Anyone who has ever planned a hybrid event has had sweat-inducing nightmares about failure.
“As an event planner, you’re already sticking your neck on the line with all the stuff you’re doing at the event. Then someone says we want to broadcast everything over the web and make it publically-facing. At that point it doesn’t matter if your in-person event goes perfectly. If the stream fails, it’s a failure,” says Donny Neufuss, senior account manager for Mediasite Events.
Something Apple knows only too well after the stream of its highly-anticipated product launch failed last week. Thousands of outraged would-be viewers turned to Twitter to air their grievances, and a new hashtag was born: #thingsbetterthanapplelive. Dan Rayburn from Streaming Media wrote a comprehensive diagnosis here.
Donny says, “Preparation and planning are so important. But that’s only part of the picture. It’s also important to know when to call in a pro to architect your big events.”
He’s got three simple tips to ensure your next hybrid event highlights the content (not the mistakes) and makes the planner look like a star.
1. Going hybrid? Keep it simple.
Donny says that while embedded interactive elements are cool, proceed with caution. “When you embed a live stream onto a web page there are a lot of things happening all at once. All of the little pieces – slides, branding, ads – all of that contributes to the load you’re putting on the infrastructure,” he says.
“Embedding a Twitter feed and calling it a day is no big deal with 50 viewers. But if you have thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, you better allocate the resources to load that feed. If you don’t architect that part in addition to your streaming you’ll be in serious trouble.
2. Test, test, test. Think you got it? Test again.
How do we avoid capacity issues, delayed video streams or having the wrong audio play? “We test the day before, and we don’t just load the test onto our iPad onsite. We find people in locations that are going to be watching and get them to watch the test. You find out very quickly that different parts of the world have different issues with internet and bandwidth, and you need adequate time to diagnose that.”
3. Work with people you trust.
“We stream and capture content for hundreds of events and meetings like this. That’s why our events crew exists. That’s our only job,” says Donny. “We take on a lot of mission-critical stuff that event organizers would otherwise have to figure out themselves. With us, they’re able to focus on other aspects of the event, trusting that the live stream will go smoothly.