched to OnePlan as an integrated solution, and can now use Venue Twin to improve fan experiences and sell better to sponsors and advertisers with the hyper-realistic brand visualisations. OnePlan’s technology enables centimeter-accurate planning and the instant ability to visualise exactly how your venues will look in real-life.
Host City: Your background is in crowd management – how is OnePlan helping venues to manage flow of people and capacity during this time of social distancing?
Paul Foster: That’s right, my background is in event security and operations, including crowd management. I’ve worked on six Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was responsible for last-mile operations at London 2012, for example. During the last year or so, this has been valuable in how we’ve created a Social Distancing Toolkit that any OnePlan user can easily incorporate into their event plans. It includes modelling crowd flow - inside and outside venues - as well as ensuring government regulations are adhered to.
We’ve had a number of sports teams in the NBA and English Premier League - including Brooklyn Nets, Arsenal and Chelsea - use OnePlan to model crowd flow so their venues can stage safe events when fans have returned.
Host City: What impact do you think the pandemic will have on the events industry and your work in the longer term?
Paul Foster: As vaccinations help us come out of the pandemic, I believe the events industry will bounce back stronger than ever. People love live experiences – nothing beats being in a stadium enjoying the sport or music you idolise as a fan – and as a technology platform, we love helping our customers plan incredible events.
We’re already seeing customers switch to Venue Twin as a way of reducing their site visits and improving sustainability of their events. Having a hyper-realistic – and fully interactive – version of your venues makes planning events simpler and better. It delivers long-term benefits today - Venue Twin is already being used to plan events and venues in 4-5 years’ time.
Beyond this, the impact of the pandemic is making event organisers and venue owners race towards the commercial opportunities that now exist. The events industry is hybrid, and with Venue Twin major events can now engage international fans in incredible new ways. OnePlan connects together the operational and commercial opportunities that now exist.
Host City: We’re really looking forward to hearing you speak at Host City Americas – what are your expectation of the event and the opportunities for staging events in the Americas?
Paul Foster: We’re delighted to be the Preferred Event Technology Partner at Host City Americas this year! We’re expecting a great energy around the major events happening soon in the Americas, and the opportunities that new technology enables – both operationally and commercially. We’re at the start of an exciting few years for American sport and events on the international stage, and our US team is looking forward to helping your delegates unlock these huge operational and commercial opportunities.
Paul Foster is speaking at Host City Americas on day one, June 29. To find out more about OnePlan visit their website.