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What is a Hybrid Event - A Technical Perspective

For corporates, businesses, government organizations, or educational institutions, events are the most crucial and important part of day-to-day activities. For internal or external communications purposes, hosting events bring so much value to the stakeholders whether they are physical, virtual, or hybrid events.

What is a Hybrid Event?

Now, most of the events are virtual, and if you are combing a physical event with virtual components as in virtual speakers or audience, it is simply a hybrid event. Let’s explore more on the technical perspective towards the hybrid events.

Physical, In-person Events

Before we talk about Hybrid Events, let’s recall how events used to be in the past especially before Covid-19.  Marketing Events, Corporate Events, Educational Conferences, Medical Symposium, Product Launch, Science Fair, the list goes on and they all want as many people as possible to show up at their events. It was a great opportunity to invite a renowned speaker from abroad to give a speech at the event which is now one of the most difficult tasks to do.

Engage the audience with activities such as Live Q&A sessions, Networking sessions, Live Polling or Live Quiz sessions, and so on. The audience would use a microphone or sometimes they are provided with pen and paper to write the question and pass it to the organizer. Event organizers would use physical voting pads for live polling sessions.

Virtual Events

A virtual event is when all the speakers, presenters, moderators, EMCEEs, and also the audience are virtual, connecting from their homes or offices through their own devices. Usually, these events are generally called webinars, webcasts, Live Streams, Virtual Meetings, etc. Applications such as Zoom, Webex, Bluejeans are excellent for both virtual and hybrid events. Check out our event technology services to know more about our expertise in this area.

There are hundreds of software or applications for such virtual event or meeting purposes and most of them come with all sorts of interactivities and engagement features

The audience is able to simply type in the question that they want to ask, or chat with other attendees. Live Polling is also as simple as clicking or pressing a few buttons on the screen. 

Hybrid Events

So it seems like virtual events are all you need for your events and why would we still host a hybrid event? There are unlimited reasons to do a hybrid event such as

  • To have a professional Audiovisual Setup
  • Minimize a physical event’s in-person attendees
  • Maximize virtual attendees of a physical event
  • Invite Speakers from Abroad 

So as you can see, while virtual events seem to solve quite a lot of problems, the need for hybrid events is also crucial for various reasons. Similarly, hybrid events also need virtual meeting tools together with a nicely arranged on-site audio-visual equipment setup.

Let’s go through a setup of a hybrid event with an example.

A Corporate Townhall as a Hybrid Event

Let’s say you are hosting a corporate townhall event in Singapore with a few speakers such as the Country Director, Sales Director, HR Director, etc, and a minimal in-person audience. A large majority of the audience in Singapore or across other global offices will join the townhall through a virtual meeting platform. The global CEO will give a speech and a few other directors will join the live Q&A session as panelists together with the local in-person directors.

Therefore the parties involved are

  • The Local In-Person Directors (Speakers)
  • The Remote or Virtual Directors (Remote Speakers)
  • The Local Audience (In-person Attendees)
  • The Virtual Audience (Remote Attendees)

We will just need to plan for the correct and professional on-site audio-visuals and use the suitable video communication tool for this townhall.

Live Video Communication Platform or Tool for a Hybrid Event

A live video communication platform or tool with a suitable authentication feature is crucial as this is a corporate event and you don’t want any random person to tune into your townhall event. Keep in mind the requirement for the Live Q&A, Polling, or Survey mechanism so you can engage the attendees and measure how satisfied they are with the setup. It is also best if you can control or filter the incoming questions from the attendees before the directors or all other attendees see them.

The remote speakers should be able to connect to the platform without any issues. The key is to do tests and rehearsals to make sure there is no technical problem.

The platform should also be able to record the whole event as well as the attendance accurately so you know who showed up and digest the analytics after the event.

On-Site Audio-Visual Arrangements for a Hybrid Event

Once you have identified the video communication platform that meets your requirement, next you’ll need to arrange the on-site audio-visuals such as Cameras, Microphones, Speakers, Screens, and so on.

For hybrid events like this, a powerful and efficient graphic switcher is extremely important. You may need to carefully select what you show on the screens locally in Singapore, and for attendees joining via the internet.

Especially during the Q&A session, you will need to show the remote presenters on the screen together with the local directors for a fruitful Q&A discussion. Look out for all kinds of video and audio disturbance during these sessions and be ready to actively or pro-actively smooth out the arisen technical issues.

Similarly, also for the on-site arrangements, the key is to do the rehearsals at event location (function room, meeting room etc) and make sure there is no oversights.

