When NAB announced it wouldn’t be holding its annual conference and trade show in Las Vegas, exhibitors scrambled to figure out how best to get their messages to customers and the media. Since the announcement in March, dozens of companies have held their own webinars and virtual events—in fact, your email inbox has probably been inundated with invitations. NAB itself put together the NAB Show Express, and other in-person events are going online, including our own Streaming Media East Connect next month.
One of the most interesting virtual events to emerge from the chaos is the Virtual Video Summit. Set for May 6, it grew out of discussions among a group of NAB exhibitors that began before NAB even announced its change of plans. “The onset of COVID-19 and the wave of event cancellations had a number of us talking,” says Chris Hogan, chief revenue officer of System73 and Kuno, and the organizer of the Virtual Video Summit. “All of us had clients trying to consider what the world, events, and business would look like in a virtual world. [NAB is] one of several big opportunities for us to buy, sell, build relationships, and explore new technologies. So we started asking what we might do.”
After discussing various marketing initiatives, this group of technology and solutions providers, calling themselves the Video Technology Consortium, decided they would try to “lead by example”—after all, this is the streaming media industry—and put on a virtual event. One member of the group, Red5 Pro CEO Chris Allen, had worked with up-and-coming virtual event provider Hopin, and the group was able to work with Hopin to pull the event together in under 30 days.
“We are all excited to experience a video-based virtual conference with a main stage, sessions, booths, and networking,” says Hogan. “The belief across the group is that this will become a common new type of conference and event format. Live events will return, virtual events will rise, and the overall pie will grow. As a group of video technologists, we felt something of a duty to lead by example and show that running a virtual event isn’t intimidating. The costs were reasonable compared to in-person events and save both exhibitors and attendees time and travel. (The introverts in the group have been loving it).”
While events like Streaming Media East Connect emphasize editorial-driven content and include a sponsor component, events like the Virtual Video Summit offer buyers a chance to learn about vendor solutions in a cohesive, concise manner—more than a dozen companies will show off their stuff on the “main stage,” then offer Q&A sessions in “breakout rooms” and have representatives or pre-recorded videos available in “virtual booths.” The entire event is less 4 hours long. (I’ll be presenting a session myself, talking about what attendees can expect at Streaming Media Connect.)
Registration is free, and the Hopin platform is browser-based, so attendees won’t need to download anything to view the sessions and participate. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6.
Here’s the full list of Virtual Video Summit participants:
- Red5 Pro
- BlueFrame Technology
- Float Left
- Streaming Media East Connect