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From Ross Gardler <rgard...@opendirective.com>
Subject Re: Venue visit ApacheCon EU Sinsheim Notes
Date Fri, 03 Aug 2012 13:38:07 GMT

Thanks for summarizing all the various peoples reports in this one mail.

Can I suggest that it is long past time for separating out these
issues and tasking appropriate volunteers for driving things forwards.
We need a planning time. We need regular calls to make sure things are
not being dropped.

I guess what I'm saying is we need a plan (it's great that there is
now information on which we can build this plan - thank you all)


On 31 July 2012 00:31, Nick Burch <nick@apache.org> wrote:
> Hi All
> As people are hopefully aware, several of us visited the ApacheCon Europe
> venue at the end of last week, and had a bit of a planning meeting after.
> This email is an attempt to combine together the notes which were kindly
> typed up by people there. Hopefully it'll largely hang together, despite
> multiple authors, and will make sense and be useful. Here goes....!
> The venue was visited by Nick, Paul Götz (SAP and ASF, ASF id pgoetz),
> Elizabeth Garcia (Lucid Imagination) and Rainer Jung. Paul is our main
> contact into SAP concerning the sponsorship. He took lots photos, some of
> which are already available. The day started at about 9am, and finished
> about 7pm. Was more epic than originally planned... But productive!
> 1) The Arena
> ============
> We got paper floor plans showing some variations of chairs etc. We
> (Paul) will receive those plans in electronic form, and has rough versions
> of them available in the mean time. Paul will also get some picture material
> from them we can use to get a better sense of how the venue looks when setup
> for a conference. but which we should not circulate publicly because of
> copyright.
> There is a German explanation at
> http://www.achtzehn99.de/wirsol-rhein-neckar-arena/
> and a German brochure ate
> http://www.achtzehn99.de/assets/downloads/PDF/lowRZPDFBroschreRNA1899.pdf
> a) Parking
> Since it is a soccer stadium there is lots of (free) parking directly
> attached to the venue.
> There are 4 floors:
> b) Ground Floor
> On the ground floor there is a big open space directly behind the doors.
> The site has furniture to establish a registration and a wardrobe in
> that area. The furniture consists of about 8 cabinets with rolls to move
> them around. They have the right height so you can stand behind them and
> give out stuff to attendees.
> c) First Floor
> The first floor has the biggest "rooms". It is a symmetric design.
> There's a so called "Business Club" (an area with a bar, tables and
> chairs for about 50 people) in the middle between two open stairs and
> the elevators. To the right and the left are two spaces which can be
> used for separate talks. Each of those fits about 200 people without
> tables (only chairs, much fewer with tables). The layout would be about
> 20 chairs times 10 lines.
> There are no real walls between these spaces and the Business Club.
> Partially the spaces are separated from the rest by movable glass walls.
> The people there tell us. that there would be no acoustics problem in
> having concurrent talks in the two spaces.
> The keynote would happen in one of them with sound and projection being
> transmitted to the second one.
> For the conference we would need a bigger projection screen than what is
> installed. For this they have a small setup (one big projection screen)
> and a big setup (two screens, presentation plus e.g. speaker or video).
> The small setup is covered by the quotes we already received (see
> below), the bigger setup is more expensive.
> The floor is very bright and there are curtains to dim it slightly for
> projections.
> d) Second Floor
> Again it is a symmetric design. The floor is a bit smaller than the
> First Floor. In the middle is the so called "Piano Bar" a lounge style
> area for about 30 people to sit. To the right and left are areas for
> about 186 people each (chairs but no tables, otherwise fewer).
> Again the areas to the right and left can be used for talks.
> e) Third Floor
> That floor is primarily meant for catering. There are chairs and tables
> and they can serve meals there.
> There is no ceiling between the talk areas on the second floor and the
> third floor (you can directly look down).
> f) Other Rooms
> Press Room: to the right of the ground floor is a separate room called
> the press room. The room accommodates about 70 people without tables
> (just chairs) and probably about 40 with tables (unconfirmed). See Page
> 7 in the PDF.
> Rhein Neckar Lounge: then there is on the second floor the Rhein Neckar
> Lounge. It is a completely separated room to the right of the floor,
> maybe about 30 meters away. The room has a very slight angle. In the one
> part it can fit 30 people very nicely, if you add the other part you
> could fit 50 people. See pictures Pages 12-13 in the PDF.
