Moving from Physical Spaces to Virtual Spaces

As time has passed, meeting professionals have realized that attempting to replicate all of the unique features of in-person meetings, in the virtual realm, is sometimes impossible. The key is to focus on the virtual and plan out what you want to do before connecting the format and best technologies to that plan. “Avoiding the attempt to replicate the distinct nature of a physically attended conference alleviates a great deal of stress for our stakeholders“. It takes time to dissect each agenda item and connect it to new ideas and technologies, but the effort is well worth it for the programmes that migrate online most successfully.

This isn’t to say you can’t take some of the physical and do it better online. For example, how many hours have you spent walking around an exhibit hall looking for those you want to talk to, to find they are always occupied? Our crowded hallway sessions in Zoom #8 provided appointment setting and data access at a recent event so that every stop by a participant created value for them and interesting data to clearly demonstrate the preferences of participants, generally and by specific segments. Although we couldn’t quite make a virtual cup of coffee, it was fun to provide a series of codes to allow participants (we apply the relevant code and company policies for HCP meetings) to stock up on Starbucks and other goodies prior to the meeting. Demonstrating that you have considered the participants, even with a fun light touch, goes a long way toward gaining their support for a digital environment.  

Some may be surprised that I haven’t jumped right in to cool new tools (whispers – which don’t always deliver on their promises) in this section. We like to be funky, but we also need to be practical from time to time. Virtual spaces that have been approved by corporate IT can be a limiting factor. In that case, #8 Zoom, #9 Teams, #10 Cisco Webex, and #11 Adobe Connect are still frequently the IT-approved safe havens for many digital meetings, and when combined with a central hub have given me the ability to develop a programme that combines the best of techniques and multiple technologies that participants are unaware of.

Some video streaming platforms frequently fail to keep up with the pace of new formats and our client’s expectations and, in the majority of cases, struggle to present brand or meeting theme imagery in a way that resonates with participants, unless you create splash pages or more complex meeting dashboards. It’s similar to holding a launch conference, but with only a screen in the main meeting room and no branding, lighting, or other elements to enhance the meeting’s visual character. You wouldn’t do that in-person so why do it online?  That’s why, and this is where I’ll give a shout-out to our development team. The #12Intempio Hub can be extremely useful for a meeting that wants to be more than just Zoom, providing a branded environment with multiple rooms as well as access to engagement techniques and data collection. 

A central hub for a user to browse live and on-demand content now appears to be a must-have, but this does not reshape the on-screen experience when streaming speakers or other content. In early March 2020, it was prohibitively expensive for every meeting to increase meeting production, and believe me, I was asked. Using technologies such as #13 vMix, among others, was a way to add an extra dimension to how participants saw television-style techniques, engaging with content, and provided speakers with a more dynamic set of tools that quickly proved to keep the attention and lift meetings from….. “another zoom meeting”, now to something entirely different.

We see a different picture in November 2021, with sophisticated solutions now within the scope of most budgets. Take a look at #14 Presenter + and our #15 Virtual Studio, which explains how to integrate advanced techniques into virtual meetings better than the written word… That means I won’t have to turn to one of our technicians to explain.  

Multi-session meetings, without a doubt, benefited from a single location where attendees can access their personalized path through tailored content, see on-demand material, quickly locate help, and immerse themselves in the branding or meeting theme that is so important to the overall value of a meeting. Not just Intempio has these immersive environments; we have used #16 notified by intrado, #17 inevent, #18 Socio, #19 Spotme, and one of our favorites a solution built the healthcare sector specifically in mind #20 Zone VS which you can see here in demo form among many others, almost too numerous to mention, each with their own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Some platforms may be too complex or lack the functionality to meet healthcare compliance requirements, while others may fail IT testing, and yet others may lack the right combination of features such as networking, single sign-on from internal intranets, or HCP portals. This relates to what I said earlier about mapping out what’s needed. “If you do a good job mapping, you’ll locate the suitable platforms quickly. If you do a poor job, it will be more difficult to adapt as the needs of the meeting undoubtedly change.

Kayla Gaul
Account Manager

Click here to read part 3 Exciting Stuff when you can’t have a Reception or Apéro

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