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Walter E. Washington Convention Center

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is a 2,300,000-square-foot complex located on 17 acres across six city blocks in downtown Washington, DC, and operated by the Washington Convention & Sports Authority. Completed in 2003, it is one of the nation’s ten largest convention centers, and was the site of Inaugural Balls for President George W. Bush in 2005 and President Barack Obama in 2009 and 2013, President Obama’s International Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, and numerous technical expositions such as the annual FOSE Convention held at the Convention Center each year since 2003.

Project Overview

Washington Convention CenterDuring construction planning, the Convention Center’s governing authority awarded the Technology Services Provider (TSP) contract to Dynamic Concepts Inc. (DCI) and its joint-venture partner, SmartCity Networks, a technology and telecommunications firm focusing on the trade show and events industry.

In an innovative approach, the SmartCity/DCI team provided an initial capital investment of more than $3 million (including labor) in exchange for the longterm “revenue share” concession contract which designates SmartCity/DCI as the exclusive vendor, manager, and operator of the technology infrastructure.

During construction, DCI was responsible for building and installing a sophisticated voice and data communications system and having it fully and successfully operating in time for the Grand Opening in early 2003. SmartCity provided overall design and network planning. DCI continues to provide technical support for the voice and data networks.

DCI Products and Services Used

The Convention Center houses a distributed fiber optic and copper cable infrastructure that services 120 Intermediate Distribution Frames to provide state-of-the-art voice and data services throughout the facility, including cyber cafés.

DCI was tasked with the initial build-out and project management of the system and coordinated construction activities with the General Contractor and the Center’s governing authority. DCI provided management and installation services during construction and continues to deliver operations and maintenance support. On average, DCI annually installs 14,000 feet of fiber, 40,000 feet of copper and 12,000 feet of coaxial cable at the Convention Center.

Innovative Solutions – DCI/SmartCity designed and implemented an innovative solution to a problem that threatened the Convention Center’s ability to connect its Public Safety 800 MHz Network to DC Fire and Federal networks. When the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority chose not to allow Convention Center access to connect to the WMATA access points – fearing degradation of its own Metrorail public safety system – DCI devised a wireless alternative, using bi-directional amplifiers and an antenna on the Convention Center roof, then running a fiber extension to the underground Metrorail system to connect with the DC Fire Public Safety Radio System network.

Special Events – DCI/SmartCity provides communications technology support to approximately 2,000 show personnel and Convention Center employees during more than 100 large shows annually. The largest and most complex require the installation – and subsequent dismantling – of complete temporary fiber networks to support the show. DCI consistently meets the challenge of installing up to 1,100 feet of fiber and connecting some 200 telephones and video streaming within ten working days or less.

Green Technology & Efficiency – As an Authorized Installer of Air Blown Fiber (ABF), DCI’s certified technicians install ABF conduit and cables to maximize Green Building efforts, space utilization, and cost efficiency.

On-Going Services – DCI/SmartCity provides the Convention Center with 24x7 operations, maintenance, quality control, record-keeping, and installation services for the following systems:

  • Data Network System - Cisco-based Gigabit Ethernet Network servicing over 100 switches;
  • Wireless Local Area Network (LAN) – WiFi 802.11b standard, with 24x7 local and remote monitoring, redundancy and disaster recovery;
  • In-House Radio System (UHF);
  • Voice Services – Nortel Option 81C;
  • Electronic switching systems and equipment;
  • Power supply; and
  • Video transmission equipment.

DCI places strong emphasis on constant monitoring of quality control measures and preventive maintenance schedules and inspections to ensure compliance with applicable warranty requirements.