Road to WinDays
Photo credit: WinDays

The first Road to WinDays was broadcast from WinDays studios in Zagreb’s Mozaik Event Center. The online program included three lectures and a roundtable from the studio on relevant topics from the meetings industry. Road to WinDays was available for live streaming on Facebook and YouTube and was followed live by 1.152 participants, who were able to ask the lecturers and panellists questions live.

The program dealt with current problematics such as the durability of IT systems, security in working from home and artificial intelligence, and ended with a panel discussion on the future of the meetings industry. Ilija Ranogajec from Span was one of the speakers who explained how IT systems survived the lockdown. He went on to discuss that IT systems were established enough and ready for a corona crisis, but Internet providers were not ready for the amount of traffic we generated from home. Igor Pavleković from Microsoft warned about the most common types of security attacks and advised how to recognize them and protect yourself. He pointed out that statistically, out of a million e-mails processed by Microsoft, 60.000 contained malicious code related to COVID-19. He warned that to work from home securely, companies need to provide remote access to applications, manage devices and applications, and protect corporate resources. Filip Glavota dealt with artificial intelligence from the perspective of an “ordinary mortal”. He cited several interesting examples of the application of artificial intelligence: OpenAI trained a robotic arm to learn how to compose a Rubik’s cube and generated a model that could compose text on its own (after learning to write, studying 8 million texts).

Globally the key question is how to monetize virtual events

The panel entitled Physical, hybrid and virtual events – what is the future of the meetings industry was moderated by Tomislav Tipurić from Nephos and joined by Ivan Burazin from Shift Conference, Željko Krizmanić from Eventa01, Tea Krpan from the Mozaik group and Igor Pavleković. They discussed that virtual events posed several challenges to organizers and required a number of adjustments, and globally the key question is how to monetize them. Virtual events lack human contact and socializing, and content is consumed differently. This means there is room and a need to devise new approaches that will try to make up for these shortcomings and allow for more interaction and engagement of participants. Despite the numerous challenges discussed, the panel ended in a positive tone, concluding that every crisis encourages us to reconsider and devise new ways of working, so maybe a Croatian company will grab this opportunity and create software for events that everyone lacks.

We need new approaches for participant engagement and interaction

The second Road to WinDays was set to take place in early September. Since it is impossible to predict the public health situation so much in advance the organizer has decided that, if a live gathering will not be possible, the conference will be held in full online, with the full program and more than 100 lectures. The conference, live or virtual, will take place from 28 September to 1 October 2020. Registration for the conference is open online at www.windays.hr/prijava.