Take a look at the visual illustration of a simplified hybrid event setup for the townhall we discussed above.

Hybrid Event Setup
Hybrid Event Setup for A Corporate Townhall

As shown, for a hybrid event setup, there is an on-site live video production team with Video Camera(s), Audio System (Speakers and Microphones), Vision Mixer and Switcher, Screen and Projectors, Monitors, cables, and accessories.

The remote presenters are shown on screen as required, and the remote presenters are able to see the on-site presenters and audience through the on-site video camera. (Multi-camera setup is best if a dedicated camera is needed to just show the audience’s front view)

The on-site presenters simply view the remote directors through the preview monitor that is usually placed near to the stage as shown in the illustration.

The main screen will show different objects based on the current agenda of the event such as on-site presenter’s presentation slides, remote presenter speech or slides, remote presenters only, live questions, live polling questions, etc.

The setup is actually overly simplified and yet the technical details of each component’s arrangement could be endless to describe here in this article.

To conclude, as we have discussed in this article, there are quite a number of critical points to keep in mind when you are organizing a hybrid event. You will not need to dive deep into the detailed setups if you are an event owner or organizer but it should be fun to explore the technical side of it.

Check out our live video production services and live video communication solutions to know more about the hybrid events and what are the available services around it.

Virtual AGM

Before Covid-19, Audio Visual arrangements for Annual General Meeting (AGM) were straightforward and simple. Now, it’s even more simple and straightforward with Virtual AGM arrangement.

Recall when you had to book for a venue, arrange for the AV, handouts, gifts, refreshments, transportations among many other things. Yes, they are not complicated tasks, however, the effort and time you have to spend are huge.

Virtual AGM in Singapore

Virtual Annual General Meeting became very popular due to Covid-19 during 2020. It has always been a physical meeting but now, most AGMs in Singapore are virtual and actually making everybody’s life easier. We can simplify the various Virtual AGM formats into two, Completely Virtual and On-site AGM (Hybrid AGM).

Completely Virtual AGM

Nobody might have thought of conducting an AGM from their living room but it is a new normal in 2021. The Chairman, the CEO, and Directors can all connect using their webcam-enabled devices from their homes for the AGM. The auditors, stockholders, and invited guests can all connect virtually from their homes or offices. This is very convenient and hassle-free for all stakeholders.

The risk or downside of going completely virtual is the internet connectivity issues and unforeseen technical problems during the proceeding, but again, most of these problems can be mitigated by doing rehearsals and technical checks well beforehand.

Both formats involve an online platform (video communications platform) where all the stakeholders connect at the scheduled time. Think about the physical AGM where we have speakers on stage (Directors), the audience at their seats, and the organizing team behind the curtains. It is pretty much the same here only that everyone is now behind their laptops at their homes.

The directors have the ability to turn on their video and microphone, talk to other directors in the meeting well before the start of the virtual proceeding. The audience, on the other hand, will only be able to view the meeting as a live stream or a webcast. However, the audience may be able to submit questions or even participate in electronic voting.

On-Site AGM (Hybrid AGM)

Practically, AGM arrangements are most of the time hybrid since the main speakers, the Chairman and the CEO are on-site at a venue (such as a meeting room in your office) with a professional camera and audio arrangement while other directors join remotely from their offices or homes.

There are endless possibilities of how you set up the live video production at the venue. You’ll just need video camera(s), microphone(s), and a PA System if you have so many directors to be on stage at the venue. Such audiovisual arrangements are all covered by the on-site crew ensuring the proceeding is all smooth and professional without any issue.

We’ve mentioned that internet connectivity is critical for virtual events, it also applies to hybrid events as well. This is why site recce and connectivity tests are always crucial. There should always be at least 1 rehearsal or dry-run before the actual event.

To sum up, virtual AGMs are a new norm nowadays and the good thing is it’s very simple and straightforward if you use the correct teams and the right tools & services.

5 Important Points for a smooth webcast

November 17, 2020 | Webcast | No Comments

Webcast Services

Webcasts play a crucial role in today’s world in many industries. There are countless targeted webcasts for countless topics. Townhall, AGM, Medical Conference, Award Ceremony, Wedding Ceremony, Product Launch, and many more events are turning into virtual broadcasts or webcasts. There are so many crucial points to take note of if you are planning a webcast but we would like to highlight the 5 points that we think are the most important of all.

1. Planning Ahead of the webcast

It is very important to plan your webcast weeks or months prior so that you don’t need to rush things. We understand that you would like to have a perfectly executed webcast, so having to rush things like registration page setup, custom branding, creating digital artworks will not always work well. These steps take time so do plan ahead of time.

