Category

Virtual Events

Simulive: Bringing Recorded Presentations to ‘Live’

By | Best Practices, Communication, Engagement, Marketing, Video, Virtual Events, Webcasts & Webinars

A simulated live webinar, “simulive”, is a scheduled webinar which streams a pre-recorded presentation while allowing organizers to engage with the audience in real time using interactive tools.  

In case you have not looked into simulive before, there are key advantages that are worth your consideration:

1. Ease of Coordinating Schedules

Your webinar presenters are all busy professionals, located in different offices, different cities and countries.  Finding the one time slot convenient for all which fits your marketing schedule can be a daunting task. With simulive, you coordinate the timing of the recording at the presenters’ convenience, and then broadcast the recording as live at a time convenient for your target audience.

2. Reducing “Live” Production Risks

Should we even elaborate more?!  We all have scars on our backs with production issues that happen from time to time during a live webinar.  Whether it’s presenter delays, networking and audio problems, or incorrect downloaded presentations, these degrade the attendee experience and leave a bad mark on our brands.  With simulive, you can avoid many of these problems, by pre-recording highest quality presentation, and then broadcasting it live from the cloud.

3. Addressing Globally Dispersed Customers and Prospects

Agreeing on the best time to schedule a live webinar to address the east, central and west coast US time zones is already a challenge.  What about the rest of the world? Simulive is a perfect solution that enables you to schedule the same presentation multiple times, using a recording of the original, each optimally timed for a specific region of the world.

4. Increasing Rate of Return on Marketing Spend

Simulive allows you to leverage a presentation recording multiple times, hence increasing your utilization of an asset you have already committed time and money to.  Meanwhile, the “live” nature of simulive increases the attendance, and substantially improves viewership, compared to on-demand utilization of the same video.

5. Engagement of Attendees

Perhaps even more important than increased viewership, simulive sessions give you the opportunity to engage with the attendees in real time, through online chat with staff, Q&A with experts, surveys and polls.  Engagement data is crucial in your follow up strategies, and simulive is a powerful way of collecting more.

Now, you might be thinking “hey, I see the advantages for the organizer!  But how about the attendees? How would they react if they knew the “live” session they are attending is pre-recorded?”.  

Based on our experience, the attendees don’t care as long as the following expectations are met: (i) the presentation delivers fresh and high quality content on the advertised topic, and (ii) they can ask presenters questions and expect timely answers.   When these expectations are met, simulive is a win for all!

At engagez.com, we take pride in our simulive offering. Our customers use Engagez not only for simulive but also to host live, and on-demand events.   We view simulive not as an alternative to live webinar but as a lower-cost means of offering more frequent live programming. Our calendaring mechanism further allows an organizer to mix and match live, simulive and on-demand sessions and create comprehensive and engaging events.  These events expand the concept of a traditional webinar, offering attendees more content and higher educational value, while increasing their engagement opportunities.

Best Practices for Hosting Video on Demand

By | Best Practices, Communication, Engagement, Marketing, Video, Virtual Events

We have come a long way from the days when hosting a video was simply putting a file on a shared drive and letting people download it. First with desktop players, we were able to play the video directly from a shared drive. This was a step forward but still painful since the initial players had to download the entire file before starting to play, hence costly and slow. The next generation of players were embedded within your HTML pages and were able to cache and start the video with some delay without having to wait for the full download. This somewhat improved the video experience but was not as helpful if you wanted to consume the content by jumping around the video. The shortcomings of these approaches were only magnified as the popularity of mobile devices exploded, leading to further challenges in maintaining a steady internet connectivity speed.

Today, the best practices of serving high quality VOD have substantially evolved. You experience these best practices when consuming videos on the largest of service providers like YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, etc. What is not obvious to the consumer is the amount of computational work and process flow that goes on behind the scenes in preparing an uploaded video file for that smooth viewing experience. These providers are addressing the consumers insatiable desire for flawless playback experience and ease of navigating/jumping within videos, on any device, and in most connectivity situations. As the cost of adopting these best practices become more affordable, more and more service providers will adopt them over time, yet many are not there yet.

