Virtual Education-Providing Flexibility for your Audience

In the race to go virtual, education based conferences and events are being presented with huge opportunities to offer video on demand for their audience.  Live Stream and pre-recorded education sessions can be offered on an ongoing basis with the simple addition of a video library to your Virtual Portal. 

There has never been a better time to offer video on Demand as part of your revenue stream.  The online audience has grown exponentially in 2020 and will keep growing in the years to come as we all learn new ways to deliver education and content. 

Monetization of your education through a platform like myConferenceSuite’s Virtual Portal is quick and easy.  Users can register, pay, and have instant access to your library of content.  If you are an association, you can record your conference content; offer it to members throughout the year and monetize to non-members across the world through paid access. 

Here are some great tips for building and monetizing your Video Library-

  • Define your niche.  For many associations, their niche is an inherent choice since the association itself may be the niche.  But even within these narrowly defined groups, there are categories that are appealing.  Identifying what your audience wants to see is key. 
  • Build your audience and know your potential.  Understanding Demand for your content is the first step but knowing where that demand resides is as important.  If you are to market your video content, know how to reach your existing market but also know where your potential market can be accessed.  Promotion to your target and potential target audiences is a critical step in successful  monetization of your virtual library
  • Leverage Social Media-Posting your content on Youtube will not yield any direct revenues for your video content, but posting teasers on Youtube and social media to draw viewers to your paid content is smart marketing.  Leverage the platforms that your users engage with teaser content that can direct them to your paid content.
  • Subscriptions and Memberships yield long term relationships.  Use your paid content as a vehicle to build a long term relationships.  Allowing your target market to opt for membership or subscription to access content vs just watching a single paid video can yield a great recurring revenue stream for your company or organization.
  • Build a Smart and Sustainable Payment Structure.  Sell your content via subscriptions or memberships and offering single viewing options might be 2 ways to monetize.  Engaging other stakeholders like sponsors or advertisers can also yield revenue streams for your channel.
  • Roll out your content in a timely manner.  Offering ongoing added content throughout the year might be more effective than offering it all at once.  For example, if you have 12 education based videos to sell, by rolling one out per month, you get 12 opportunities to market your content vs only 1 or 2 by offering it at once. 
  • Organize your Content.  myConferenceSuite’s virtual portal gives you powerful tools to allow for search and categorization of video content.  Sort by themes and categories to give your audience a clear navigation to get the content they really want to see.
  • Customization.   myConferenceSuite allows you to fully brand your virtual portal.  Sell advertising, sponsorship in addition to a robust custom look that defines your brand and identity. 

Delivering education and content through video has never been more in demand.  Make sure you value your content appropriately and don’t undersell it because it is on video and not in a live audience or conference setting.   Content is king when it comes to education.  Leveraging technology to deliver that content to users when they want and leveraging technology to monetize your content is a win-win for all stakeholders. 

Does your current computer hardware meet the technology requirements for virtual meetings?

The move to virtual meetings has changed the type of software and hardware we need in many ways. With the production of livestream and recorded content being the new normal we have all needed to adapt. The job of specialized hardware is now being put in the hands of our trusty home and business computers. Whether you are trying to manage some of your streaming content locally with an audio-visual studio software or integrating with a web distribution tool like MyConferenceSuite’s Virtual Event Platform, Zoom etc., you may quickly find out that your computers are not up to the task. The first thing we might think is internet problems are the cause of jitter and chop but this is frequently just not the case. Unlike single video play back and running presentation software alone, streaming or more specifically software-based encoding and transcoding requires CPU horsepower and the more the better. Enter the mobile workstation, designed for handling graphics and large memory stored data processing, this class of computer has the capacity to take on the task of video and audio encoding with an affordability and flexibility not found with hardware solutions.

Specifications to look for in a computer to be used for more intensive streaming and recording projects:

  • Minimum hex-core CPU
  • Minimum of 16GB of working memory
  • A dedicated GPU with a minimum of 4GB dedicated graphics memory
  • Fast transfer I/O like USB-C and Thunderbolt
  • SSD storage were possible

To prepare your company webinars you may simply need a contemporary laptop with quality webcam and microphone. For web productions, a mobile workstation may be a better fit. At D.E. Systems we have always strived to provide the best suited equipment for your needs and budget, weather you are looking to purchase or rent for your specific event we have the equipment readily available.