> SAP Lounge: and there is the SAP Lounge, which is usually used as a back
> office.
> Small rooms: Finally there are lots of smaller rooms for about 12
> people. We could book some of those in addition to the basic package.
> g) Photos and Floor Plans
> Photos from Paul have been uploaded to
> http://people.apache.org/~pgoetz/aceu2012/ , both as individual files and a
> 250mb zip bundle. The floor plans are due soon, in the mean time the
> printouts we received in person have been scanned and put online.
> In the lobby, there's the fan shop to the left (no pictures), and the press
> room to the right of the entrance hall (see pictures 0xx).
> Level 1 and Level 2 are the main event areas (see the areas marked yellow in
> the Floorplan.pdf, pictures 1xx and 2xx).
> Level 3 is smaller and mostly used for meetings / discussions (see pictures
> 3xx).
> On Level 2, there is the "SAP Loge" (where usually the IT and Orga Team is
> located) and - not shown on the floor plan - the "SAP Lounge", an additional
> room for conferences (see pictures 4xx).
> Paul has tried to mark the view points for the various pictures on the last
> three pages of the PDF.
> Orientation of the floor plan: Top = East, Right = North, Bottom = West,
> Left = South.
> On Level 1, there are two large areas (left/right), which can be separated
> by movable walls. Each of these sections has a capacity for about 200 to 300
> persons, depending on how the seating will be arranged. Other events had a
> setup with about 250 persons/seats on the right area (as key note area),
> using the left area for catering. The area in the middle is for chill out,
> meet & greet, for smaller groups.
> Level 2 has basically the same layout, with about 180 seats capacity per
> area.
> Level 3 could be used for about 70 persons per area, but as you might see
> from the pictures, this level is mainly used for meeting areas and for
> catering. For other events, it has been mostly used for the evening events.
> The press room has a capacity for about 80 persons, the SAP Lounge for about
> 50 persons.
> Nick's assumption was something between 300 and 500 participants per day,
> with 4 or 5 concurrent tracks.
> So we could have registration in the lobby, one track in the press room, the
> largest track + key notes in Level 1 to the right, another track + key note
> video in Level 1 to the left, one track on Level 2, and (depending estimated
> number of participants) the fifth track either in the SAP Lounge or on Level
> 3.
> That would leave pretty much space for meeting in the different lounges and
> catering areas.
> h) What we do / don't get of the venue
> As the Rhein-Neckar-Arena (RNA) Sinsheim is the football stadium of
> "Hoffenheim 1899", parking space is more than we need.
> We will not have access to the entire stadium, only to the main building,
> the "Business Club", which is "Entry West" on the plans above.
> 2) Various Aspects
> ==================
> a) Capacity
> Catering floor and keynote possibilities limit the site to about 450
> attendees, maybe 500. Between the individual track rooms we have more
> capacity, the limits are catering on the 3rd floor and keynotes.
> b) Accessibility
> There are Elevators connecting the central parts of the floors.
> Everything we visited had no steps (as far as I remember).
> c) Smokers
> Smoker have access to balconies inside the stadium.
> d) Power
> The common setup of having tables and power supplied during the talks
> will not work. Usually there's not enough space for tables, and if it
> were, there are not enough floor tanks.
> We think about creating charging areas were we provide a few dozens of
> plugs. Details e.g. maximum current they can provide (= number of plugs)
> need to be checked with the relevant people. This will affect the number of
> charging points we can offer.
> e) Network
> There Wireless everywhere, but details about access points etc. still
> need to be checked. Paul remembered they have an outside bandwidth of
> about 20 MBit/s.
> Wired connectivity could be provided in some special places, eg for speakers
> and for the the chill-out/meetup spaces in the middle of the floors.
> f) Sound
> They provide Microphones, amplification etc.
> g) Audio Recording
> Plugging in our recorders would be possible. Details need to be checked.
> h) Video Recording
> They could provide the service but it is expected to be very expensive.
> They seemed not to be to happy about the option of bringing in some
> external partner for this. Since they didn't see a problem doing it by
> ourselves, there might have been a misunderstanding about external
> partners using the Arena's equipment. Need to clarify.
> i) Evening Hours
> For Evening Events we would at least need to pay for a security person
> near the entrance. It didn't sound like a big problem nor did it sound
> expensive. Having evening events e.g. until 10 p.m. would then be no
> problem, so they don't kick us out early.