As you evaluate the best solutions for your VOD needs, consider the following best practices and whether they are adopted by your service provider:

1. Transcoding

Having a single high quality video file does not translate into best consumption experience: depending on the situation, it could translate into wasted bandwidth for those on desktop/notebooks with high internet connectivity and poor to unusable experience for mobile users and those with slower internet speeds. The best practice is to transcode the original file, generating multiple versions of it, each with its own optimized streaming segmentations, bitrates, bit depths, and framing policies, targeting differing internet connectivity situations. This process is usually performed as part of the video upload process, prior to making the VOD available for viewing.

2. Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

Once you have adaptive bitrate versions of the video, your player and the server need to communicate with each other to leverage the most suitable content. Over the last few years, the best practice communication protocols between the client players and the host servers have evolved into streaming models that work over HTTP across wide distributed networks. These protocols are designed specifically to take advantage of “adaptive bitrate” optimized server content, hence referred to as “adaptive bitrate streaming”.

Adaptive bitrate streaming protocols are superior to delivering a static video file at a single bitrate.  As depicted in the image above, the video stream can be switched midstream to be as good or bad as the client’s available network speed.  It continuously adapts to any changes to the client’s network and CPU situations. To see the advantage of this approach, compare this to the buffering or interruption in playback that would happen when client’s network either did not support the quality of the native video, or the network load kept on changing based on changes to the mobile signal strength or others’ activities on the same network.

There are several implementations of adaptive bitrate streaming. If compatibility across diverse devices are important to you, then MPEG-DASH and Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) are the two most widely adopted implementations available across most devices and OSs.

3. Timeline Thumbnails

The ability to locate with ease the portions of interest within a lengthy video is a high value need by video consumers, especially in the B2B space. One feature that is very helpful in this regard is the ability to move the mouse along the video timeline and seeing the frame thumbnail images of that spot in the video. The smoothness of the frame updates as you traverse the mouse over the timeline are critical in making this capability useful and attractive to users.

4. Use of Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If you have a large and global audience, using CDN for video delivery will go a long way in removing latency and delivering a smooth experience for all users, regardless of physical location.

At engagez.com, we take pride in our implementation of these video best-practices. Our customers use Engagez to host live, simulive (simulated live) and on-demand events. Most live events also transition to on-demand after its completion and stay open for a period of time for further audience engagement. During setup, when you upload videos, whether for on-demand or simulive, we apply these best practices and ensure smoothest possible user experience for your attendees.

Virtual Events: Etiquette For Online Activities

By | Best Practices, Virtual Events | No Comments

Anyone who’s spent any amount of time online knows that the ability to be the Invisible Man at the end of a computer terminal tends to bring out the worst in people. However, if you’re going to a virtual event where the purpose is to make connections and establish a network, it’s important to mind your p’s and q’s. If you’re new to online events, or you’re just not sure what is and isn’t good form, here are a few tips you need to keep in mind.

#1: You’re Not As Anonymous As You Think

Online events aren’t like the thousands of random forums on the Internet; they require registration, and personal information from users. So even if you keep your profile bare bones (which you shouldn’t), word is going to get around about you and your behavior. That’s true whether the reputation you build is good, or bad. So before you respond to negative criticism, or write to express your frustration with someone, take a deep breath. What you say will be logged, and it might come back to bite you later on down the line.

#2: Be Genuine With Your Intentions

When it comes to virtual events, most people come to play. Whether they’re buyers or sellers, everyone is looking to make some money, digitally shake hands, and to have a solid business interaction. You should do the same. Put on your game face, and be upfront with why you’re there, and what you’re looking for in terms of both interaction, and success. You’ll get much better results if you make no secret about who you are, and what you’re trying to do. In fact, it’s duplicity that can get you a bad reputation, and which will get people to avoid you in the future. Remember, everyone is here to do business, but there’s nothing that says they have to do business with you.

