Published on June 17th, 2021 | by Guest0
3 Ways to Make a Conference Accessible to Remote Attendees
I remember what conferences used to look like.
Expensive plane tickets and hotel stays. The logistical nightmare of coordinating venues, keynotes, and transportation. The realization that, inevitably, there was potentially a large portion of your audience unable to attend.
This is no longer the case.
With the emergence of the Internet of Things and more sophisticated computing technology, your conference’s reach is theoretically limitless. Guests who cannot attend in person no longer have to rely solely on live streams or media coverage to fully experience your event. Instead, they can get the next best thing to in-person attendance from the comfort of their office or their home.
Here are a few great ways to facilitate that.
Take Livestreams to the Next Level
Before we go further, I’d like to note that this section is written with the assumption that you already understand the basics of setting up streaming at your events. If you need a refresher, the Event Manager Blog has published an excellent set of guidelines.
Live video as an event technology has already existed for some time. And it’s also one of the most popular, most widely-used methods for engaging with remote attendees. Per research carried out by streaming service Livestream and publication New York Magazine, 80 percent of people prefer branded video to blog posts, and 67 percent of audiences who watch a live stream purchase tickets to a similar event.
You have the capacity to do far more than passively stream video.
With a properly-configured event app or streaming service, for instance, you can equip your speakers with the ability to directly connect with remote and in-person attendees via live polls. Results can be displayed in realtime, generating talking points for the speaker, providing you with insights on your audience, and allowing remote viewers to feel far more engaged. This can also be accomplished by setting up a Q&A session that incorporates live chat.
If you take this route, you’ll need to ensure you employ a team of trained event moderators to ensure that nothing inappropriate drifts through. You might also consider setting up a voting system that allows attendees to choose which questions they most want to see answered. Eventmobi is a great platform for enabling all of these features, but it’s far from the only service on the market.
Transform Your Guests Into Robots
When telepresence robots first hit the market, they were more of a curiosity than anything. Cumbersome and prohibitively expensive, they weren’t really a feasible option for anything beyond occasional use in the office. According to Event Manager Blog, some people, such as actor Stefan Wabner, felt it was more economical to have humans play the part, instead.
The technology has come a long way in recent years. Equipped with built-in audiovisual capabilities and remote-controlled locomotion, some telepresence robots even feature a controllable set of arms, allowing remote attendees to manipulate their surroundings as if they are actually present. It’s a fascinating technology, albeit one that still carries a fairly hefty price tag.
As is often the case with emerging technology, this price is gradually dropping. I estimate that within the next five to ten years, they’ll become a common sight on the show floor. If you want to start using them now, you’ll want to ensure wireless connectivity at your venue is seamless.
A few years ago, a colleague of mine attended a virtual conference hosted on the video game Second Life. It was, for all intents and purposes, a bizarre experience, and not one he wished to repeat. I would argue, however, that the organizers of this show were ahead of their time.
With the emergence of readily-available virtual reality technology, digital conferences are an incredible and fascinating possibility. Imagine if, instead of having to track down the perfect venue, you could simply hire a development team to create it. Imagine if, instead of having to worry about venue capacity, you simply had to manage server load.
There are already a ton of event management professionals doing exactly that.
It’s important to note, however, that even though VR technology is widely available, not everyone has access to it. As such, if you want to host a completely virtual event, I’d advise allowing attendees to log in and control a customizable avatar of themselves via their PC. That way, people who want the full-dive VR experience can still get it without alienating everyone else.
A New Frontier
The days when one had to be physically present at a conference to experience what it had to offer are far behind us. Thanks to new and emerging technology, your attendees can experience what you have to offer no matter where they are.