Although organisers won't spill the beans officially for another week, Computerworld understands Telecom will be named the telecomms provider for the APEC conference, with Vodafone providing additional services.
APEC organisers say the final stages of the contract are still being negotiated. However, "it will be with one provider, but will involve dealing with another provider as well", according to APEC media facilities director Tom Bridgeman.
Bridgeman says this is because the different economies and delegations will bring their own cellphones and, regardless of their type of technology APEC has to ensure there are service providers who can service their requirements. Bridgeman says APEC is dealing primarily with one provider and it's up them to get in other service providers they need.
Telecom would need to work with an organisation like Vodafone, as many of the delegations coming to New Zealand will want to use their existing cellphones via global roaming on the GSM network, and Vodafone has roaming agreements with many countries.
Bridgeman says the key issue in selecting a telecomms company was risk management.
"We estimated what the loadings would be on the cellphone structures on the networks at the time, and we had to ensure that we were dealing with providers who had the ability to handle those particular loadings … We just really wanted to make sure that the New Zealand network and the New Zealand cellphone system would be able to take the loading that we required ... You don't want your phone system failing while APEC's on."
Bridgeman says APEC had to go through quite a lot of detail with various providers about capacity issues. The biggest challenge has been getting a clear picture of the scope and scale of what will be dealt with.
"One of the problems is that we won't really know until much closer to the event itself what those requirements really are."
Bridgeman expects the media will have some complex requirements.
"We've already had a visit by at least one of the major international agencies and they're now talking to the telecommunications provider about their data requirements."
On the IT side, one of the challenges was having to be live last December.
APEC IT director Jamie Tevendale says the problem with that was trying to make design decisions so far in advance of when some of the things were going to be used, and trying to second-guess the way people would want the systems.
An agreement has been signed with Wang to produce the software to support the running of APEC. Tevendale says APEC looked at many conference management software solutions, but none met its -requirements. Wang has built the core -functionality of a conference management system.
Bridgeman says while there is some cutting edge technology used in the Wang solution, the aim for the conference is just to do everything well — it's not the time to experiment. Says Tevendale: "We cannot afford to be right out on the bleeding edge, high-risk area. We need to be innovative and to do the job well, but at the same time be within acceptable norms of risk."
Bridgeman says it's the scale of the event that makes it remarkable, not new technologies.
He says the best thing that could happen is that people make no comment about the technology behind the conference, because it runs so smoothly.