Thinking Beyond Zoom: Three Exciting Advances in the World of Hybrid Meetings

One trend that’s here to stay as we emerge from the pandemic? The hybrid meeting.

Since virtual meetings here to stay and in-person meetings back in full-swing, it’s important to be able to do both simultaneously and do them well. This means designing inclusive, hybrid meetings – built with all attendees in mind. Effective hybrid meetings may require incorporating extra technological features or even the expertise of an event producer to be as engaging as possible for both live and remote attendees. But shifting to a hybrid meeting format doesn’t have to mean a trade-off.

Here are three examples of companies who are introducing exciting advances to the world of hybrid meeting planning and production:

Audience Engagement Measurement Tools to Take the Guesswork out of Audience Engagement​

Array recently expanded its portfolio with the launch of the Array Content Engagement Score (ACES). The new tool — designed to be used for in-person events, fully online meetings, and hybrid events — monitors how engaged participants are with any content being presented. Data collected from participant contributions, including questions and responses to polling, is used by ACES’ algorithms to measure attendee engagement. These data points divide participants into four categories: Conversationalist, Contributor, Joiner, and Spectator. ​

Created to support those who produce investigator meetings, medical advisory boards, continuing medical education symposia, and other life-sciences events, the technology is useful in determining how much information has been transferred and retained. “Especially for ad boards and investigator meetings, you need to understand how participants are engaging with the content and taking part in the conversation to ensure you’re getting the outcomes you need,” says Jeannie Griffin, vice president of product management with Array.

Augmented Reality for Better Work Meetings​

During the 2021 WebExOne event, telecommunications giant Cisco unveiled a preview of Webex Hologram, a real-time hybrid meeting solution utilizing augmented reality and 3D holograms. ​

Differentiating itself from other 2D and virtual meeting tools, which are currently dominating the hybrid work market, Webex Hologram enables a feeling of true co-presence by delivering holographic images of actual people. In theory, this should allow companies to set up life-like work meetings, regardless of whether certain employees are operating remotely. In addition, the new tool will allow users to share both virtual and physical content and co-create.​

“Webex Hologram represents a large step toward our mission of delivering a work experience so seamless that there is no gap between virtual and in-person collaboration,” said Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager, Cisco Security and Collaboration.

Merging Online and Offline Touchpoints​ for an Immersive Hybrid Meeting

Tricor Hong Kong (Tricor) leveraged its proprietary, award-winning e-meeting solution SPOT to create an immersive experience for both online and in-person guests at their annual corporate governance conference. ​

SPOT enables both online and offline participants to experience the conference with elements like live streaming and eVoting. In addition, as an alternative to traditional event booths, the brand designed an experiential lounge where participants could try out Tricor’s digital products live on-site. Participants could also participate online via a live webcam.​

In a hybrid event, it is essential that the meeting experience is consistent across online and offline touchpoints. By using SPOT’s live streaming capability and interactive technology, it was possible for online participants to benefit from the same meeting experience.

Regardless of what new and exciting technology or platform you plan to integrate into your next hybrid meeting, it’s important to keep these best practices in mind:

  • Understand what your audience needs—Avoid getting distracted by the plethora of gadgets at your disposal and remember that the point of any meeting is to deliver value to attendees. Stay focused on meeting your audience’s needs and you’ll be able to find the appropriate tech solution to execute a phenomenal hybrid meeting.
  • Keep remote attendees at the forefront—Ensuring remote attendees are engaged while executing the live component is crucial. For example, recognize that remote attendees will not have the same attention span as in-person attendees, so keep the presentations punchy and brief. You’ll also want to ensure remote attendees have a way to interact with speakers and other attendees.
  • Facilitate shared experiences—Getting both audience types to experience something together will enhance the meeting for everyone involved. Consider setting up polling, live votes, and Q&As to engage the remote audience, especially during breaks and intermissions when live attendees will be networking. You can also find ways to replicate the meal experience by delivering food to the houses of remote attendees before or during the meeting.
  • Form a strong partnership with the venue—This is paramount for ensuring a successful hybrid meeting. This way, you can make sure there’s high-speed Internet access and a strong A/V team to troubleshoot technical issues. Additionally, you’ll want to work with the venue to optimize room layouts and breakout spaces.

 

Need a partner to help you flawlessly execute your next hybrid meeting?  Let’s connect!