#3: Give Thoughtful, Genuine Feedback

Most virtual events and meetups allow you the option of giving feedback. You can rate the experience, leaving notes for the community to tell them all about your particular interactions, and if you felt the event was valuable, and worthwhile. If you’re going to use this feature, make sure your feedback is heartfelt, and that it is also even-handed. If you get reported leaving bad feedback out of spite, or just to down someone else’s ratings, that can have a boomerang effect when you get reported for your activity. So before you leave feedback, ask yourself if it’s warranted. If it is, remember to keep your feedback professional.

#4: If You Wouldn’t Do It In-Person, Don’t Do It Online

Perhaps the best rule of thumb when it comes to avoiding any faux pas while you’re at a virtual event is to comport yourself online the same way you would in-person. Whether it’s what you say, how you say it, or who you talk to, make sure that your online persona is as close to the real you as you can possibly get. While there will be little things like event-specific jargon, and rules that change from one site to another, those are things you can learn. Remember that even though other people aren’t in the room with you, that shouldn’t change the way you behave. It can take some time, but this is overall a fairly simple habit to get down.

Adjusting to online events isn’t as hard as it might seem. If you join the online discussions, ask questions, and get the hang of a given site, you’ll be comfortable in no time. If you’re looking for more insights, simply contact us today!

2017 Video, Webcasting and Online Event Trends: What’s On the Horizon

By | Video, Virtual Events | No Comments

Video, webcasting, and online events evolved exponentially in the last decade thanks to faster internet services and improved video technologies. Despite this, you perhaps haven’t had time to keep up with all these advancements. Ten years can go by in a hurry, leaving you realizing you have a lot to catch up on and update.

If you’re still using outdated technologies to create videos, it’s time to look at the latest trends in what’s possible. With the ability to do video streaming in real-time, you can create more interactive events with your prospects and existing customers.

Take a look at some of the biggest trends in video, webcasting, and online events to see what you can use in the coming year.

Webcasts Done With TV Style Production

Remember the days when streaming a live event over the net usually meant sudden video freezes and low-quality resolution? Those days are over now thanks to faster internet speeds and better webcast technologies.

One of the biggest trends seen this year in webcasting is TV style production methods. The line between online video and what you see on TV have already blurred considerably in the last few years. With streaming TV shows already a significant part of culture, holding a marketing event needs the same production values.

In other words, upping the entertainment quality of your online events should become a top priority in 2018. Whether in the B2C or B2B industry, making your event like a TV show is going to keep people watching, even on mobile devices.

Going Live Rather Than Pre-Taping Events

We all know how exciting live TV is. The trend now is to make marketing events the same way to bring more urgency and excitement. In fact, HubSpot notes 71% of companies now do live streaming to create better interactions with customers.

Going live during one of your business events while it occurs brings more exclusivity and prevents viewers from tuning out. Posting only a pre-taped event may mean viewers watching intermittently or skipping ahead.

It’s possible to go live with streaming services like Facebook or YouTube, so when you have a video service that can help you set up virtual trade shows or webinars with interactive technologies, you’ll mimic the feel of face-to-face interaction.

Producing Live or Taped Videos In Your Company

A key trend you’re seeing now is further simplification of video production. Also, producing video events in-house is another emerging process to save money and time.

In many cases, you’re seeing companies doing one-person webinars. All it takes is sitting in front of a quality webcam, and you can do a professional show right from your own company desk.

Using interactive technologies connects you with new or existing customers in real-time. This is extremely valuable, especially when it’s possible to stream these videos live around the globe to capture international markets.

Custom-Branded Webcast Solutions

One of the biggest emerging trends for companies is finding custom-branded webcasting solutions rather than relying on live streaming services like Facebook Live or Periscope. While those services are great for certain use cases, they don’t provide the branding and the interactive options professional services can offer.

You’ll want more engagement features like staff interaction, related and recommended content, expanded programming, partner presence, promotional content, as well as enterprise security. Plus, you need thorough analytics to study who visited your virtual event and how they interacted.  Most importantly, it’s essential to have complete access control to become the director of your own online event.

