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Technology Companies Race to Improve Live Events Services.

Andy Robertson

In response to an industry decimated by the coronavirus pandemic it’s a welcome sign that some of the big technology giants are improving their platforms to help an industry run their events albeit in a virtual environment. Previously used for small meetings or webinars the technology is being leveraged to allow for larger externally focused events. 

The business community has not been able to hold conferences or exhibitions since April 2020 and events companies have had no choice but to move their activities online. Some of the tech giants have made improvements in recent months in response to this increased demand. Some of their solutions work well and others still need further work. A quick look at the current providers at least gives some choice:

Microsoft Live Events.
An organisation really needs to be a signed-up advocate of Microsoft to take advantage of their offering. The Live Events service was born out of their Teams product and really only works across Teams, Yammer, and Stream. The Live Events service allows for on demand events using video and interactive discussion with up to 10,000 attendees that can participate in real-time from anywhere, on any device. Due to customer demand, they have extended the service to allow for 20,000 external attendees and a broadcast time of 16 hours.

Cisco Webex Events & Webcasting.
This service has been around for a long time and has a good reputation for running small webinars. They do seem a little slow on developing the technology for larger scale live events and there is currently a limit of 3,000 attendees unless the event is pre-recorded for later broadcast as a webcast.

Become almost the default video conferencing tool of the coronavirus era, until recently Zoom has had serious limits on numbers of live event attendees (not more than 500). However, Zoom now boast that it can run up to 1,000 people on video, or using Zoom Video Webinars can scale to up to 10,000 attendees. 

Livestrom is one of the few providers that use only the browser technology rather than having to download Apps. It does have a limit of 1,000 attendees and although popular has not been seen to scale up the number of attendees yet.

There are many other providers on the market so it's worth doing some research before making a selection. It's also important to understand how these technologies work, they are all slightly different making direct comparisons difficult. In addition, check the add on features available for attendee registration and data collection for future marketing purposes. Some services allow for interactive real time events and others do not so it depends on the event organisers requirements. Recording and documentation availability could also be a consideration for some event organisers.

For event organisers planning their events for 2021 using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing speakers, venues, sponsors and ticketing. 

Image by Fox via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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