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August 12, 2009
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Advanced electrical system offers major benefits to organisers and exhibitors at the NEC




A revolutionary, computer-aided system designed by the NEC to provide exhibitors with faster, more efficient installation of their stand electrics has been used to its full potential for the first time at the Birmingham venue.
 
The first installation of its kind at a UK exhibition venue, the pioneering £5 million Plug and Play system marks a change in both the reliability and efficiency of this vital exhibitor service, providing computer control over an exhibition’s full electrical installation and requirement. Power can be made available for immediate use, and can be adjusted at the touch of a button, without interruption to the existing supply.
 
Since its installation in August 2008, Plug and Play has provided power for all exhibitions staged at the NEC. However, its capabilities and benefits for exhibitors have never been fully explored, as it requires contractors to implement changes to the way they work.
 
Sign & Digital UK, organised by Faversham House, was the first exhibition to fully utilise the system’s complete range of benefits, with exhibitors able to draw power directly from ‘live’ plugs located in the NEC halls’ services ducts.
 
Electrical contractors Bill Moule & Sons, which provided stand wiring services to Sign & Digital UK, were the first to unlock the full potential of Plug and Play in terms of cost and time-savings, through the use of its modular, pre-tested Connecta system, linking exhibition stands directly to the live sockets in the ducts.

Describing the use of Plug and Play as its “smoothest and most efficient build up of an exhibition” by Paul Moule, managing director of Bill Moule & Sons, he added that his company was able to offer a much faster installation, with more than 100 mains connected in just two hours.
 
“The full use of the NEC’s Plug and Play system can offer a considerable number of additional benefits for all of our customers,” said Kathryn James, managing director of the NEC.
 
“While the full integration of this system will require changes to be made to suppliers’ existing equipment, following the success of this test with Bill Moule & Sons, we are hopeful that Plug and Play will be recognised as beneficial and forward-facing, and will be seen as the industry standard in the coming years.”
 
Amanda Barnes, chief executive of Faversham House Group, decribed the facility as “a fantastic benefit to our exhibitors”.

“It helps us offer an even better exhibitor experience,” she added. “On a show like Sign & Digital, where there is heavy electrical usage for digital equipment, it is of paramount importance to our exhibitors that power is delivered efficiently with the minimum of delay. Our exhibitors have been delighted with the level of service they have received and we have had far fewer issues, making this one of our smoothest ever build-ups.

“We are one of only four companies in the country, and the first exhibition organiser, to have achieved accreditation under the BS 8901 Sustainable Event Management Standard, and this new, more sustainable way of handling our electrics on site fits exactly with our drive to make our events ever more sustainable.”
 
The event’s health and safety officer, John Revington, was also impressed, commenting: “The level of integration of this new system represents a massive step forward in the safe operation of the electrical systems at exhibitions.”


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