Organizers looking for software for their virtual or hybrid academic conference usually come across online tools pretty quickly that promise a first-class event experience. However, only very few solutions can meet the unique demands of a fully digital or hybrid academic conference.
RMTP, OBS and VoD – these are just a few of all the abbreviations organizers encounter whenever they learn about the technical side of their planned virtual conference. And usually, these terms are “explained” by using even more other unknown terms and abbreviations. We’ll try to make it more beginner-friendly.
Organizers have a timing issue – and this doesn’t refer to the usual problem of not having enough time when planning a conference. As organizers switch to virtual events, a whole new complication arises: Participants are now no longer in the same place and can log in from anywhere on earth. But to do so, the conference needs to take place when it suits all time zones. Is something like this even possible?
Virtual and non-virtual conferences may differ in some respects but the goals set and pursued by participating sponsors and exhibitors are the same: Getting in touch with their target audience and meeting potential clients. In a virtual environment, this only works once you rethink sponsorships beyond analog trade show booths, which can feel out of place in an online setting.
Virtual conference sessions have become the new normal for many organizers. But of course a virtual conference is not just about the sessions – the social program surrounding them is just as crucial, as it turns the event into a collaborative experience and connects the conference’s individual parts. Finding inspiring ideas, however, often proves to be a difficult task for organizers.
You could get the impression from the current surge of all kinds of online formats that they are interchangeable but webinars and virtual conference aren’t the same thing. Organizers who are not aware of the differences are contributing to a questionable revival of continuous speaker-centered approach – a fatal mistake for any conference.