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UIT Powers Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Months of preparation and support pay off in successful international event
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

As one of the world’s great innovation laboratories, Stanford was a natural choice for President Barack Obama when considering where to host the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

From June 22 to 24, the Summit brought approximately 1,500 entrepreneurs, investors, presenters, journalists, and U.S. government officials to The Farm, including Facebook and Google giants Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai who joined Obama on stage as panelists.

Behind the scenes, University IT (UIT) powered this important and highly visible event with technology services and support for the numerous keynotes, workshops, panel discussions, and hands-on training sessions that took place.


UIT provided a network connection to a Google Portal, which was set up near Ford Plaza. The Google Portal enabled video conferencing with entrepreneurs from around the world, and was visited by Secretary of State John Kerry.

UIT delivered reliable IT infrastructure

In the months leading up to the event, a team from UIT partnered with Stanford’s Office of Special Events & Protocol and the U.S. State Department to plan and prepare the IT services that would be necessary to support it.

“UIT met all the requirements presented by the U.S. State Department and its two subcontractors. Though those requirements were constantly evolving and sometimes last minute, our team rose to the occasion extremely well and came up with some very creative solutions to obstacles along the way,” said Matthew Ricks, UIT’s Director of IT Facilities Management and Business Continuity Management.

UIT service highlights

Among the services UIT delivered for the event were:

Fiber circuits

  • Fiber circuits installed in various locations throughout campus supported the video production master control room in Memorial Auditorium. This is where all live video was captured, processed, and streamed to the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. and uploaded to YouTube.

Indoor, outdoor, and augmented Wi-Fi


Temporary wireless access points were installed on lampposts around Ford Plaza, the main outdoor venue for the event.

  • Indoor, outdoor, and augmented Wi-Fi set up throughout campus supported U.S. State Department and White House press correspondents, those in the Press Filing Center and registration tents, and virtually all event participants.

Cable TV service

  • Six cable TV boxes at Erickson Courts enabled the press to view broadcast TV in the Press Filing Center.

Network connections

  • UIT expanded the networks at Encina Hall, Ford Plaza, and Memorial Auditorium to support the 50-plus U.S. State Department staff in the weeks leading up to the event. Additionally, the team provided multiple network connections to two Google Portals — global video conferencing set up outside Ford Plaza and in Memorial Auditorium — that enabled event participants, including President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, to interact with entrepreneurs at locations around the world.

Phone lines

  • Multiple phone and data lines installed at Memorial Auditorium and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) allowed event staff to make and receive calls at their command posts. The lines were also used by White House Communications and the U.S. Secret Service to support the president’s visit.

Building access cards

  • Eighty-two building access cards enabled the U.S. State Department staff to access secure buildings as they prepared and set up the event.


President Obama joined Google CEO Sundar Pichai to virtually meet entrepreneurs around the world, using the Google Portal in Memorial Auditorium and the network connections provided by UIT. Photo credit: Aaron Kehoe/ Stanford News Service.

"The University IT team was amazing," said Elaine Enos, Executive Director of Stanford's Office of Special Events & Protocol. "There were so many moving parts, late additions, and last minute changes to this event that needed their attention and a flexible approach. The team was supportive, communicative, and creative in finding solutions to the various requests and challenges that came their way. The event would not have succeeded without their dedicated and knowledgeable support of Stanford and the Global Summit."

Learn more

Now in its seventh year, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit focuses on putting the world’s leading entrepreneurs together to work towards solving some of the biggest global challenges and advancing stability, development, and peace.

For more information, visit the Summit website.

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