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A closer look at Attendify’s virtual event platform

Last week we wrote about how we can make the event industry more resilient and shared a first look at Attendify’s forthcoming virtual event platform. This post is part of a series sharing Attendify’s progress in building a virtual event solution to help meet the challenges of the current moment.

We are now one month into the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States, and we still have no idea how extensive the human and economic toll will be. There’s little left to be said about the tragedy of the moment. For at least the next several months our lives will be very different, and within the event industry our livelihoods have been affected, in most cases severely. As we argued last week, we need to focus on what we can control and be as forward thinking as we can. The event industry will bounce back, but if we do nothing in this moment to build resilience into how we plan and produce events, then we’re at the mercy of the next shock.

Event planners, marketers and technologists are joined at the hip — we can’t succeed without each other. As Attendify takes its shot at building a virtual event platform, we’re sharing our progress, ideas, mockups and want to make this process as collaborative as possible. Please email me directly michael.balyasny@attendify.com if you have ideas, insights, comments, or if Attendify can help you in any way. 

This week I want to share a first look at the Town Hall feature, which is the first screen users will see when they log into Attendify’s virtual event experience. We’ll also dive deeper into the session experience I shared last week.

First Look: Town Hall

What does it feel like to walk into an event on the first day? At most events I’ve attended the experience typically starts with the registration desk, but there’s so much more going on. You feel the buzz of activity with attendees coming and going to sessions, networking with each other and grabbing their morning coffee. It’s exciting, it’s immersive, it’s why we’re all willing to invest so much time and money to attend events in person. 

That’s what inspired us to design a Town Hall feature that greets attendees with the same energy and sense of possibility that those first few steps in the event venue bring. Here’s a first look:

As you can tell we’re going for a dynamic and immersive experience. There’s a menu on the left hand side to give attendees access to everything the event has to offer. In the center your event brand will be featured prominently as well as the social activity stream, leaderboard, currently streaming sessions and more. We want attendees to dive right into either a content or networking experience and find the path that best suits their goals. 

Second Look: Session Experience

The session experience is probably the most important part of the virtual event and perhaps the hardest part to get right. We’re still working on it and making tweaks, so please share any insights into what would make it better suit your needs. Here are a few things we’ve been focused on improving.

Multiple Views

There are several ways to experience the session and configure the screen while watching. Attendees can access the full schedule and browse other sessions, you can extend the video to cover up the schedule or even watch the session full screen.

Social Options

Attendify has always been focused on social experiences and we want to bring those capabilities to virtual sessions. Each session includes an activity stream, list of attendees, polls and Q&A. Attendees can easily switch between views and participate. Notification bubbles alert them to new polls and keep them engaged in the conversation.

Multitasking

Toward the top of the screen attendees will have the ability to search the entire virtual experience, jump into private messages, push notifications or edit their profile without ever leaving the session they’re watching. We’re putting a big premium on multitasking because that’s part of what events are all about. When you’re at an event, you’re typically doing multiple things at once and fully engaging. We want to make that possible in a virtual environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve received over 400 emails from customers in response to previews we’ve shared, and your feedback and support has been enormously helpful and motivating. I’d like to share a few FAQs from those emails and answer them here:

  1. When is Attendify’s virtual experience going to launch? We’re targeting a launch date around 2 months from now, we’re moving quickly and will share engineering updates soon. 
  2. How much will it cost? We’re not ready to share pricing yet, but we’re working on it. What we can say is that prices will be reasonable and transparent. The platform will allow an end-to-end self-service experience so you can go live quickly. 
  3. What streaming services will you support? Initially we’re aiming to support existing streaming options like YouTube, Vimeo and Zoom. In a follow-up release we’ll add our own streaming option that will bring the entire experience to our platform for the simplest experience for planners, presenters and attendees. 
  4. Can we run simultaneous sessions/workshops? Yes, absolutely. You’ll be able to run as many simultaneous sessions as you need to. You do that in a live or pre-recorded format. 
  5. Can we manage registration and limit access to virtual sessions? Absolutely, you can use Attendify to manage session registration and attendees will only see and access the virtual sessions they signed up for. 

What’s Next?

We’ll share more insights into what we’re building next week. If you’d like to sign up for the email updates, please visit our newly launched product page: https://attendify.com/product/virtual-experience/

Thank you for your continued support!

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