Contact us at Engagez to use our unique technologies to produce engaging webinars, webcasts, online events, live stream conferences, and virtual trade shows.

 

 

4 Tips To Create A Successful Digital Event

By | Best Practices, Virtual Events | No Comments

A poorly planned digital event can be a disaster for those who attend as well as the business. An effective and informative digital event is about more than just choosing the right platform and using the best equipment. Understanding who the target audience is, defining the purpose of the event and understanding the appropriate access for attendees are important factors to consider.

Target Audience

Who are you trying to reach?  Is this a product launch for existing customers who are already familiar with your stellar customer service? Is this an informational meeting for prospects who have shown some interest in your company? Perhaps it is simply a meeting with employees across several locations who need training on a new process.

Each of these situations is a different audience with different needs and preferences.

Consider other factors of prospective attendees. Identify everything from age, marital status, socioeconomic status, geographic location, gender, job title, industry affiliation, tenure in the industry, existing knowledge of the industry and relationship to the company for the individuals you want to reach. This information can impact the advertising of the event, the best platform to choose, how the content is presented and the style of speaker.

Understanding the target audience and their needs is the first step to creating a digital event that includes the specific information that audience will find most valuable.

Event Objectives

Identify the objectives specific to the target audience and build an agenda around them.

Consider WIIFM – What’s In It For Me – why would a customer or prospect or employee want to attend this event? What kinds of information are you going to share that is going to directly impact the attendee?  If a customer is going to take time from their busy schedule it is important that you share information they need in a way that is interesting and engaging.

Choose guest speakers not only for their knowledge, but for their ability to keep an audience interested. It is very easy for someone to ‘multitask’ while they are listening to a presentation they find boring or irrelevant.

Keep the agenda on point. Don’t add extra information just because it helps to fill out the time.

Choose a platform that supports your objectives. If you will be having a Q&A option or perhaps allowing attendees to chat with each other make sure the option works.

Review the event objectives and expectations when choosing the platform to verify it has all of the necessary functionality. An audience that expects to be able to see each other through video will quickly be disappointed if that feature isn’t available.

Test It

There is a wide variety of options available for users to access digital information. Part of understanding your target audience is knowing if they prefer to use a laptop, tablet or smartphone.  What operating system are they likely to use?

Test the platform you intend to use on several different options. Check how the presentation looks on a tablet vs a desktop. How does the video work on a smartphone?

Have someone who has never used the platform log in and get feedback on how easy it is to navigate. Use this feedback to create instructions for participants.

Test early and often to ensure a smooth event.

Simplicity

Keep it simple. Simple means attendees can easily access the event, intuitively navigate the platform and clearly identify the most important features.

Provide directions on how to use the platform before the event so that new users can familiarize themselves as needed. Minimize unnecessary options so that participants don’t get distracted from the message.  The more cluttered the screen is, the more difficult it will be to capture and keep the audience’s attention.

Planning a digital event involves more than choosing a speaker and platform. Take the time to understand your audience, create specific objectives and keep it simple to host a successful digital event.

For more information please contact us

virtual trade show platforms

5 Key Factors to Consider Before Hosting a Virtual Trade Show

By | Virtual Events | No Comments

With today’s versatile technology, more and more people are choosing to host online events, such as trade shows that consist of virtual expo halls full of exhibitors. By using virtual trade show platforms, you are able to reach an audience of people who might not be able to come to an in-person event. Participants get the opportunity to meet new people, all without having to leave their homes. In order to host a successful virtual trade show, follow these five tips.

Find the right technology
If you haven’t had the chance to participate in an online event yourself, ask your vendor to provide a link to a demo for virtual trade show platforms so you can see what the experience is like. By trying out some virtual trade show platforms, you’ll have a better understanding of what kind of experience you are going to be giving to your guests.

Ensure it’s the right option for you
A lot of people choose to use virtual trade show platforms simply because other people are doing it. Depending on your business or online event, it might not be the best idea. Think strategically when planning your online webinar or event and make sure it’s going to help you reach your business goals and objectives.

