RDS chief can’t guarantee Web Summit’s future here

The RDS is open to relinquishing control over the provision of wifi at next year’s Web Summit but cannot guarantee that the event will remain in Ireland, according to the venue’s chief executive, Michael Duffy.

Mr Duffy said he could guarantee that both the RDS and Web Summit organisers would work together to try to find a satisfactory resolution to the issue but warned he could not guarantee that the massive technology conference wouldn’t leave the country.

“We can provide absolute assurance that we will do everything we can with the Web Summit organisers to ensure that any of the technical difficulties are worked on together in partnership,” Mr Duffy told Morning Ireland.

“I don’t think anyone can provide a guarantee if the Web Summit people want to provide their own IT, we’re completely open to that and we’ve explained that to the Web Summit people.”

He said the issue was not unique to the RDS but was a facet of conferences on the scale of the summit.

The event was dogged by persistent connectivity issues over the three days with parts of the Simmonscourt centre — where both the centre stage and media centre were located — worst hit throughout the week.

The failure of the network to accommodate the volume of users was a source of frustration to many of those in attendance at the event — particularly co-founder Paddy Cosgrave, who openly criticised the RDS on numerous occasions over the three-day event.

Mr Duffy played down the extent of the issue, however, saying that wifi was available across most of the venue for the duration of the conference.

“Across the RDS, you actually had something like 9,500 people on the system; you had something like 24,000 devices on the system,” he said.

During the conference, Mr Cosgrave indicated that global networking equipment manufacturer Cisco had previously indicated a willingness to assume control of wifi at the Web Summit.

When contacted by the Irish Examiner, Cisco declined to comment on the issue but highlighted the success of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year at which Cisco’s wifi network connected more than 80,000 attendees.


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