Category

Virtual Events

simulive virtual event timeline

Virtual Events Timeline Tool for Producing Simulated Live Event Programs

By | Online Events, Virtual Events, Webcasts & Webinars

Check out this simulive virtual event timeline and planning tool

“Simulive” or Simulated Live Virtual Events

Simulive sessions or activities are pre-recorded videos for broadcast (streamed) over the Internet at a specific date and time, but are not necessarily publicized as being pre-recorded much like many “live” television shows that were recorded earlier in the day and run as a “live studio recording.” These event sessions and related activities typically have a live Q&A period that may be moderated by the presenter or another subject matter expert.

Simulive sessions can be recorded in a studio, at a live event or with a camera or even mobile phone in the office. With a simulive virtual event session, speakers can record their content at their convenience, review and edit or re-record to achieve the quality they want.

This infographic shows the timeline of a full simulive virtual event though you can adjust many elements to fit your program. In general, larger virtual event programs (many speakers and sponsors or exhibitors) will require longer time to execute than say a single speaker or topic webinar.

Download the Simulive Timeline pdf here.

Here is a video overview:

Ten Reason’s Simulated Live Virtual Event Programs Rock!

  1. Less expensive than live streaming

Live-streamed virtual events are great, but they can be more expensive than recording session content and replaying it as simulated live. Even though live streamed content from a physical event can be terrific, it usually comes at a hefty price due to high Internet costs at venues (required for broadcasting the content out from the venue).  Other production costs can also add up.

  1. More control over content quality

Prerecording content vs live streaming allows you to edit content and event reshoot segments or entire sessions that aren’t exactly the quality you would like to achieve. With a live event, you get what you get and there is little you can do to change lighting, audio or other production values once the event starts. You can test and adjust what you can impact prior to the event starting only up to a point. The event producer is going to take the on-site audience into consideration first and those participating in the virtual event online may take a backseat.

Once a speaker hits the stage, no matter how much coaching and direction the virtual event producer on-site provides, speakers tend to walk around and engage the live audience perhaps walking out of areas that are lite for the cameras or engaging audience members who are not mic’d for sound.

  1. The ability for the presenter to participate in the discussion

With a simulive event, the top subject matter expert (the presenter) can be engaged and interacting with the audience throughout their session. Although there is the opportunity during live presentations, depending upon the content and the purpose of the talk, continuous interruptions from the audience may not be ideal or appropriate. With a simulive virtual event, Q&A can be encouraged throughout the presentation with the option for attendees to participate and follow the discussion or turn it out and focus on the presentation.

  1. Better for all time zones

Unlike a physical event where everyone is in the same location at the same time, virtual event participants can be anywhere in the world where they have Internet connectivity. With a series of simulated live events, you can follow the sun launching the event at convenient times for all local audiences.

  1. Reuse and rerun

Simulive is not just for “follow the sun” programs, it’s also is great for running the event on different days and different times in the same time zones. There are many professions where they just don’t have the flexibility to take tie out at a certain day and time, or their day gets rescheduled due to work or personal reasons. Flexibility to catch another simulive event date with the same advantages of a live event.

  1. Less worry about technology issues

Face it, technology is never fail-proof but that especially true when live streaming. When you see interruptions in major network broadcasts of huge live sporting events it reinforces the reality that technical glitches, especially at live events are a reality.

Simulive doesn’t insure 100% glitch-free broadcasts but it removes a ton of variables that you cannot control during a live event broadcast.

  1. Easier to recruit top speakers

Subject matter experts and in-demand talent are often hard to schedule and especially hard when you factor in travel time and the inconvenience of being away from their work and family. Simulive recording offers tremendous flexibility in when, where and how their presentation can be recorded increasing the likelihood that they are available and willing to participate in your event.

  1. More engagement opportunities

As noted previously, presenters are more available during a simulated live event but that also the case with other subject matter experts from within your organization. Depending on the virtual event platform you are using, there may be many tools that the event producer can use to engage the attendees and it much easier to manage when you aren’t worried about the session streaming and other live-event challenges.

  1. Better sponsor activation

Like number 9, simulive events offer the event producer more ability to focus on engagement around sessions but also sponsors, partners and exhibitors. Planning and (especially) executing sponsor activations and engagement with the audience at a simulive event is more manageable. Without the concerns and focus required with live streamed events, full attention can be placed on the executive of your sponsorship activations whatever they may be.

