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Making Your Event a Virtual Event

A number of options exist for the virtual component of your proposal. These options vary in levels of cost and complexity. They’re provided here as a means of generating ideas and discussion—the practicality and affordability of each will need to be discussed.

  • Live-streaming your event: This would enable remote users to participate in the event in real time. A couple of considerations:
      
    • Do you want to make the event available to anyone who wants to attend, or do you want to limit participation (for example, to University Chapters)?
        
    • What time of day do you intend to hold the event? (There’s no “best” response to this—whatever time you choose, it’ll be the middle of the night for some time zones.)
        
    • Do you want to enable the remote audience to ask questions/participate in discussions? This is easily accomplished – our vendor provides a Q&A interface in the player that remote users would use, and those questions are relayed to a tablet in the room where the event is taking place. Your proposal should include some thought as to how those questions will be handled – will a member of your team act as the “host” for the remote broadcast and thereby relay the questions to the speaker(s)?
  • 2-Way Streaming your event: Similar to the live-stream, but with the added component of a speaker or speakers who deliver their content from a remote location. Obviously an in-person appearance is better—but the two-way stream may enable you to secure a speaker or speakers who would not be willing to travel to the meeting, but who WOULD be willing to present from their office or home. We have done several of these types of presentations, and they are quite effective.
      
    • We could also do a hybrid option—where a remote participant records a talk in advance, which is then played during your event—and then that participant dials in for Q&A following the replay of his or her talk. This sometimes is a preferred option – that way you know that you have the talk recorded and won’t be subject to potential technical issues on the day of the event.
        
    • We have, in the past, used 2-way streaming as a way to invite participation from remote groups. For example, at the Sustainability Forum at the 2012 MRS Fall Meeting, we had two groups participating from University Chapters in Saudi Arabia and Brazil. After a presentation, the users in the physical space were divided into groups and tasked with coming up with a solution to a problem – and the two remote groups were given the same challenge. After an hour, both the remote and in-person groups came back and presented their findings. This worked pretty well, although it should be noted that the Saudi Arabia student group was participating at 3 a.m. their time, and it should also be noted that both groups had fairly substantial video and audio facilities available to them.
  • Post-event webinar/live event: In this case, we could record your event and then select a post-meeting date to replay it to an invited audience. Any or all of your speakers could be invited to participate and answer questions from the remote audience.

If you have questions concerning a “virtual component” to your event, please contact Bob Braughler at Braughler@mrs.org and copy chapters@mrs.org.