Contact us at:

sales@desystems.com T 613.723 1166

Building out our Hybrid Event Framework

As we look ahead to the future of events, it is becoming clear that virtual is here to stay. Offering delegates the opportunity to participate in educational conferences from the comfort of their home or office will be standard. At myConferenceSuite we certainly envision and events future that is hybrid-In person and online. As this model becomes more common, pricing models for event organizers will become more standardized as well as the offerings of a digital participation.

myConferenceSuite’s new virtual portal is still in development but we can share with you a sneak peak. Some of the features include:

  • Welcome Page with sidebar navigation to e-posters, zoom sessions, Agenda, and evaluations.
  • Detailed Session listings and links with speaker bios.
  • Dynamic Session viewing pages with discussion box, video and separate slide deck windows, twitter feed, sponsorship listings and speaker information
  • Zoom connect-list and host networking rooms using zoom technology.

Not only with myConferenceSuite’s virtual portal have the ability to host pre-recorded webinars and content, but it can also embed any livestream production enabling both live and pre-recorded content. One of the main advantages of having a digital presence for your conference content is the access and exposure you can provide both delegates and presenters. In person delegates can access conference content after the event as you are able to leave content up for up as long as you like. And for those participating solely in a virtual format, they can choose the times and locations that best fit their schedules.

myConferenceSuite Virtual Session Listing

Some considerations for event planners considering a hybrid event:

  • Flexible Pricing Model-Don’t devalue your education. In person, Virtual and access to both should be considered.
  • Scheduling. Couple livestream offerings with pre-recorded content. By providing pre-recorded content you remove some of the finite time stress factor that is so common with Events.
  • Open Access-consider leaving content up and accessible. This benefits both researchers/presenters as well as the audience.
  • Sponsorship considerations. Virtual Trade shows are common but they don’t always make a great fit. Find ways to provide good exposure to stakeholders by having them host zoom sessions, sponsor education sessions and allow good multimedia exposure through the platform.

We expect our virtual platform will be fully up and running by end of summer 2020 and we look forward to hosting your content!

Using myConferenceSuite with Zoom and Zoom Breakouts

There has been a massive shift to online meetings brought on by recent events and there is general consensus that when the business and association meetings sector does return to hosting live events; some will remain online. We are all adapting and learning new ways to communicate.

As such, myConferenceSuite is evolving its virtual portal. In addition to boosting our webinar and video hosting capabilities for webinar education events, the team at myConferenceSuite is working with developing Zoom integration into our event virtual portal. Zoom has been a fantastic alternative to live meetings and has some amazing capabilities that can make your online meetings more productive.

The primary reason to use zoom within the myConferenceSuite portal is the ability to monetize your online meeting. Today, we’ll take a look at the Zoom Breakout Feature and demonstrate how it has been used my myConferenceSuite Clients to facilitate both main rooms and sessions in a virtual meeting. Many users of zoom are not aware that the platform accommodates breakout sessions. Have a quick view of the module here:

Of course session selections and breakouts are a basic component of many conferences and events and while there are many virtual conference platform options, zoom offers a simple but comprehensive breakout rooms feature with its pro and business accounts.

myConferenceSuite recently worked with Meeting Professionals International’s Ottawa chapter on using zoom for a virtual event. MPI Ottawa has adopted zoom as a primary engagement tool for connecting members since the COVID19 pandemic eliminated the possibility of live events. They are regularly using the breakout tool for weekly coffee talk meetings but have also taken a dive into hosting a full series of education sessions with multiple zoom links and breakouts. Content and links can be hosted within myConferenceSuite, even secure authenticated access can be provided into a virtual portal with speaker info, agenda and delegate networking links and breakouts using zoom.

Increasingly, meeting and event planners are going to see a variety of collaboration in the virtual space and they are going to be presented with many options for hosting virtual meetings. But it is hard to beat the price point offered by products like zoom. Gotomeeting also provides similar breakout rooms with optional plans.

When we Meet Again: Adding a Health Screen waiver to your Event Registrations

Once the pandemic subsides, in-person meetings and conferences will undoubtedly begin again.  First, it will be smaller events and meetings, likely with social distancing measures and at some point down the line, we will see larger events.  How these events will look and feel is still to be determined as there are still many unknowns. 

How might Registration Systems collaborate and support event organizers as they navigate this new normal?  Adding a Health Waiver as a registration addendum is an excellent way to do due diligence to the health and safety of attendees.  myConferenceSuite has looked at this particular feature and is proposing a simple Health Form, to be sent to all registrants 48 hours prior to arrival at any future event.  Delegates will be required to answer specific questions related to their health before they arrive onsite. 

