Meeting in a Virtual Space

Saving a client from AV cross-platform confusion and remote challenges

Corporate meeting planners are experts at mitigating unforeseen circumstances and sudden calamities, but the global shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic made even the most seasoned planners scramble for solutions. Event planners needed to think fast. Should we cancel our events or create a digital experience – fast.

For Audio Visual Dynamics (AVD), one such challenge involved a large corporate client who was already deep into internal planning and production for an important upcoming meeting to welcome and train 75 new hires. The multi-brand training session was initially scheduled to be an in-person event with a general session of 75 attendees, backed by full AV support (audio, video, lighting, staging) and three AV equipped breakout rooms.

When precautions centered on coronavirus took effect, the client still needed to produce the meeting in order to get new staff trained and up and running in the field as soon as possible. However, moving the training event to virtual status brought with it a laundry list of technical complications and logistics challenges.

Some of the challenges that needed to be overcome included:

  • Implement an engaging virtual environment with a seamless show flow that captures employees’ attention, energy, and enthusiasm.
  • Remove the stress of running a virtual platform
  • Keep client and AVD employees safe throughout the process.

Equipped to Succeed: AVD has the Experience to Deliver Virtual AV Solutions Fast.

To help our client meet their training sessions date, AVD recommended a basic studio setup with pipe, drape, and uplighting, as well as providing a “producer” and back-end labor support. The producer’s role was critical for moderating and managing the logistics of the virtual room on camera, as well as to serve as the “voice of God” whose role it was to make presenter introductions, and direct participant traffic to the virtual breakout sessions.

Discovery Leads to a Seamless Broadcasting Solution

In our discovery process with the client we realized the attendees were using three different virtual platforms, including Skype (the client’s current internal platform), Connect (for breakout rooms), and FaceTime (for deep-dive district-level discussions).  The additional platforms and agenda were crafted in concert with each marketing team’s brand agency and training manager, which made AVD’s role even more critical to ensure that a multi-platform setup could be delivered seamlessly.

To meet this challenge we built multiple moderator stations featuring familiar faces from our team to visually appear on camera along with the respective training managers. By leveraging our AVD internal studios to create the moderator stations it helped our client cut down on confusion between presenters and maintain program flow.

When it came to each of the three breakout rooms, we created a technician role for each to essentially float the rooms and check for picture and sound quality.  Additionally, we were tasked with moving attendees to the correct virtual rooms, keeping the rooms on time via the platform clock function, and providing verbal instructions to support the interplay of the assignment. In addition, we subsequently moved all interactive “whiteboarding” from the breakout rooms back to the main general session room for further review by the entire group.

Planning and Executing an Event with Social Distancing

Once all of the diverse platforms the presenters would be using were accounted for and brought online, we provided the means for seamlessly broadcasting the platforms to enable their presentations to come off without a hitch. AVD implemented a professional grade audio and video broadcasting experience that provided all of the safety and security the parties needed to maintain social distancing, while delivering the important messages that our client wanted to share.

Rehearsing Audio, Video and Staging is Critical for a Virtual Event; Making it Work When Time is Limited

Even on a tight schedule, AVD conducted multiple rehearsal sessions with the presenters to ensure any technical issues at their home locations were resolved. The rehearsals also allowed us to provide needed coaching and tips to the presenters—e.g., visualizing a full audience, identifying the correct height/level for their cameras, or positioning the lighting in their home offices, among numerous other quality control issues.

Bringing it all Together: Flawless AV Event Production Remote or Onsite

AVD clients know that we’re there with them every step of the way before, during and after their most important conferences and company meetings. For this particular client, behind the scenes we had two on-site AVD triage technicians who observed the rooms and assisted with additional question/chat functions as needed to ensure flawless execution. We also secured a separate platform to be an extra layer of support and to provide extra bandwidth that served as critical backup.

The end result? Successful virtual training presentations and a very happy client.

AVD is used to receiving high praise from our clients. In this instance, the accolades have been especially heart-warming considering the short notice to pull these presentations together. The client was thrilled that the training sessions came off without a hitch and that their new team members are properly trained and onboarded without any time lost.

Learn more about AVD’s Corporate Virtual Meeting Support & Broadcasting Services

“I wanted to thank AVD for a fantastic day yesterday. The workshop was a huge success and that was due to AVD being able to navigate all of us through the virtual program. Thank you and your team for all of the support!”

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