> j) Non obvious staff
> They recommend to put some staff at the stairs to guide people.
> k) Signage
> They have electronic displays and could also provide about 10-15 pin
> boards (they want to check the numbers).
> l) Insurance
> We will get the so called AGB (Allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen = basic
> contract rules). We hope we can find out from that what kind of
> insurance is covered.
> 3) Duration of the Conference
> =============================
> The options depend a bit on the soccer schedule. There is set to be a match
> in the stadium either the Sunday before (4th November) or the Friday after
> (9th November), it should become clear in a few weeks which it will be. The
> local club is set to play against Schalke. Depending on that there could be
> an option
> of doing the setup on Sunday and starting the conference on Monday. The
> more likely option is being able to run a hackathon on Monday starting
> not to early (like 11 a.m.), e.g. in the press room, and opening the
> registration also on Monday e.g. at 2 p.m. and starting with the
> conference on Tuesday.
> We need to decide whether we want to have a 3 day plus Hackathon or 4
> day plus Hackathon conference (or another option) and whether we think
> Friday should just be for tear down or a real conference day. Adding a 4th
> day of talks is likely to bump the price up a lot.
> 4) Prices
> =========
> All costs will be in Euros. Registration and Sponsorship will want to be
> collected in Euros too.
> CAUTION: all prizes are given in Euros. During the last 4 months the
> Euro was declining from 1.32 USD to 1.21 USD.
> b) Committer Reception
> The venue people recommended to ask in the nearby museum (one can walk
> by foot):
> http://www.technik-museum.de/en
> http://pdf.technik-museum.de/events-museum-sinsheim-english.pdf
> We went there, but the responsible person didn't have time
> spontaneously. I do have a telephone number and someone is going to give me
> a call on Monday, so that I can report the basic options and conditions.
> Based on that we can hopefully work out what the option is, and how much
> it'll cost, then we can approach potential sponsors.
> We kept this item separate because traditionally we found a sponsor who
> finances it.
> 5) Hotels
> =========
> There are only very few options in Sinsheim itself. Only four hotels
> have more than 10 rooms:
> The biggest Hotel, which is also not very far from the Arena and the
> museum, has about 110 rooms and 218 beds. Of these currently about 90
> rooms are still available for the conference week. Web site:
> http://www.hotel-sinsheim.de/
> Feedback from Elizabeth (who stayed there) was that it was very nice, and
> also has some rooms which could be used for trainings / small events
> before/after.
> Hotel Bär has about 55 rooms and about 80 beds. It is a walk of about 20
> minutes to the Arena.
> http://www.hotel-baer.de/
> Hotel Prinzen has about 17 rooms and 25 beds.
> http://www.sinsheim-hotel-prinzen.de/
> All other Hotels in Sinsheim are smaller than 10 rooms. There are quite a
> number of guesthouses, b&bs etc in Sinsheim. The next village over, Dühren,
> has a couple of hotels in the 50-75 bed range, but it's a bit far to walk.
> b) Options for accommodating everyone
> It's not going to be possible for everyone to stay in Sinsheim, as we're
> planning for a conference of up to 450 people, but there are only about
> 250-300 beds in Sinsheim across the hotels + guest houses.
> People would have to commute to any of the proposed cities. Public transport
> is available. Train e.g. from Heidelberg to Sinsheim is 36 minutes non-stop
> every hour. From Karlsruhe is about 1.5 hours 1-2 train changes, 3 times an
> hour, Mannheim 1 hour 3 minutes, 1 change, once per hour, Heilbronn about 40
> minutes, 1 change, once per hour. So it seems Heidelberg would be the best
> option concerning optimization of commute time. Heidelberg is a touristic
> and university town so in principal should have enough capacity. We have to
> check for other concurrent conferences though. Evening trains to Heidelberg
> are available at 8:51, 9:51 and 11:15, one that takes a bit longer even runs
> at 11:59 (p.m.).
> And: some people will have a car and they have more options. Like booking
> one of the small places in the surroundings of Sinsheim.
> Finally: if we go for students with reduced tickets, then many of those will
> likely come from places in a distance less than an hour driving and will
> stay at home for the nights or belong to the car category.
> I'd say the worst thing about the hotel situation is, that there's no easy
> gathering for everyone for some local bar time in the evening.
