Hybrid Events must be interactive and engaging…

Live streaming, video conferencing, webinars, hybrid events…

These terms all mean something a little different, and we’ve covered the differences in the past. Is largely semantics really, the most important thing is the way in which we decide on our platform of choice.

There are a number of elements to a live video / hybrid events. First, there is the on-site element. This includes the PA system and screens like normal but also now we introduce the video cameras etc.

Secondly, we need to take the video, slides, and audio from the room and send it to the internet. Potentially, we also need to take video, slides, audio and more from the internet and present it back to our audience in the room. That’s the key to being interactive and engaging our audiences, both in the room and online.

Thirdly, the content that we’ve sent to the internet needs to actually make it into the offices and homes of our online participants and vice versa and for this we need a platform. Some live streaming platforms might include Facebook Live, YouTube, ON24, Talk Point, Inxpo etc. Video conferencing platforms might include a Cisco MCU like our in house system or something cloud based like Zoom. And webinar platforms include things like Webex, Adobe Connect, GoToMeeting. That’s a lot of options. And to make it more complicated, a hybrid event is essentially a mix of any of these with a live event.

Bringing people ‘into’ your event from online, whether they be at home, in their office or on the train gives the event owner huge potential to widen the audience to increase the reach of the event. It also places a responsibility on the event owner to ensure that the online participants are just that, participants. Engagement should be considered just as important for those people online. In fact, it should be considered more important because those participants don’t have the advantage of actually being in the room with the other delegates.

Now for the techie bit… In order to ensure the delegates online and in the room are fully engaged, video and audio needs to be high quality and real time. Content needs to be available to all users too. Currently, there is a technological gap between what’s needed and what’s available. I could blame it all on Apple but that’s a conversation for another day. All I’ll say is WATCH THIS SPACE…