42nd ASEAN Summit
Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, 10-11 May 2023.
The event technology behind the 42nd ASEAN Summit
The ASEAN Summit is the highest policy-making body in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). It comprises the heads of state or Governments of all ASEAN Member states and aims to promote economic and security cooperation among its ten members.
This year, the 42nd ASEAN Summit was held in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, on the 10th-11th of May 2023. It was chaired by Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia.
The attendees of the meeting include leaders and representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The ASEAN leaders made numerous joint statements and declarations regarding many issues, such as developing the ASEAN Community's post-2025 vision, developing regional electric vehicle ecosystems, advancing regional payment connectivity, protecting migrant workers and family members in crises, health initiatives, etc.
Participating world leaders included:
Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, and Host
Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia
Sonexay Siphadone, Prime Minister of Laos
Anwar Ibrahim, Prime Minister of Malaysia
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, President of the Philippines
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan of Brunei Darussalam
Taur Matan Ruak, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste
Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore
Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand
Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of Vietnam
Setup and Testing:
An event as high-level as the ASEAN Summit requires equipment of the highest quality and reliability. Congress Indonesia was chosen to supply an end-to-end solution that covered conference microphones and interpretation equipment.
During the two-week setup, Technical Producers from Congress Indonesia meticulously checked and tested the conference microphone and interpretation configurations. Ensuring all microphones corresponded to the schematic to suit each leader's position. Throughout that period, different government agencies dropped by to test the system and even an unscheduled visit from the Indonesian President. The technical producers stayed at a hotel directly across from the venue, so they were never too far away and could be on call for impromptu testing.
ASEAN leaders spoke using Bosch Dicentis Wired Conference Microphones. These use internationally recognised encryption and open standard security technology, ultimately assuring the best protection against unauthorised access. They also allow for uncompressed digital audio to be fed straight into the system, meaning latency-free interpretation channels are easily accessible through the unit itself.
Interpreters worked in a nearby room from a remote interpreter hub. The hub had eight side-by-side ISO 4043:2016 compliant soundproof Audipack Interpreter Booths. Each Interpreter, seated in a booth, used a Bosch Dicentis Interpreter Desk and had a live feed of the meeting on the screens through the front window of the booths.
Live simultaneous interpretation was available in 9 Languages. These include English, Filipino, Indonesian, Khmer, Lao, Malay (Malaysia), Malay (Brunei), Vietnamese, and Portuguese.
Each leader could use their provided headphones and select their desired language channel directly from the touch screen of the Dicentis microphone. For delegates that didn't have access to microphones, handheld Bosch Integrus receivers were made available so that they could listen to the interpretation channels too.
With this equipment, each member in the room or leader participating in the meeting could listen and speak in their languages, maintaining seamless multi-lingual communication throughout the meeting.
Every event has its logistical challenges. ASEAN Leaders Summit was no exception. Labuan Bajo is a remote island not accessible by land from Congress' Bali office, meaning necessary equipment had to be prepared and allocated months before the summit's date. The amount of spare equipment increased significantly because of the inability to access additional equipment at short notice. This practice came in handy when required equipment quantities changed, and lighting challenges emerged last minute.
The room's layout changed considerably from the first to the second day. The main meeting was split into two rooms for the second, and all the tables were completely rearranged. Knowing this would happen, Congress' technicians planned a cable arrangement that was versatile enough for a wide range of different microphone positions. The layout had to be changed in only a couple of hours through midnight, meaning the technicians had to be quick on their feet and ready. Extensive pre-planning of different potential radiator positions ensured a quick and smooth transition while maintaining an optimal signal.
With a high-level event like the ASEAN Summit, security is a prominent feature. Military and presidential guard occupied almost all sections of the considerably small building. The venue was on lockdown during the President's visit, including rehearsals. There was no moving in and out, so all the equipment, including spares, had to be on-site. Signal jamming is always expected at an event like this. There was the potential that this could interrupt the meeting. Considerable communication between the Congress team, venue team and presidential guard ensured that jammers were moved to locations that would not impact the meeting's equipment.
The biggest trial was the room itself. With all the blinds open, excessive sunlight challenged the infrared system. This issue was compounded when additional truss-mounted lighting was added to compensate for the backlight from the windows. Congress Indonesia countered all the lighting interference by adding more radiators than they had initially planned to use, adjusting the position and angle of the radiators, optimising the signal, and effectively eliminating the interference.
The technical outcome of the 42nd ASEAN Summit was a successful meeting with seamless communication and no major issues reported.
"Without smooth communication, the summit wouldn't have run well. The outcome was the result of close collaboration with all the vendors involved."
- Paula Luciana, Event Producer - Congress Indonesia
With our experience delivering the G20 Leaders Summit last year, we were very confident in our ability to deliver on ASEAN, it was an outstanding experience all round."
- Adan Yogi, Operations Manager - Congress Indonesia