> 6) Sinsheim
> ===========
> The town seems very nice, with several different restaurants and bars, lots
> of cafes etc. There's a pedestrianised bit between the station and
> Hauptsrasse. Most of the restaurants / cafes / bars are either on the
> pedestrianised part or along Hauptstrasse. We're not going to fit the whole
> conference into any of them, but groups of 20-30 people looking to do their
> own thing in the evening ought to be just fine.
> Some people seem to think that Sinsheim is just a football stadium and 3
> houses next to a motorway junction. We're going to need to convince them of
> what it's really like!
> The town centre is a 20-25 minute walk from the arena. There are footpaths
> the whole way. Walk wasn't too bad, but it wasn't the 10-15 minutes
> Elizabeth thought...! 20-25 seems a good estimate though.
> There are two railway stations in Sinsheim. The main one in town has more
> trains stopping, including some fast ones, but is 20-25 mins walk. The other
> is nearer the venue, perhaps 10-15 mins walk (we didn't try), but only local
> trains.
> Tourist Information have a brochure of local hotels / guest houses / etc,
> which we have the printed version of. Same info looks to be available on
> their website, need to link to that from the venue details page, along with
> info on the town, hotels etc.
> 7) Some Calculations
> ====================
> 3 different calculations were done, two online and one on paper, to check
> that the numbers added up and that everything was covered. Amazingly, they
> all came out with the same answers! A single version has been uploaded to
> Google docs for ConCom review.
> We produced some numbers for the likely breakdown of attendees at different
> ticket sale levels, 250 / 350 / 450 people. We worked on the basis that at
> 250 people, we'll have a cheaper lunch, and probably only 4 tracks. If we
> get 450 attendees, e.g. sell out, we would go for the higher end food and
> run 5 tracks. This largely gives the same answers for the profit/loss -
> extra people have extra costs, but a little bit left towards more food. The
> likely breakdown was ad-hoc, based on experience and gut feel. It was *not*
> based on numbers from previous ApacheCons, as they were felt to be too
> different.
> 8) Various Aspects
> ==================
> Some aspects have only been shortly discussed.
> a) Track Sponsors
> We talked about Sally's proposed track sponsorship model and it was
> integrated in some of the calculation sheets. There was a question of
> what value the track sponsor gets apart from logo visibility ans whether
> a sponsor should be able to buy all sponsor slots for a track
> (exclusivity, first come first serve).
> There was an expectation, that the track sponsor slots for Big data
> could be sold out, the ones for Lucene/Solr nearly and in addition maybe
> another 4 track day slots. This is not based on known expressions of
> interest, just a gut feeling yet.
> b) Marketing
> - in Germany many IT people watch the Heise Newsletter. There are
> several contacts to heise and we would expect to be able to have at
> least two messages in the Newsletter. An early one and a reminder one
> before the conference. What we would need is a text suggestion.
> - there are lots of Java User Group. We don't know yet whether there is
> a common newsletter or similar.
> - there are a couple of universities around Sinsheim. Mannheim,
> Heidelberg, Karlsruhe and Kaiserslautern. Some of them have lots of
> computer science students.
> - current track descriptions and names work fine internally, but need work
> before we can start selling tickets against them. Elizabeth is going to work
> with the Lucene community to put together something of the required detail /
> level. Will circulate that to the other track chairs, and ask them for
> something similar for them. Need to do this soon.
> c) Apache Office
> There might be additional funds which can be used around the conference
> for Office specific stuff.
> d) Hotel Situation
> We need to provide information on the Wiki. Possible towns are
> - Heidelberg
> - Mannheim
> - Karlsruhe
> - Heilbronn
> - Bruchsal
> The differences are public transportation (duration, frequency), size of
> town (Bruchsal is the smallest, Heilbronn still pretty small etc.),
> Hotel options etc.
> e) Hotel Rooms for TAC
> Nick and me visited the Hotels Klostermühle, Prinzen and Bär.
> Klostermühle didn't look very friendly, is the smallest of those and
> there was no one there to show rooms or give any information. Didn't
> look promising.
> Prinzen looked OK. The guy I'm talked to was a bit complicated. Bär looked
> nice, but was a little bit more expensive.
> We have rough quotes for expected TAC numbers and dates. If we want to cover
> speakers too, we'll need to up those. All hotels visited were in Sinsheim,
> but there are also hotels in the next village (would need a bus), or loads
> in Heidelberg (train). Another email thread for this.

Ross Gardler (@rgardler)
Programme Leader (Open Development)
OpenDirective http://opendirective.com

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