Technology has evolved over many years initially there were basic forms of communication including email and notices posted on websites. As software platforms developed rudimentary planning tools evolved that allowed venue hire, travel bookings, accommodation bookings, audio-visual and other associated elements of a conference to be controlled. It became possible to forecast budgets and control expenditures enter determine whether a conference or event was profitable or not. Progressively this moved to incorporate communication platforms such a Zoom that allowed individuals and groups to collaborate via the Internet.
Technology development progression moved relatively slowly in the conference industry until 2020 and the pandemic when suddenly the need to communicate virtually became essential. 2020 saw a rapid escalation in the development of virtual conference platforms and the technology that supports them. In the absence of unrestricted travel, unlimited gatherings and unpredictable government regulations new features have been added to event platforms that allow not only conference construction but the functionality to communicate and manage teams remotely, advertise and sell tickets to the public and deliver interesting content across the Internet to a wide spectrum of viewers. New ways had to be found to record speaker content and place that into a traditional looking programme. Sponsors needed to be accommodated and material assembled so that it could be not only live streamed but stored for post event on demand viewing all at a time when revenue was falling and the sponsor dollar decreasing.
The Jigsaw Puzzle
A lot of the attempts to modify and enhance existing conference management platforms have ended up in systems that require conference organisers to use a combination of software programmes, this is particularly the case in the recording of speaker content and the management of associated material. It is not uncommon to record a speaker using one system, download the content and then upload it into another system along with documentation and images. The optimum event technology platform allows you to do this seamlessly at the click of a button saving both time for the speaker and reducing costs for the organiser. The Virtual Conference Network VCN has achieved this.
Key Event Technology Requirements
The technology components should support an end-to-end solution commencing with the creation of the basic conference format all the way through to storage of conference content and the availability of it four on demand post event viewing. Such a solution not only assists in the coordination of all aspects but reduces costs and maximises ticket sales over an extended period of time.
So what are the core elements that you should look for in an efficient seamless end-to-end event technology platform?
1. Preliminary Planning
The platform should include the ability to commence with naming your conference and describing some of the basic areas it will cover. This should automatically trigger the option of creating a URL for use in promoting and constructing the conference.
2. Event Website
The event website is a marketing tool that also acts as a landing page when the conference organiser communicates by email to potential attendees. It should contain information including speakers programme and ticket availability and permit ticket purchases to connect directly with the payment platform.
3. Integrated Payment Platform
Integrated payment options should be available for individuals wishing to purchase tickets. Payment should trigger an automatic registration process that takes registrants through to their own conference dashboard.
As a registrant completes their personal details, they should be presented with their own dashboard which not only provides them with details of the programme segments purchased but also a record of the activity on the site in respect to segments and the ability to download invoices fully events they have paid for. The conference organiser should have the ability to communicate with registrants via their dashboard
At all stages through the conference construction, marketing, execution and follow up there should be integrated methods by which organisers and other members can not only market the event, communicate with team members but follow up with potential registrants who may not have yet registered.
6. Sponsor engagement
Sponsors are an important part of any event particularly at times when revenue streams harder to generate. An end-to-end platform will have sponsor options inbuilt and methods by which organisers can offer attractive sponsorship options throughout their programme.
7. Presenter recording
This is an area where most systems are quite complicated, however, they don’t need to be. VCN’s recording system enables presenters to record from anywhere in the world on their own device and at the click of a button upload the content together with documents, presentations, images and BIOS that are automatically placed within predetermine conference slots in the programme. It is done in such a way that organisers only need to check that content has been uploaded. The content can be edited or deleted at any time.
8. Live Streaming
In the world of virtual conferences hybrid events have become standard with the majority of organisers requiring an element of live content together with the recording and storage of that content for post event on demand viewing. The technology on the event platform should permit both live streaming and prerecorded content to be played simultaneously and for interaction to be facilitative for viewers in the form of Q&A sessions, questions, polls and live feedback.
9. Professional Accreditation
Technology should be present that tracks viewer statistics on an individual level and also audits the extent to which the content has been viewed. Fast forwarding should be able to be detected and reports generated for the conference owner to enable them to issue continuing education points.
10. Be in control at all times – Individual Dashboards
The organiser and designated team members should be able to access their own dashboards that have real-time statistics and information reflecting the progress and sales of their conference.
11. Event Feedback
Vital to every conference organiser. Feedback can cover many areas including financial, viewing analytics, content appreciation, speaker reception , sponsor interactions and much more all of which provide valuable insights for future events.
The above technology elements represent the core requirements for a successful events, however, there are two other important features to bear in mind, they are;
Ease of Use
Not only should the platform be easy to use for the organiser, but it is essential that all who interact with the conference through that platform have an enjoyable and easy experience. having the right technology goes a long way to ensuring a successful result.
Seamless Attendee Experience
Experience that attendees enjoy and the content you deliver are the keys to ongoing success of your future events. Informative and enjoyable sessions that are well organised and seamless outweigh any attempts to hold attention through gimmicks and irrelevant content.