As a designated Collaborator Partner for the CEIR Predict 2020 event, CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference, SmartSource was charged with providing virtual event services. Given the event’s outward looking approach, it was important to event organizers that their partners be forward-thinking experts. The event was focused on the impact of emerging trends and economic, geopolitical, and social issues on the future of trade shows and trade fairs, with more than 160 executives in the exhibitions industry registered. While the outcome was excellent, as with all conferences, creating the successful Predict event was not without its challenges.
Predict organizers planned for an in-person event. When it became evident that this wasn’t possible, they contacted SmartSource and asked for help creating a personal and professional virtual event. The ﬁrst challenge was timing – the team had just four weeks to produce the event and prepare the speakers. In addition, needing to have all speakers present remotely – some from outside of the U.S. – created additional technical and logistical hurdles. Another aspect of the virtual event that had to be addressed was CEIR operating from a live studio in Orlando with the feed going back to a Las Vegas location. Scheduling the international speakers for their recording sessions, shipping presenter kits to individual speakers to ensure the best video and audio quality, and designing a full virtual set within the allotted time were other challenges to be met.
Coordinating virtual elements to seamlessly integrate the ﬂow of the day, highlight the event partners, and keep attendees engaged was critical. SmartSource used their EventHub as a central location for the 164 conference attendees to log in and view the presentations. Additionally, the EventHub was applied to facilitate attended networking. A virtual exhibit hall was provided to CEIR, which enabled attendees to connect with exhibitors via Chat or 1:1 video communications. Live chat support was also oﬀered. Strong content combined with the right technology allowed attendees to remain engaged an average of 261 minutes.
Along with the live studio and its equipment, which consisted of VMix control stations, a PowerPoint slide advancement system was used, enabling the presenters to virtually control their presentations from their individual locations. A communications system that operates like a ClearCom system gave staﬀ real-time, virtual communication capability for show calling and collaboration. The eﬀective application of technology relied on SmartSource’s development and implementation of a well-thought-out plan, working in close concert and collaboration with the CEIR team and the other event Collaborator Partner, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE). Key plan elements were determined upfront and included timeline deliverables, scheduling of presenter rehearsals, content development, and the execution of the overall program platform.
SmartSource’s extensive experience, technical know-how, and event ingenuity was on full display at Predict, and the event was by all measures a great success.