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Is the in-person event dead or can video transform in-person events into successful hybrid events?

Is the In-Person Event Dead or Can Video Transform In-Person Events into Successful Hybrid Events?

By TJ Kennedy

Should I Stay or Should I Go? How to Host an Event with Reduced In-Person Attendees

Let’s take the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, (HIMSS) convention recently held in Las Vegas as an example. Attendance was expected to be approximately 40,000. This year, attendance was closer to 15,000. But the educational sessions and the exhibits went on. Being in attendance, in-person, provided many benefits like wandering the show floor and key interactions with partners and customers. Perhaps this conference provides us with a model for the future of conferences — a combination of virtual and in-person, in other words, a hybrid solution.

A Hybrid Event Allowed for an Expanded Audience

Not only could attendees participate via in-person or virtually, but keynote speakers attended virtually and in-person as well. This approach allowed for strong interactions to take place, while still allowing for a diverse set and large volume of participants to attend.

Give Them What They Want. Flexible Hybrid Events Matter

Attendees now have a choice whether to pack their bags, pay for transportation, and shell out other additional expenses or not. A study published by Qualtrics of 11,000 people reported that the majority of respondents would not travel internationally for an in-person event. Clearly, events do not have to be canceled if they can’t be conducted in-person. The study also showed that 59% of people globally would prefer to attend an event virtually. This number shows that while there are more people preferring virtual, there are a large amount still preferring in-person opportunities. A hybrid solution is more important than ever as it appeals to both perspectives.

Keeping In-Person Event Attendees Safe

Hybrid events still require heavy pre-planning to ensure the safety of in-person attendees. The HIMSS Conference, for example, required proof of vaccination for all attendees. Some event planners are now considering negative Covid test results be shown as well and some provide rapid testing on site. Once again, being hybrid can have its advantages.

3 Ways Video Can Enhance Large Events.

Content Management

Keynote speeches, breakout sessions, peer group discussions, presentations of all kinds can all be managed so that the content can be shared, repurposed and ultimately consumed by an even larger audience. The ability and capacity to store and manage large file sized video might be considered “cost of entry” in a discussion of what makes video smart. Truth is, storing content is important, but the ability to access the content for later use might be considered mission critical.

Content Distribution

Enabling the distribution of live stream video content to hyper-distributed attendees on a very large scale—say 20,000-100,000 individuals or more, simultaneously is critical in the event space. With video optimized for the mobile experience, your audience can engage with content wherever they are, whenever they need to and on whatever device they choose.

Content Analysis

We continue to operate in a data driven climate. If content performance cannot be measured, it has virtually no value. Having advanced analytics in order to measure video content performance will inform event organizations how to improve communication and ultimately make smarter decisions. Tracking both the physical assets, like  buffering and drop offs, but also gaining actionable insight into how effective video communication was with the attendees. What sessions were the most popular? How many people watched? Who watched it multiple sessions? Bringing real data to video content is the cornerstone of how event planners can use video to develop a course of action or course correct when necessary.

For attendees who are trying to decide whether they should attend virtually or in person the choice will remain a difficult one. But for event planners the choice to feature a virtual option is no longer a choice, it’s an imperative. Without giving attendees flexibility you may risk a decrease in participation. Are in-person events dead? No, but they may look different from now on.

Qumu has been making video smarter with its video engagement platform serving the Fortune 500 and Tech 1000. Qumu has committed to a 100% remote workforce that works from wherever, whenever, forever. Qumu is commitment to bringing value to video content.  
TJ Kennedy is the CEO of Qumu Corporation

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