The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort hosts first paperless conference

The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort in Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire has hosted the hotel group's first-ever paperless event.

The annual National Information Security Conference (NISC) addresses security and cyber issues and explores the latest technology trends. Each year it takes place in the Scottish countryside at The Westerwood, which has seven state-of-the-art conference and meetings rooms, offering flexible space for exhibitors and up to 180 delegates.

For the 2015 event, conference organisers Sapphire wanted to take a completely new approach that would significantly reduce carbon emissions and create a more technologically-advanced event. 

Glasgow has been running a green initiative to make the city one of the most sustainable in Europe and Sapphire had this in mind when planning the event.

Annabel Berry, Chief Executive of Sapphire, said: "We were inspired by Glasgow's 'Green in 2015' initiative, but we also wanted to take an innovative approach to this year's conference and appeal to an audience of IT security professionals."

Sapphire developed a new application for mobiles and tablets, replacing all paper-based collateral at the event.

The bespoke NISC app gave the attendees access to an online agenda, speaker information and biographies, along with a map of The Westerwood's exhibition hall, which allowed them to select exhibitors of interest and plan their route. Delegates could track their sessions, create an event schedule and receive real-time notifications of any changes.

Annabel said: "The app not only offered a completely new and innovative experience for delegates, but it protected the environment and delivered a huge amount of time-savings, at no additional cost versus previous conferences."

The Westerwood's  upgraded Wi-Fi service helped make the event possible, offering a dedicated bandwidth of up to 90Mbs - five times faster than the average UK broadband - and 500 simultaneous connections for organisers and delegates, who required internet access throughout the day.

Annabel added: "The Westerwood's Wi-Fi gave us the added confidence that the technology would run smoothly. We wouldn't have been able to provide such a technologically-advanced event without the support of a robust internet connection."

The Westerwood was also able to offer Sapphire insight into the success of the conference as it happened. As part of QHotels' 'Brainwaves' study, a number of organisers, speakers and delegates at the conference were fitted with the latest hi-tech EEG (electroencephalogram) headsets that use sensitive pads to monitor brainwave activity. This captured when delegates' concentration levels began to drop and when stress levels were at their highest, giving The Westerwood and Sapphire further insight into how the paperless conference had been received by delegates and speakers alike.

Paul Bray, General Manager at The Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort, added: "The paperless conference was a huge success, providing an efficient, engaging and environmentally-friendly way of delivering a large-scale event.

"It can be challenging for us - as the venue - to engage directly with delegates during an event, but the NISC app also gave us a platform to send regular updates from the event hosts and interactive content, such as images of our chefs at work in the kitchen. This helped bring attendees, organisers and the venue teams together to create a holistic event experience."

For more information and contact details visit the Westerwood Hotel page on VenuesLanarkshire.