2. Fix a date to finalize everything

We do understand that changes have to be done, and adjustments have to be made along the way before the actual webcast starts. It is very important to have a date by which everything must be settled, and no more changes are to be made. Last-minute changes can sometimes come with unexpected side-effects that are often overlooked because of the rush. Our friendly team members always try to entertain last-minute requests but it is best for all parties that changes are finalized a few days or weeks prior to the webcast.

3. Practice and Rehearsal

It is a very crucial step. Either it is a virtual setup or an on-site setup with equipment, practice and rehearsal sessions are always helpful. If that’s a virtual setup, presenters need to connect for a practice session to familiarize themselves with the interfaces, while our technical teams can also assess the presenters’ internet connection and device performance. If you are hosting a very interactive webinar for a group of attendees, you might even need to have a practice session with the attendees as well to ensure all attendees are comfortable with the interface and platform that is used for the webinar. On-site events are more about technical recce and presenters may not need to involve most of the time, do request your virtual event organizers to perform a site recce well before the webcast. Our technical team members at Connect Vision will always perform a site recce for an on-site setup.

4. Prepare for Interactivities

A webcast will often have interactivities and the most common interactivity for most webcasts is Q&A (Text or Voice). If it is a text Q&A, check if the particular platform that you are using has any question screening feature and assign the screening task to an appropriate team member. Do prepare a few questions to warm up the Q&A session in case everyone is too afraid to ask the first question. If you are allowing the Voice questions, make sure that there is a team member handling the muting, unmuting accordingly. Seek any technical advice from the technical team if you have any doubt on any technical matter.

5. Moderating the live webcast

Either you are hosting a 1-hour webinar, or a full day webcast, it will be a good idea to have a moderator who knows the topic well, and able to engage the attendees throughout the webcast. The moderator will also keep track of the time for the presenters and direct the Q&A discussion accordingly. Seek advice from the technical team and announce any required technical DOs and DON’Ts through the moderator at the start, throughout and at the end of the webcast.

Of course there are many other points to take note of, but above points are those we think are the most important points extracted from our many years of experience in virtual event industry. Please also check out our webinar and webcast services here.

Webinar Vs Webcast

What’s the Difference between a webinar and a webcast?

People always wonder, what’s the difference between a webcast and a webinar. There are so many explanations based on the content or the technical point of view. We might need to give ourselves a break from overthinking things and just simply regard them as related terms. Are you more confused now? Let us further explain.

It’s clear that Webcast and Webinar terms came from “Broadcast” and “Seminar“. Broadcast is the practice of transmitting audio/video content through a medium that is available to a large audience. So the content of the broadcast can be anything such as a speech, conference or a seminar, a movie, you get the idea. A seminar is a discussion or a conference where a topic or topics are focused on with interested parties. Now, things have evolved and broadcasting is not only through cable TV anymore and so many things are broadcasted through the internet these days. So people call such broadcasts as “Webcast” as it is distributed on the web. Again, the content could be anything just like a traditional broadcast. If that’s a seminar that you are broadcasting through the internet, it will be a webinar.

There can be several interactive features for a webcast based on the type of meeting that you are hosting and the type of interactive engagement that you are looking for. Usual features are Q&A (Voice, or Text), Polling, Surveys, Quiz, Reactions, Lucky Draws and the list goes on.

If we think of a broadcast of a sports match over the internet, it’ll be only appropriate to call it a webcast rather than a webinar. It goes the same for an award ceremony, media briefing, news announcement, product launch, townhall and so on. On the other hand, if we are broadcasting a financial conference over the internet, it’ll be a webcast, and guess what, we could also call it a webinar, and we can expect interactivities such as Q&A, polling, etc.

Basically, webinars or webcasts are broadcasted over a live video communication platform on the internet. These platforms are generally known as “Webinar App” or “Webinar Software”, “Streaming App” or “Streaming Software” such as Zoom Video Webinar or Webex Events platforms. The platforms come together with live video delivery infrastructure and audience engagement tools such as Q&A, Chat, Polling, and so on.

So basically a webinar or live streaming platform provides 2 main things, live video delivery or distribution and interactivities or audience engagement tools.

Check out our Video Communication Solutions that provide ultra-low-latency video delivery together with excellent Audience Engagement Tools. Also, check out our webinar and webcast services.

In conclusion, Webinar and Webcast are just related terms instead of one opposing another since both broadcast content through the internet.