General questions such as:

  • any current medical conditions
  • Allergies
  • Mobility Issues

And, certainly during this particular period of time, Coronavirus specific questions:

  • Have you come into contact with anyone who has a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?
  • Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms-fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, loss of taste or sense of smell, sore throat?

The delegate would automatically receive this notification to complete the health survey before arrival.  Once onsite, QR coded validation of their registration record will confirm whether they have completed the health waiver.

Enabling a Health Waiver Form is but one way event registration technology can be used to ensure the safety of your delegates.

Video Conferencing Apps: A comparative analysis

The Covid-19 Pandemic has very suddenly and rapidly changed the nature of how we do meetings.  Previously, face to face meetings were the normal in most industries, and video conferencing was viewed as a backup or stop-gap measure for when attendees could not attend live due to any unique circumstances. In the present Covid-19 reality however, Video Conferencing has quickly emerged as one of the most important business tools for optimal business continuity.

As with any product or service, there is a plethora of choices when it comes deciding which video conferencing software to use.  For this analysis, we have compared 4 of the most popular ones currently in business use: Google Meet vs GoToMeeting vs Microsoft Teams vs Zoom

 Google MeetGoToMeetingMicrosoft TeamsZoom
     
Pricing$6 – $25$16.25 – $21.67Free – $20$14.99 – $19.99
Mobile AppYesYesYesYes
Maximum Participants (Video Call)25026250500
Free TrialYesYesYesYes
Time Limit (Free account)60 minutes40 minutesNone40 minutes
Chat FeatureYesYesYesYes
Session RecordingNoYesYesYes
Breakout RoomsNoNoNoYes
Screen SharingYesYesYesYes
Unique FeaturesGoogle Apps IntegrationSalesforce IntegrationMicrosoft Office/Software IntegrationPolls & Whiteboard Collaboration

Google Meet: Google meet, which was previously called and has built on Google Hangouts, is Google’s offering into Video Conferencing.  The unique advantages of Meet are that it is a pure video conferencing solution, and this the focus is on a smooth, seamless video/audio experience.  Another great feature is its integration within various Google apps, and a very smooth user experience if you are working in a Google Android environment (Android phone, Chromebook etc.)

GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting is based on a very solid framework laid out by its parent company, LogMeIn Inc., which has been in the online meetings and remote management business for a very long time and has been a pioneer in virtual meeting and management technologies.  Its primary focus on smaller teams and primary team collaboration sets its apart.

Microsoft Teams: Among many unique features, one of the most important feature Teams offers is its integration with Microsoft Office and other Microsoft apps.  Teams can work seamlessly on various Microsoft projects and it allows for a very smooth user experience in a complete Microsoft environment.  Another unique feature is that teams of upto 10,000 (no video) colleagues can be added and collaborated with.

Zoom:  Zoom is currently the most popular platform among businesses and the general public for video conferencing.  Some unique features include the ability to do live polls and host a whiteboard collaboration session among other unique collaboration tools.  Another added advantage is familiarity, with attendees most likely to have used Zoom in the past, and thus be comfortable with the user interface.

In conclusion, all these Video Conferencing apps are well designed, easy to use and can help you make the most in these unique times until we get back to live meetings.  As all of these offer free trials, you can test and play around to decide which one is best suited for your own business or personal requirements.

Business during the COVID19 Pandemic. How D. E. Systems is supporting organizations through this transformative event.

As an Event Technology Provider, D. E. Systems has seen its business model turned on its end.  While it remains a very diverse organization, events were at the core of D. E. Systems. 

Surprisingly, business activity has continued even though events have not.  One of the primary advantages to our technology rental department is being able to provide short term access to technology equipment and we have been happy to support a few organizations who have ramped up activity during this pandemic including:

  • Pharmaceutical and Sanitization Companies who have ramped up staff.  D. E. Systems has been supporting laptop rentals to a number of organizations in the GTA.
  • Call Centres-Some health care and technology call centres have ramped up activity during this pandemic.  D. E. Systems has long supported call centres with technology
  • Media.  One of our key business activities in the Ottawa Market has been supporting official media channels providing important information to Canadians during this pandemic.

We of course continue to support our regular clients as they transition to virtual and opt for newsletter campaigns in the absence of the ability to hold live events.  Our IT and Network support division continues to operate serving Ontario Essential Businesses with their networking and office technology infrastructure. 