Educate your audience on how the technology works
Seeing as how online event software is still new to most people, your guests will need to have some instructions. You can include videos that describe how to go about the online environment or other types of explanations.

Decide how to reach potential exhibitors and guests
Like with any other type of event, you’re going to need a marketing plan to reach your target audience. Since it’s an online event, you can use assets like email, websites, and social media platforms to promote your event. Depending on how big you want your event to be, you can purchase online or social media ads as well.

Make sure exhibitors are aware of the benefits of an online show
Exhibitors, especially ones who have never done an online event, should understand that the online environment will allow them to interact with customers, share product information and generate leads. They will be able to reach customers they might not have been able to reach at an in-person event.

With the virtual market being expected to increase from $14 billion in 2018 to $18 billion by 2023, now is the time to get started using virtual trade show platforms. While they may take more time and planning than traditional events, the ability to reach customers through an online database and provide networking opportunities is unbeatable.

online event software

How to Choose the Right Online Event Software

By | Virtual Events | No Comments

 

Organizing online events can take a lot of time and careful planning. There are important tasks that need to be done in order to properly manage the event, and it can get confusing or complicated without the right online event software. Finding the right software for your event can be a daunting task, but here are some suggestions to choose the right type of online event software that suits your needs.

Reliability — It’s important to choose a reliable software provider to ensure your event goes off without a hitch. With that in mind, you should find out how long the software has been around, what kind of reviews it has, how many and what type of customers they have, what flexibility it has to adapt its system to fit your needs, and what kind of customer support the company provides.

Accessibility — When looking into online event software, it’s crucial to ensure that it can meet all of your needs. Checking into what kinds of features it offers and looking at online demos or examples of previous uses will give you a better idea of what the software can provide you.

Security — If you need to collect payment from event participants, you need to ensure you can do that securely. Check to see if the payment system is sophisticated enough and how it lets you manage payments. You should also look into what kind of cyber security the software offers. Unfortunately, online fraud is very common nowadays and you want to be aware of what data security measures are provided.

Tools — Depending on the complexity of the virtual event software you’re looking into, you should be able to tell what resource management and other tools you will have access to. It should offer easily-accessible tools for managing speakers, sessions, and other accommodations for your event. Things like survey tools will also be beneficial to have access to during your event.

There are other factors to consider, too, like price and analysis options. Training is another factor to think about, since your staff will need to be trained in using the new software. A successful online event gives participants three things: valuable information, an engaging experience, and networking opportunities. Overall, there are plenty of aspects of online event software to assess, and you should take your time doing your research to ensure you get the best software to satisfy your online event management needs.

virtual trade show

3 Tips To a Great Webinar Experience

By | Virtual Events | No Comments

If you’re looking to hold a virtual trade show or online webinar, you need to start preparing early. Generally speaking, you should start promoting three weeks prior to the virtual event to have the best turnout and promote in a variety of locations.

However, having a good turnout doesn’t necessarily mean that your online events will be successful. Unlike a live event, a virtual trade show doesn’t have a captive audience. Individuals are more capable (and likely) to wander off. Many individuals who have attended online webinars and events are guilty of checking their social media accounts rather than paying attention.

So how do you make a webinar more engaging and keep your audience attentive? There are a few things you can do:

virtual trade showEncourage Audience Interaction

The more active your audience is, the more engaged they’ll be. You should encourage them to share their personal experiences, ask questions, take polls, and show a sense of humor. What can your audience gain from your event? Make sure you’re keeping this in mind at all times. Anything to break the ice and keep them jumping in will make for a more successful webinar experience.

Develop Interesting Slides

Powerpoint presentations have received a bad reputation over the years, which is understandable given that a poorly made one can have listeners zoning out. With a webinar, a slideshow is typically your only option, which means it needs to be interesting. It’s usually a good idea to add creative elements to each and every slide. Your presentation should still be cohesive, but there’s nothing wrong with adding a short sound effect or an interesting visual. You should keep any images related and on topic to avoid being derailed, but don’t be uninteresting.

