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…

Festivals, concerts, theatre – online

The festival market is booming. More and more people are attending festivals with an estimated 32m attending last year in the US alone. 145,000 attend Glastonbury, the UK’s largest festival, every day. And many of these festivals are attended, unsurprisingly, by young people i.e. millennials. So what’s next for the music industry?

SXSW, one of the World’s most famous festivals/conferences generated over 1m tweets last year, showing an increasing blend between the online and the offline, the internet and the physical. And of course, it’s not just music festivals. The RoundHouse streamed the Poetry Slam final live and a number of theatre groups are using platforms such as LiveStream to make their performances public.

The technology is there, the platforms are there. We no longer need expensive satellite trucks and broadcast facilities in order to make these performances available on the internet. More importantly, artists are beginning the appreciate the value that an active online presence creates for them. When did you hear about a singer or movie star who is ‘less wealthy’ because his/her video went viral on YouTube? But you certainly do hear about the singer who made it for the same reason. The UK’s National Theatre have been streaming shows for years and the Royal Shakespeare Society reportedly have a larger audience for one online show than see their shows in ‘real life’ in a whole year.

Now that high quality HD content can be made available online, we’ll see more and more artists asking for their shows to be made available to their fans, providing a value-add content to people who go out and buy their records anyway. Event organisers will see their online presence only strengthening their brand and ultimately, helping them sell more tickets. This isn’t a ‘what if’, this is what the evidence is showing us.

Present Communications ltd look forward to live streaming your event in the future.

Live Interpretation for Webcasting

The World is getting smaller, we are at the forefront of bringing people together using online technologies such as webcasting and video conferencing.  Technology is available for us to make events accessible to people wherever they might be at that specific time.  ‘Delegates’ (in the new sense of the word) are able to interact with each other on mobile devices or at their desks, even from an aeroplane (yes, we have done this).

There are a few obvious challenges to overcome.  The two big ones, time zones and languages.

The first is difficult to change, we can’t change time zones but we can be as flexible as possible with our event and we find ourselves now working on events at more peculiar times of the day.  If live interaction is not required, we can stagger the streaming in different countries.  Or perhaps two or three live events can be staggered throughout the day for the convenience of various audiences.

‘Languages’ are easier.  The stream, already going over the web can be interpreted live with questions and online interaction translated in real time.  This is becoming a relatively common way to stream and something that works really well for multi-lingual audiences.

In this photograph you see a remote location with real time video sent from the event location to an off-site venue which housed our interpreters who were them streamed live in the web.  It’s a big world, but it’s getting smaller.