Technology is always advancing. 

What we all thought was impossible 10 years ago is now reality. The most influential technology that has changed our everyday life, of course is the Internet. The Internet has provided us with a variety of services particularly new ways to communicate virtually, from social media to video chatting and screen sharing.

These technologies provide us new opportunities with live events. We can now use the Internet to bring people into a live meeting from around the world -virtually.  

Unfortunately, most people are afraid to use them due to preconceived ideas of past failures. In the live event industry, we try to keep risk to a minimum and deliver a flawless presentation and I am here to tell you to not be afraid of using the internet as a tool to expand your event “out of the ballroom.” 

We have come a long way from slow internet speeds and bad video compressions that caused pixelated and jerky video.  

We recently just finished a business meeting in Mesa, Arizona in which we utilized teleconferencing to bring an outside technology presentation into our meeting.  

The goal was to have a live demonstration of a new virtual reality technology streamed into the ballroom from two different locations in Philadelphia. One facility presentation on left screen and the other presentation on the right screen with 2-way audio communication so we could hear and speak to the presenters.  

The client currently uses WebEx as their online conferencing service. So we used that as our platform to accomplish our goal.    

Our two outside locations and our on-site computer operator all dialed into the scheduled Telecon. Our operator was using a two-monitor setup in extended monitor mode on his PC. 

Each facility positioned their webcam at their portion of their live demonstration. 

Our operator took one demonstration and put it on one monitor and the other demonstration on his other monitor and made them full screen. For our AV tech guys, they just had to send each monitor image to each video projector with a video switcher. 

For the audio portion, we did a simple audio call into the telecon number so we could feed the two-way conversation to the audio board. It was also a backup if we lost the video portion. Speaking of backup, the presenter had sent us a video tape of the presentation just in case.

We dialed into the Telecon during the lunch break, so we knew we were up and running long before the presentation. We also did a rehearsal the day before at the same time as the scheduled presentation so we could match network traffic in the hotel. 

AV wise it was not technically challenging, as we simply needed a computer connected to the Internet, a hard phone line for communication and simple video switcher to route to the screens. The challenge, as always with streaming video is the bandwidth. In most modern hotels, it is almost guaranteed that there is access to the internet, but how fast is there bandwidth varies greatly and is the 

Some things to remember about hotel bandwidth

·     You pay a lot for your internet connections – make sure you ask about upload and download speeds during site surveys.  

·     It is also very easy to find out how fast it actually is once you get on site.

·     More traffic means slower speeds. Morning and afternoons is when everyone in the hotel is checking emails and downloading files. Plan accordingly. 

Finally, bringing outside presenters into your meeting and events really adds a nice dimension. Anything that changes up the paradigm of presenters at a podium reading PowerPoint. Don’t be afraid to use all the technologies now available like webcast and even video chat from a phone. Just plan and do a rehearsal. Your audience will really appreciate it.