Most importantly though, we are happy to give back.  Recently we supported sending lunch to Front Line workers at the Montfort Hospital.  A wonderful initiative that was started by the Sandwich Stop and Manny Mellios, D. E. Systems was happy to sponsor this endeavour in support of our front-line healthcare workers. 

A big thank you to those that have supported us; we are committed to supporting you through this transformative period.

The Efficient Home Workspace and Maximizing Productivity at Home

During this current health pandemic, most of us are learning to work from home.  Whether you are self-employed, or your company has asked you to work from home, we must quickly adjust to the current “normal” for business continuity and remaining productive.

Here are a few tips and tools that can help you and make your temporary home office experience more productive and focused.  

16 Tips for Working from Home

  • Get Started Early.  Many of us are at our most productive early in the day and letting the morning slide by before diving in can impact your performance
  • Assume you are going to the office.  Get dressed, make the bed, create a distinction between downtime and worktime. 
  • Structure your day.  Schedules are addictive and they yield results.  Working from home really tests the ability to adhere to schedules but you can build one that is flexible to your specific needs.
  • Ensure you have a dedicated workspace.  Creating that environment where you work your magic with your keyboard is key.  A plant, a window, a clean surface.  These little things do matter and foster a welcoming environment.
  • Body Breaks.  It can get downright exhausting working from home.  Zoom calls will zap your energy like nothing else can.  Schedule a walk after a Zoom call-it will give you the right conditions to process the content of the call and give your body that needed break
  • Beware of Social Media.  Social is a vacuum.  Some of us need it, others succumb to it.  It can consume hours like no other online activity and you need to be careful about your time on social media.  Schedule the time, set limits and if you don’t need social media for work, log out of the accounts and remove shortcuts so you are not as tempted to go down the social media rabbit hole. 
  • Set Daily Goals.  Its critical that you have a task list and you are able to tick those boxes.  The brain rewards itself when you do and we are driven more when we see those milestones visually. 
  • Know your productivity cycle.  We all have different attention spans.  For us to get the most out of our day, we need to be aware of what we can manage realistically.  For some of us, it will be 20-30 minute work tasks.  For others, it may be a 4 hour marathon.  It depends both on the work you are doing and your ability to focus.  Just know yourself and schedule accordingly.
  • Defer calls to later times when possible.  The best time to get through work is when you are starting.  Zoom calls can disrupt your focus and bring on a variety of other tasks to the table.  If you are working to complete your tasks, best time is before the conference call
  • Take advantage of Technology Tools.  There are a myriad of tools out there that can improve your productivity.  Project Management tools like Monday.com can bring order to chaotic projects.  Communications tools are not limited to Zoom.  Microsoft Teams provides an incredible framework from which to share content and communicate. 
  • Music.  Music inspires us.  Whenever possible have it softly playing in the background.  It will help with the environment and your productivity.
  • Multitask.  This is one of the best advantages of working from home.  You can get dishes done, laundry, a bit of cleaning done during your breaks from work.  Newtons Law tells us an object in motion stays in motion and this works very well on our brains.  The busier we are the more we get done.
  • Communicate with your Family.  Whether you have a family, spouse or just a roommate.  Communicate your schedules and expectations so they can be respected.
  • Interact with other Humans.  In this time especially, we need human interaction.  As a break, or at the end of your day.  Keep in touch with loved ones and ensure to keep those human connections in place.  They are a fundamental need for all of us.
  • Prepare your meal plans.  Organize your meal plans-you will find that you will reduce waste and become more structured and organized in the process.
  • Happy Hour.  Everyone loves happy hour.  But more specifically, keep that schedule and try to adhere to a time to turn off the work computer each day. 

Working from home can be a challenge.  Creating that boundary between work and home is more complex; but working from home can bring benefits.  Use all the tips and tools you can to keep productive and focused and remember that these organizational and structural behaviours are habit forming which can yield benefits in all areas of your home life. 

D. E. Systems provides technology for your home and office.  We can assist with getting you the tools to work more efficiently and comfortably. 

High specs and well configured computers:

On many occasions, the laptops/Macs/PC’s that we regularly use at home can be dated and bogged down with a lot of bloatware, unused programs and unnecessary files, all of which can contribute heavily to a slow, testing experience.  D.E. Systems can provide laptops, PC’s and Mac computers that have high-end and latest specifications and are properly configured to boost and enhance your user experience.