  1. Less stress and better results

Event planning and production is consistently ranked in the top 10 most stressful professions for many reasons, but a key issue is live events are, well, live so anything that happens cannot be easily fixed if at all.  Simulive virtual events are much less stressful as you get the advantages of a live event (getting attendees and sponsors to commit to participating at a certain time and date) but without the concern of bad content, speakers that don’t show up, live streams that drop and much more. This allows you to focus on the results you need to achieve with laser focus.

Video Captioning and Localization

By | eLearning, Video, Virtual Events

Closed Captioning

We have added closed captioning support for on-demand and simulive events.   To explore the capabilities, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your venue’s Media Library
  2. Upload a video.  After the video is uploaded, you will see a “Processing” label on the video.  Wait till the video has completed this processing.
  3. Select the video. You will see its properties listed in the right hand side column.  Towards the bottom, you’ll see a Closed Caption heading with two sub-menus: Generate and Upload.

Auto-generate Closed Captions

Generate is a machine translation service that automatically generates a CC file for the video in several supported languages. To explore, click on Generate, select your target language and let the engine run.  Within a few minutes, you will see a file listed with that language heading.  That’s the translated CC in that language.  You can generate CCs in multiple languages for the video.

Our supported CC file format is WebVTT with the extension of .vtt.  VTT files are text readable files and editable by any text editor.

Upload Closed Captions

The quality of the auto generated CC files will vary greatly based on the quality of the video audio, speakers’ accents and the technical nature of the conversation in the video.  In general, the auto-generated files are good starting points but will require human review and refinements.  The text in these files can easily be edited and saved.  You can then “Upload” these files under their corresponding language heading.  Uploaded files will overwrite existing CC files.

Default Settings

You can have closed captioning automatically on or off as a user enters a session.   Control this setting for all of your sessions from the Administrative menu’s Session page.  Click on the Default Settings link.

Video Localization: Burned-in Subtitles or Closed Caption

When localizing videos, short of translating the audio, you have two options: burn-in the subtitles into the video, essentially generating a new localized video or use CC in the target language.  The latter is an extremely effective way of localizing, while allowing you to maintain a single version of video in its original audio with no burned in text.

At Engagez (www.engagez.com), we strive to offer the best capabilities for hosting the most effective live, simulive (simulated live) and on-demand online events and instructor-led online classes.

virtual event best practices

Everything You Want and Need to Know About Digital Event Based Programs and Virtual Events

By | Best Practices, Business Strategy, Communication, Engagement, Marketing, Monetize, Online Events, Virtual Events, Webcasts & Webinars

A resource for tools, techniques and good practices for virtual events, hybrid events, online event-based learning and perpetual communities.

If you’ve come to take a deeper dive on all topics related to digital events, hybrid events and live streaming, perpetual sharing and learning communities and of course, virtual events, you’ve come to the right place. This is our jumping off location to organize, publish, curate and share everything we can find that we think is helpful, actionable, thought provoking and a valuable resource in your quest to understand and produce more efficient, engaging and profitable event-based programs.

We’re using tags and categories to provide a taxonomy to navigate to the information that is most relevant to your needs. If there is a topic or issue you are looking for and cannot find it here, please drop us a note and we will see what we can do to get you more information or if you have something to contribute, we’d love to hear from you as well and will attribute the resource to you.

Strategy

Marketing & Audience Acquisition

RFI/RFP

Timelines & Checklists

Monetization & Funding

Speaker Preparation

Sponsor & Exhibitor Preparation

Staffing & Training

Measurement & Analytics

Hybrid Event Extensions

Audience Engagement

Hands-on Labs

Registration

Venue Build Out

Simulive

Pipeline Acceleration: Webinars vs. Online Events

By | Best Practices, Marketing, Online Events, Virtual Events, Webcasts & Webinars

(Refer to the Infographic)

Online Events, when executed well, have proven effective in nurturing and accelerating prospects’ journey through the different stages of the sales funnel.

Most online events today, however, are conducted as webinars: prospects are invited into a single educational session, with engagements happening as follow ups.

Online event platforms allow you to expand the programming with live and on demand content, collateral, customer testimonials, and case studies.  Attendees get the option to engage with sales, support, engineering and executives for consultation, private demos, technical due diligence and executive commitments.  Combined with personalization, Online Events help attendees access the right content and people, all within the event, resulting in deepening interest and accelerated purchasing cycle.

Contact us, at www.engagez.com, to learn more about the best practices of pipeline acceleration using online 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

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

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

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