Speaker 1 (00:07):
Hi, and welcome to Episode 2 of Cramer On Demand, our new web series to share insights on virtual solutions. By the way, thank you so much for all of the positive feedback on Episode 1. We’re just happy that we can help. Now if you’ve been exploring virtual event platforms, you know the landscape is pretty crowded. So, we asked a couple of people who know about these technologies to give us the inside scoop. I’m here with Vinny Higgins, Director of Event technology, and Pat Leonard, Digital Solutions Producer. Thanks for joining us guys. Let’s dive in. So, Vinny when I Google virtual event platform about a dozen companies come up, can you give me your take on the technology landscape?
Vinny Higgins (01:15):
There are dozens and dozens of these platforms out there, but we’ve been doing this for many, many years and have stayed on top of the latest and greatest technologies out there. And we like to stick to the platforms that we know work. Some of those platforms are Vimeo Enterprise, ON24, Global Meet, Intrada, and also you can’t forget about the social platforms like YouTube Live, Facebook, LinkedIn, where we’re seeing great engagement, and even Instagram.
Speaker 1 (01:47):
So, Pat what do you look for when choosing the right platform?
Pat Leonard (01:51):
One of the first questions we’d like to ask is, is this for an internal or external audience? We have a lot of clients that are doing internal meetings, but we also have a lot that are doing external meetings. So, there’s different solutions depending on that. Other things to think about is your audience size. And if you’re going to have a lot of people chiming in remotely, and maybe they’re not able to be in our studio at the time. Also, we like to talk about the type of interactivity you want with your audience. Do you want to be able to have that question and answer functionality, the chatting, the polling, any other way that you can really connect with your audience. We’d like to start off with those questions and then narrow it down from there.
Vinny Higgins (02:27):
I always like to say objectives first, platform second.
Speaker 1 (02:33):
Is there a wide range of capabilities, or are things pretty standard?
Vinny Higgins (02:37):
I think when you really start to differentiate the features, is when you start talking about what the viewing experience looks like for the viewer. Is it a webcast player, or a more traditional webcast player, like a Global Meet, or ON24 that might have a two window look, or even Sonic Foundry is actually a great example of this, that will have a slide window and a video window, or is it just a player like in Vimeo Enterprise, or a YouTube? Typically, those platforms have much higher video quality, their HD quality video and there’s very little limitation on viewer size too. All those platforms allow for unlimited viewers. Your more traditional webcast players, you have to pay for more viewers, typically starting off around 500 viewers to a thousand viewers. Now where you really start to see a differentiation in on feature sets is when you start talking about your full–on virtual platforms, virtual event platforms, like Intrada where they’ll have things like networking lounges, breakout rooms, chat rooms, virtual expo halls, very, very feature–rich and way more than just a webcast player.
Pat Leonard (03:57):
Think about it like that, of what you were going to be offering on–site and how we can still offer that same capability within the virtual environment. If your event had sponsorship involved, you have to think about those sponsors as well, because without the sponsors your event might not be happening at all. So, what are they looking to get out of the event from a ROI standpoint? And there’s certainly lots of capabilities as Vinny said out there. And it’s really just trying to, again, talk to your audience, talk to your client and really determine what capabilities are the best solution for them.
Speaker 1 (04:26):
If it’s just a platform, is it a blank slate? Do you still have to create content?
Vinny Higgins (04:31):
We want to package it all up, make sure it looks nice, create some lower thirds. And again, that graphics package, maybe a intro bumper, an outro bumper, everything you would see when you’re watching live TV. Then you want to consider what does the platform look like. For some of these webcast players and platforms, there’s some branding elements that you can incorporate.
Speaker 1 (04:51):
What’s Cramer’s role in interacting with these platform companies?
Vinny Higgins (04:55):
We’ll partner with you and with our streaming partners to make sure that that content gets created and delivered to the platform. We basically own everything up until we hit the encoder and then send that content out into the internet. And I think the other part of that, key part of that is that we’re also experts in the technology. So, no matter what the platform is, we can work with it. We have the production and tech experts to make sure that it’s a success.
Speaker 1 (05:28):
Guys, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate all of your insights.
Vinny Higgins (05:33):
Thank you again.
Speaker 1 (05:34):
We hope that cleared up some of the questions you have about the different platform options. Cramer’s event technology team is always available to help you find the right solution for your event. Join us next time when we talk to Cramer’s Executive Creative Director, Mark Wilson, about designing a great online experience for your audience. Thanks for watching.