A lack of snow this time last year saved Manitoba Ag Days from spending their budgeted snow removal money in 2018. Those funds were instead invested into upgrading the business/event WiFi system at the Keystone Centre.
Manitoba Ag Days and Westman Communications have partnered with the Keystone Centre to bring the fibre-optic services to the Brandon facility just in time for the 2019 Ag Days event just two weeks away.
General Manager for the Manitoba Ag Days, Kristen Phillips, says it was an easy decision to partner with the Keystone Centre on these upgrades. She adds there was a significant investment made into the upgrade of the entire system by all three partners.
“WiFi has become such an important part of our businesses with today’s websites, social media and payment systems,” she says. “We wanted to make sure that our exhibitors had access to reliable consistent WiFi throughout the show so that they could run their businesses with ease and reliability.”
“The exhibitors will have a dedicated password given to them so that they will be able to carry out the business they need to and want to throughout the show.”
Phillips says they have focused their Ag Days money on the north end of the complex, including the Westoba Ag Centre of Excellence, the barns, the Canada Room and the Canada Room hallway, as that end provided the poorest internet connection. However, improvements were made throughout the entire building.
“The Manitoba Room, the UCT Pavilion and the Brandon Curling Club, all those areas, were very reliable before,” explains Phillips. “They now have been upgraded to fibre-optic as well. So, they will be even better than before.”
The arena already had the fibre-optic service but an additional line has been added to improve the quality of the facility as a whole.
“It’s really hard to replicate Ag Days as there is no other event in the city that brings that much business plus that much metal into the facility with the need to do business,” she says. “So, this year will be our true trial year to see if we need to bring in any extra boosters or any additional technology. But we’re really hoping it will be a major improvement.”
The upgrades also open the door of opportunity for future events that require these services.
General Manager of the Keystone Centre, Jeff Schumacher, says having the improved WiFi system is one more tool in their toolbox of services. “This investment from Manitoba Ag Days will improve their event but also helps us to attract other conventions, tradeshows and major events.”
Manitoba Ag Days is the largest Agriculture Trade Show in Western Canada, attracts thousands of visitors to the Wheat City, and gets underway January 22 till January 24 throughout the Keystone Centre complex.