One of the likely positive outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic (and there will be positive impacts) is the recognition that digital communications—and streaming video, specifically—have far more widespread applications than we ever imagined.
When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade, they say. That’s exactly what many of our event clients are doing as they consider new and novel ways to keep the show going despite bans on people physically gathering in large numbers.
Coronavirus Impact on Events Around the Globe
Concerns about the impact of the coronavirus in the United States heated up early this year as several events around the country were cancelled or postponed. South by Southwest (SXSW), an event that draws in tens of thousands of participants annually, was one of the first to announce a cancellation.
A March 4 article in The Wall Street Journal indicated that at least 440 trade shows and exhibitions had been cancelled in Asia, Europe and North America, representing “millions of lost visits and tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue.”
Many industries are, and will continue to be, impacted. For some, though, there are opportunities to leverage technology like Mediasite to keep the event on the calendar.
Mediasite Offers Options to Help the Show Go On
Mediasite Events works with clients around the world to deliver hundreds of thousands of hours of content to remote attendees for everything from one-hour town hall meetings to multi-day events with 50+ breakout rooms. The team’s focus: live streaming, content capture, content management and content delivery – all in a seamless online event experience.
As the coronavirus continues to impact the ability of people to gather in-person, technology offers ample opportunity to think creatively about how to make sure the show goes on.
For example, after the Puerto Rico earthquake in January, the Mediasite Events team helped one client livestream a sales kickoff meeting that had been scheduled in Puerto Rico. Instead, they livestreamed the event from South Carolina. People watched the event from wherever they were; the Miami airport, their home offices and the company’s headquarters.
So, what’s your next step if you’ve just learned that your planned in-person meeting will need to be handled virtually? Or what if you have attendees still interested in getting together for the live event, but you’re trying to impact a drop-off you’ve seen in attendance by offering other options?
Your Number One Focus: Quality Content
Whether live or virtual, or a hybrid of the two, your number one concern as an event planner is the quality of the content you will be offering your attendees. For virtual, or hybrid events, that means that you want to approximate to the extent you can, the live experience with the virtual experience. That means thinking of the experience from the attendee’s point-of-view.
Your virtual attendee doesn’t benefit much from a live shot of the speaker in front of a screen. You can hear the speaker but unless you have a handout handy you can’t see the slides. And, even with a handout, moving your attention back and forth from the streaming video can be distracting and annoying.
Fortunately, there are some options for content delivery that can ensure that the experience for remote viewers will be on par with those attending in person.
Considerations in Delivery Options
As we’ve already discussed, simply planning to run a video at a live event while a speaker is on stage is not likely to provide a high qualify experience for remote attendees. There are other ways, though, that you can boost the quality of the experience — and even provide additional options not available to those attending in-person. Things like:
- A livestream of the presenters on stage, at a podium or a conference table
- A PowerPoint presentation overlaid with audio of the presenter
- Links—to research reports, for instance, or other background documents of interest to your audience
- Interactivity by allowing participants to ask questions or participate in polls
- Closed-captioning to make your event more accessible
- A recording of the event. In this case, you might also choose to record and share Q&A. Recordings also allow viewers to search for specific information they’re interested in: maybe they attended the live event and want to re-listen to a specific point a speaker made.
- Speed control — Those attending virtually and viewing a recorded presentation can adjust the playback speed. And, of course, they’re always able to go back to relisten to portions of the presentation again.
- Sharing and security levels – this allows you to determine whether the content can be shared with others and who has access.
What about sponsors and exhibitors? There are ways to get them in on the action too.
- Sessions presented by sponsors can be linked in the Mediasite Player.
- Within the Mediasite player you can provide speaker bios and other sponsorship information.
All of these options are just that — options. You can choose to use none, some or all of the features available through Mediasite depending on your own, your presenters’ and your audiences’ preferences.
Seamless Access Through Mediasite Connect
Another important consideration for users is the ease with which they can access sessions — whether live or on-demand.
Mediasite Connect offers the ability to brand a site with your conference information and logo and load all of your content into a microsite. Send users a link for one-click access to the information they need.
It’s all about making it simple and very easy for your attendees so that whether they’re attending live, viewing the livestreamed event or accessing the recording on-demand they have a simple and seamless experience.
When you use Mediasite Connect you can choose from a variety of customizable options all designed to provide a very similar feel to YouTube. For example:
- Add a chat feature that allows people to post comments and responses whether watching live or on-demand
- Integrate with your ecommerce platform to sell tickets to the event; if you don’t have an ecommerce platform, Mediasite Events can help you work directly with its ecommerce partners—in either case the revenue all goes to you
Here’s a two-minute video about how a virtual meeting works with Mediasite Events.
That’s all it takes. Don’t waste another day worrying about how you’ll get your content in front of your audience whether it’s because of the coronavirus outbreak or simply to offer attendees more options to help boost overall participation.
No matter where your audience is or where your presenters are, Mediasite Events can help.
Ready to re imagine your next event virtually? Get started here.