The show must go on

NEC played a key role in the 62nd Edinburgh International Film Festival by guaranteeing the availability of a powerful IT infrastructure for the festival’s staff, media and film delegates, journalists and guests from around the world.

NEC Computers is the official IT sponsor of the world-renowned Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), which this year ran from 18 to 29 June. Together, NEC Computers and NEC Infrontia provided a robust and highly reliable IT solution to the festival, guaranteeing the efficient organisation of this prestigious event. NEC’s solution provided POWERMATE desktop systems with TFT displays for use by more than 1,000 users, along with a free, password protected WiFi hotspot and a VoIP telephony solution for effective communication across multiple sites.

“NEC has been co-operating with the EIFF for a number of years and this started with just the supply of PCs for internet access,” explains David Newbould, UK Product Marketing Manager for NEC Computers. “Over the years, the co-operation has expanded to include further components in a more complex solution. For the past two years, for example, we have supplied VoIP phones for use by the EIFF staff. And this year, the partnership was also extended to include a series of large plasma display screens and a state-of-the-art digital cinema projector supplied by NEC Display Solutions.”

NEC’s previous experience of providing technological support to the EIFF, along with its 13-year partnership with the Cannes Film Festival, ensured a robust and highly reliable IT solution, guaranteeing the efficient organisation of this prestigious event. NEC’s expertise was used primarily to provide press and delegate services for the festival’s 1,000-plus media and film delegates, journalists and guests from across the globe. The IT solution also incorporated a free, password protected WiFi hotspot in the Press and Delegate Lounge, providing fast and secure communications to the festival’s accredited media and delegates, and allowing them to carry out research, write articles, connect to the internet and send digital photographs. In addition, NEC supported box office ticket sales over various sites and provided a VoIP telephony solution, enabling staff at all sites to stay in touch and communicate efficiently.

“I’m very pleased to say that the entire solution worked exactly as expected,” Newbould continues. “Bearing in mind that the EIFF staff, delegates and journalists are not IT experts, we designed the solution to be as user-friendly as possible. This approach obviously paid off, because we have received no negative feedback whatsoever from the festival organisers, who were very pleased with the solution’s performance.”

With only a single phone line in the EIFF organisers’ head office, the VoIP phone solution was crucial in providing voice communications to the EIFF staff. “The VoIP solution, which was incorporated into the IT infrastructure, worked perfectly and users appreciated the fact that they could each have their own telephone number for their VoIP handsets,” Newbould adds.

The basis for the VoIP solution was the UNIVERGE SV8100, part of NEC’s next generation of SV8000 communication servers, just launched in the EMEA region. The SV8000 series is modular and comes in various possible configurations to suit businesses of all sizes. It has been specifically designed to integrate business applications with communication methods and functionality. Furthermore, it allows all of these applications and functionality to be accessed via a wide range of devices.

Commenting on the partnership, Louise Donoghue, Development Manager at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, says “NEC have been the festival’s official IT sponsor for four years and their experience in supplying and managing highly reliable IT infrastructures for prestigious events has been invaluable. EIFF and NEC have built a strong partnership that continues to grow and the specialised team at NEC has offered additional equipment year on year, to meet the needs of the EIFF and to allow our home-grown and international filmmakers access to the latest wireless technology.”

NEC hopes that its partnership with the Edinburgh International Film Festival will remain a long and successful one, and the partnership has recently been short listed for a Scottish arts and business award.