What you can learn from the world’s largest IT conferences about staging online events
Hi! This is Fujiwara from GP.
As we continue to rethink the way large-scale events are being held, online is becoming the mainstream for IT conferences as well. 2020 saw the majority of events, both domestic and international, large and small, take place online.
While the shift to online events has its limitations and disadvantages for the organizers, there are also many IT conferences that take advantage of the advantages of online.
In this issue, we will introduce specific examples of world-renowned large-scale IT conferences that have expanded their possibilities online.
WWDC, the world’s largest IT conference
The first example we will take up this time is the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) hosted by Apple Inc. It is a major IT conference held for system developers from all over the world. It is known for attracting the attention not only of engineers but also of Apple product users in general.
WWDC has been held annually since 1990, but last year was the first time it was held online. In previous years, about 6,000 people gathered at the venue, but the total number of viewers in 2020 was around 2.2 million.
1. Designing interactive communication online
Apple has developed a dedicated website and application on the web for the online event. For example, the site enables various types of mutual communication online, such as creating a forum for discussion between in-house technicians and participants.
2. Structure the presentation as if it were a movie
Like many IT conferences, WWDC has traditionally featured speakers on stage and presentations. In bringing the event online, Apple has shown great creativity in the way it presents and organizes its presentations.
The keynote session from 2020 is still available on Apple’s official YouTube channel.
The presentations by about 20 speakers and introductions of the company’s products are seamlessly connected and presented in a single, realistic video.
“Galaxy Unpacked” with 56 million total viewers
The second case study we will discuss is Galaxy Unpacked August 2020, the first online product launch conducted by Samsung Electronics. In the year of the regular event, the number of participants was around 4,000, but in 2020 the total audience reached 56 million.
1. Expansive gallery face view in the main studio
The most eye-catching feature of the event is the face-on gallery view, which was composited into the background of the main stage where the presenters stand. While it was not possible to get a large group of people together in real time, the production of the faces of the people involved lined up in real time was used very effectively.
2. A Substage next to the main studio
A separate sub-stage was set up next to the main studio, and the images were switched back and forth so that viewers do not get bored, during the lengthy event.
3. 3DCG production to launch three-dimensional products
The product introduction utilizes 3DCG synthesis to make the products seem to jump out of the screen. The production is designed to showcase new products in a dynamic and symbolic way.
The Galaxy Unpacked is also uploaded to Samsung Electronics’ official YouTube channel, where it can still be viewed today.
The face-on gallery view of the main studio background is an impressive presentation that enlivens the presenters.
Unraveling Global Case Studies and Identifying Key Points for future ideas
Some of you may look at the examples and think, “I can’t do anything that elaborate ……”. It may indeed be difficult to achieve everything at the same level, but you can learn ideas and get inspiration from them.
Let’s take another look at the WWDC and Galaxy Unpacked case studies to extract the key points to keep in mind for online IT conferences.
Point #1: Incorporate the top presentation as the opening content
Normally, the main speaker would appear on stage after the opening VTR has finished playing. However, with online, it is possible to create a VTR that includes the top presentation. After careful planning of facial expressions, voice, standing position, and even the attire, the opening can be used to express the ideas that you want to convey by making full use of the unique effects of video.
Point #2: To create a sense of immersion in the images, “sound” and “pauses” are used to create a sense of crispness.
The streaming video shows how “sound (SE, background music)” and “pauses” are used to create a slow and steady pace in order to deliver the content to the viewer over a long period of time. Even for online viewing, this kind of detailed direction is essential in order to make viewers feel as immersed in the content as possible.
Point #3: Shooting in the company’s own facilities to create a sense of unity as a company
At WWDC in particular, not only are they creative in the way they showcase their products, but they also shoot all of their videos at their own facilities, maximizing the appeal of their sprawling corporate offices. One of the advantages of online conferences is the ability to utilize the company’s own offices and facilities, rather than a venue that is not particularly well-connected to the brand nor vision.
Case Study: Production of an IT conference for 2,000 people
Global Produce has also assisted in the production of several online IT conferences.
For example, a global company that offers a wide range of products hosted an IT conference that attracted more than 2,000 business partners over two days. We delivered all content online, including not only the lectures, but also the seminars and award ceremonies at multiple locations.
Including the aforementioned key points, such as the top presentation movie and the crisp presentation, we pursued expressions that matched the corporate image, conference objectives, concept, and target audience.
We also adopted a chat-enabled platform to create an environment that allows interactive communication with viewers.
Know the expanded possibilities, not the limitations.
There are many other ways to stage an event that take advantage of the online nature of the event, in addition to the ones I have introduced here, and I expect that visual technologies and communication methods that match IT conferences will continue to be updated in the future.
We would like to focus on the possibilities that have been expanded, rather than those that have been limited by online, and aim to create events that reach a wider audience.