Over the years, just like with every branch of human activity, the meetings industry has also changed and progressed. The continuity of the process and its development is not disrupted even today; together we have all witnessed the powerful impact of modern technologies and new communication channels on many aspects of business events. The impact of Facebook and Twitter, or for example, livestreaming or a regular Skype to the conference organisation, to efficiency of the conference and to participant’s costs are so strong that changes take place even to those components for which we were sure it would remain unchanged forever. Changes initiated partialy by technology have been affecting even these “forever cemented” postulates. For example an attendee can participate at a round table even if he’s thousands of miles away! Or today the audience will be an important co-author in creating the content of the conference, so it will sweep that hard Maginot line between the stage and the first row of seats, between the speaker and the audience.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”500px” height=”” background_color=”#edf1d5″ border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Video streaming for the dislocated: “It will affect the attendance of the event” is the most common concern I hear when it comes to video-streaming from the conference and when it comes to modern technology at the event. However, this is not true. Video streaming is designed for those people who certainly wouldn’t come into the hall that day because of the remote location, because of personal schedule, because of cost or other reasons. Modern technologies will give the opportunity to the dislocated ones to participate in the conference. [/dropshadowbox]
The audience becomes co-author
Since the area of my business interest is for some time now closely related to the technical solutions of the events, from that position I would try to prove thesis mentioned above. Perhaps it would be best to take a real example, through one corporate event held this spring in Croatia’s Istria. It must be said that this is a client who has modern views and a well-perceived potential of new technologies. We upgraded its conference on a number of specific services, using sophisticated technology and of course the knowledge and experience we gained on previous projects.Using social networks – Twitter, Facebook and to some extent Instagram, we have achieved interaction at the event, as well as greater outreach with messages from the event. Along with the help of video streaming, those people that could not be at the location that day could still have the opportunity to participate in the conference. Here’s the exact purpose. Here’s what we exactly did.
The client first agreed to increase the number of audiences in the way that he hired us for video production and live broadcast on their own websites. Streaming was also placed on several popular local business portals, which is why the audience soon far outweighed the number of filled chairs in the hall. It can be said that the event at that moment came out of the four walls of the hall and we could put a checkmark beside goal: greater reach. A clear proof is the line with running text was fully loaded at thebottom of the live videos and a very active chat window near the video player, in which participant’s and watcher’s comments has been shown- grouped under the #hash tag of the conference.Then we put a check mark at the end of the second objective: interactivity. Communication went one level up once the moderator in the hall read some of the questions generated by the aforementioned chat.This produced a desired discussion, with which we achieved our third objective: the creation of a joint conference. The audience partially take over the role of the organizer and directly influenced the content of the event and in doing so we have created a win-win situation: the speakers could answer exactly those issues that interested the audience. And those were the answers that every organiser and visitor of the conference wanted.
Interactivity and multimedia
At another conference, in terms of interactivity, we went a step further. In addition to the hall in Zagreb and individual viewing over the internet, the video streaming was accompanied by five groups of participants gathered in five major Croatian cities. We join representatives of the groups to the live streaming one by one, showing it’s video and audio to the audience. In this way we connected Zagreb with five distant locations from which an interesting story, question or comment was seen and heard. This is a clear example of a situation in which the user/participant creates content of the event with technology.In addition to interactivity, technology at conferences affects another very important aspect: content popularity. The tool used to attract the attention of the audience is technology that ultimately produces an appealing combination of text, image, audio and video experience, which we call “multimedia”. I like to say that multimedia is a steroid for interesting content that you present.
Speaking of multimedia elements we all understand the impact, such as good illumination or ambient music in space, and very often we were faced with PowerPoint slides, usually full of attractive visual content. With the development of Internet infrastructure, live streaming more and more makes its mark. In attracting attention, we don’t have to spend a lot of time for the power of moving images (video), but I would mention in this sphere yet another remarkable and still relatively fresh solution – the so-called holographic projection. The organisers decide to use them during the presentation of new products, services or an important campaign, some of the key conclusions of a study or glossy annual results. In the hall with special lighting prepared for projection, special devices generate the hologram in the middle of the stage, with no visible screen (using a special transparency film), but in fact with 3D illusion and audio-visual effects like teleporta- tion and radiant time travel known to us from Star Trek. The organisers can count on the full attention of the audience.
New technology produces more positive effects
With a such small tricks, with the support of high-quality professionals and the right technology, the organiser has a great opportunity to present even the most monotonous presentation in a way that every participant will follow it with great attention. I strongly believe that messages sent from the conferences having at least some of the above mentioned modern elements, will make deeper impression on the audience and will annul number of “backside-sleepers”. And isn’t this the primary goal of every event?! Despite all the fantastic resources offered by modern technology, the condition to operate with it is of course the human factor. Readiness of the organisers to introduce technology without fear that it will significantly deprive another segment of the event is important.Also his courage to open the “ether” of the conference, even to those participants from the audience who were not included and planned as speakers. On the other hand, the willingness of the public to cooperate and interact is also very important. Keep in mind that “human factor” is just one prerequisite; a certain knowledge/experience in the use of new technologies is required also.
Karlo Dževerlija is the Business Development manager at Streaming.hr, the multiple award-winning services for supporting congress events and other industries that require modern video and IT services. Solutions are united in a common package with IT solutions management on the web by the turnkey system. Streaming.hr is located in the Adria region, and is involved in projects throughout Europe and beyond (Austria, Brazil, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Turkey, Croatia, Serbia,…)