Customer Counseling: How Events are Evolving

Andrea Brown, member of the Organizing Team for the International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR), spoke to SlidesLive about her event planning experiences over the past few years.

ICLR presents and publishes research involving artificial intelligence, statistics, and data science. The conference gathers professionals with the goal of advancing representation learning, a branch of artificial intelligence. The conference is one of the largest in its field, with around 2700 attendees in 2019.

“SlidesLive contacted us in 2018/2019 when we were just deciding to add live online presentations to our program for attendees that were unable to attend the conference for various reasons,” Andrea said.

SlidesLive helped Andrea and her team develop the event virtually. Expanding the event to the virtual world helped the conference gain viewers, and ultimately helped spread knowledge to those unable to make it.

“The favorite features were the high-quality live streaming, recording and the upload of the recordings with closed captions a few days later and the metrics to track viewership of each recorded presentation,” Andrea said.

Allowing the event to continue to grow in viewing even after it has concluded is a powerful way to spread awareness of the event’s significance. SlidesLive produced the video content and gathered analytics data while Andrea and her team enjoyed the longevity of their conference. As a video production company, SlidesLive aims not only to create high quality recordings but to expand the lifetime of events around the world, eventually creating the Library of Alexandria of the 21st century.

Although Andrea created a bond with SlidesLive in 2018/2019, she naturally expressed concern about the 2020 conference.

“My biggest concern for 2020 was the sheer number of recordings needed for the virtual conference in a short amount of time,” Andrea said. “Additional concerns were the ability to get quality recordings of our invited speakers, all of the poster presentations and of course working with all of our workshops organizers to successfully livestream and record their individual day-long meetings.”

ICLR is a large conference with a large number of speakers, making the idea of an all virtual event somewhat nerve racking for an event planner. SlidesLive ensures quality recordings, offering a 24/7 tech support team that can meet with speakers to advise them on their recordings. The team instructs speakers on how to position themselves, where the light should be coming from, and how their microphones and webcams should be set up.

Andrea and her team at ICLR also had other transitions to make when going virtual. The world around them was changing quickly, and their conference had to adjust at the same speed.

“The most difficult transition needed was finding and/or creating a platform on our website that had a schedule that could be adjusted according to the attendees time zones, and providing the livestreaming/recording pages for our invited speakers, poster presenters and workshops,” Andrea said.

And as an international conference, Andrea also had to ensure that all of her attendees, from all areas of the world, were satisfied.

“We needed to find or create a virtual sponsor hall for our sponsors (exhibitors),” Andrea said. “It was also important for our attendees, worldwide, to have access to these recorded presentations — China included.”

Lucky for Andrea, SlidesLive provided the live and recorded presentations for the ICLR expo lunch talks.

Additionally, Andrea offered her opinion on the evolution of the event industry from an event planner perspective. With the in-person and virtual worlds colliding, there’s a lot in store for the future.

“I think that most events will be virtual through 2021, but will move into a hybrid of virtual and physical events in 2022 and moving forward,” Andrea said. “There has been a need for a virtual presence for a long time to accommodate the attendees that cannot afford to attend a physical event, disabled attendees and attendees that cannot travel for various reasons. I don’t think that it will reduce the number of attendees physically attending because there is still the desire and need for collaboration and networking among people.”

As the world adjusts to a new way of life, so must our events. SlidesLive is planning ahead, enabling new features and opportunities to take your event to the next level. Check out advice from another event planner and customer we spoke with, and come back next week to learn more about pre-recordings.



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