Printers, Copiers and Shredders:

Many of us have either no printer or small inkjet printers at home that are not designed for professional printing requirements.  Should your work require high end printing (invoices, marketing material etc.), D.E. Systems carries a wide variety of printing products, from tabletop black & white and colour printers and MFP’s to floor standing printers and copiers.  D.E. Systems also has shredders available should you need to discard sensitive documents.

Networking Equipment:

D.E. Systems has all sorts of networking tools available to setup and boost your home networking requirements.  From routers and switches, to long Cat6 cables and WiFi solutions, we can help properly configure and enhance your home network.

Onsite Service:

If you require a professional setup of any technology equipment, whether acquired from D.E. Systems, your own or elsewhere, our certified and professional technicians can provide onsite service to setup and configure your home office setup in the most effective way possible.  We also offer contactless delivery for any health considerations. 

Aside these offerings, we offer many other niche products (webcams, iPads, tech accessories etc.) to compliment your home office requirements.  D.E. Systems staff is always available for consultation on any technology related inquires and questions you may have.  Should you need to discuss with a professional on what sort of home internet is ideal for you, to the pros and cons of various online meeting applications, we are always available to provide professional advice.

Activation using Gamification in your event app

Recently, myConferenceSuite supported a large industry tradeshow, CSAE’s annual Tete-a-Tete held in Ottawa, Canada.  The show attracts approximately 1300 exhibitors and delegates from the meetings and association market.  This year a full conference app was used with some key engagement features. 

Replacing standard lead retrieval on the show floor with universal delegate scanning in the app allowed everyone to exchange contacts-Exhibitor to Delegate or vice Versa, even delegate to delegate and exhibitor to exhibitor.  Extending this functionality to all stakeholders in the show and including it in the event app makes sense as business relationships often cross traditional channels. 

To enhance activations for exhibitors, a monopoly type game was created for all event sponsors to participate in.  Each exhibiting sponsor received a free property card that delegates could scan when they visited their booth.  All scans of each delegate were tracked in the event app and a leaderboard was provided to see who had the most scans.  Data can also be supplied back to the exhibiting sponsor on who scanned their property cards. 

Key Outcomes of the Monopoly Gamification:

  • Increased visits for Exhibiting sponsors
  • Increased Sponsor benefit
  • Gamification for Delegates kept them engaged on the show floor longer
  • Unique game format provided differentiation for the tradeshow from other similar events.

In addition, to lead generation and gamification, Event apps in a tradeshow setting also serve to provide maps, provide an in-depth speaker and event information, detailed exhibitor information, surveys, social feed, messaging and scheduling.  One of the key objectives with any event technology is to streamline the process and enhance communication and engagement, not replace it.

Conference Planning during a Health Pandemic-Pivoting your content to Virtual

There is no doubt the events of 2020 have turned the conference and events industry upside down and inside out.  The road to recovery will be a slow one and Conference organizers are faced with a huge degree of uncertainty revolving around their event. 

With all the uncertainty, contingencies need to be planned.   Pivoting to a virtual experience can be a daunting task.  How can you replace those face to face conversations, those networking opportunities, and the education; the key elements that make a conference so enticing to its delegates and stakeholders.  Understanding your primary objectives is step one.  And as such, ensure your event management and content management platform can provide a cloud-based experience for accessing your educational content:

  • Create a Virtual Schedule with access to educational content
  • Eposters-ensure your eposters are accessible through your conference web portal
  • Webinar sessions
  • Digital Live Stream
  • Zoom and Gotomeeting interactive sessions
  • Live polling

myConferenceSuite’s digital platform accommodates a complete rollout of your conference content-abstracts, sessions, eposters can all be dynamically displayed through a secure conference portal.  Our registration platform can authenticate and provide access to webinar content.  myConferenceSuite also works with Audio Visual providers to authenticate and provide access to Live Streams. 

Access to session rooms can also be managed through myConferenceSuite’s registration portal.    A virtual event probably can never fully replace the synergy of a live setting but in these times of drastic change, giving your delegates and stakeholders a medium to provide education and interaction can ensure important research and educational content continues to be shared.  And certainly, moving forward, offering users access to digital content as an alternative to attending in person will probably become a mainstream option for conferences and events.  So a pivot to virtual will be a mainstay in the conference industry for some time to come and will provide delegates with a choice in how to access the content.  Contact myConferenceSuite to discuss how we can assist you in pivoting to virtual.