Call for Questions Often

Certain participants will have come to the webinar with their “One Big Question” that they want you to answer. If they’re forced to wait 90 minutes to ask it, they’ll think only on their question, and ignore your lesson. They might even spend the entire time on their phone, checking their emails, or drifting off until it’s question time. These people are more likely to pay attention if they know you’ll take questions throughout the presentation.

Keeping your audience entertained and engaged during a virtual trade show is vital to having a successful online webinar. Don’t make the mistake of showing up unprepared and reading off slides. Keep things flowing and engaging. Interact with your audience!

virtual conference platform

Virtual Conference Platforms Can Work in Tandem With Physical Conferences: Here’s How

By | Best Practices, Business Strategy, Communication, Marketing, Virtual Events | No Comments

Conferences are an important tool for modern professionals, allowing hundreds in a field to come together and work on issues ranging from professional standards to the latest technological or scientific developments.

But now, the conference industry is undergoing a major revolution. New virtual conference platforms and online event software are offering conference organizers new ways to innovate and address existing problems. In fact, the industry is slated to grow from $14 billion to $18 billion in value by 2023.

In this guide, we will look at how virtual conference platforms can help supplement physical conferences to create the best events possible.

    1. Expand your reach
      One of the best ways to use virtual conference software is to expand your reach. While professional conferences might draw in thousands of visitors, for every attendee, there is someone at home who either could not afford the trip or could not get time off of work. By digitizing elements of your conference on a virtual conference platform, you are able to provide information and opportunity to those not physically able to attend.

 

    1. Digitize the Conference Experience
      With a virtual trade show, you can digitize the traditional conference or trade show experience in a variety of ways. First, a virtual conference platform can provide lucrative new sponsorship opportunities, which can help fund your efforts. Second, the best event software makes networking and lead capture far simpler for everyone involved, enhancing one of the most important aspects of these events. Finally, rather than making announcements over a loudspeaker, you can use notifications to update attendees at any time, whether they’re visiting in person or online.

 

  1. Feature Bonus Material
    It can be hard to make your conference schedule work for everyone all the time. The better rooms and better time slots will have to go to the most popular lectures and talks. But with virtual conferences, you are never at a loss for space, nor are you bound by the constraints of your speakers’ schedules. Using your virtual conference platform to show supplemental material that you didn’t have time and space for will allow your attendees to get more information before, during, and after the event.

Organizing and growing a successful conference can be difficult. One way that you can cost-effectively expand the education and engagement of your attendees is by taking advantage of online event platforms. This tool allows you to create a virtual component to your event and make your life easier at the same time.

Graphic reference https://www.marketresearchmedia.com/?p=421.

Maybe Everyone Will Offer Simultaneous Live Audio Streaming for Now Just Engagez

By | Best Practices, Business Strategy, Virtual Events, Webcasts & Webinars | No Comments

We believe there is another channel or audience segment that is not being served well by events. This segment is comprised of people who cannot attend a physical event and would like to, but also cannot sit and watch a live video stream either. The thought came to us when we were attending a remote video event but had to go to an appointment and could not watch in the car. We realized that we would have continued attending the event had they only offered an audio stream which we could listen to on the way. We know its not as good as a video, but it would have been better than nothing.

This concept was reinforced after we’d noticed people in our office with a video stream up on one browser, with another “work” browswer opened. They were listening, but couldn’t watch. “Why would I sit and watch someone talk unless I needed to see slides or something? I just want to hear what they are saying,” was the answer we got when asked.

In fact, I often do that as well with YouTube videos that are explaining something that I don’t need or want to watch-just listen.

Since we are unaware of any platform that provides this, we feel it is a unique idea. It may take a while to catch on but with the popularity of podcasting in general, we think it is worth pioneering.

Currently we offer audio-only (lower bandwidth and less strain on the user’s data plan) with the notion that people might start to listen to events more on their mobile devices–while they are traveling, at work or busy doing something else where video isn’t an option.