It’s day one of a big conference and while most attendees are shaking hands, trading business cards and clamoring for the best seat to catch the opening keynote, there’s a small number of individuals sitting at their office computers sipping coffee and firing up their internet connection.

For the next several hours these in-office folks network with other attendees, watch live sessions via event webcasting and ask questions of presenters and panelists. While lack of time and money might have kept them from going in person, the hybrid event helps bridge time and distance, giving them a rich, interesting and customized experience.

Event technology and meeting planning are becoming even more fused, making hybrid meetings – complementing your face-to-face live sessions with viewing over the web either in real-time or on-demand – prevalent in practically every industry.

A recent study on hybrid events revealed that 70% of event planners say hybrid meetings are rapidly becoming an important part of the meeting and events industry, so chances are you’ll be planning your own hybrid event soon. We believe event webcasting is the best way to maximize that online experience. Read on for a hit list of event webcasting features and five reasons you need to incorporate it into your next conference.

Features of event webcasting:

  • Captures what happens in the room
  • In many cases contains rich media, including video of the speaker and a separate window for slides or video – For exampleThe Elite Meetings Alliance event for meeting planners earlier this spring in San Diego was captured via Mediasite. Watch some of the on-demand presentations.
  • Real-time and on-demand – so both groups can see it later
  • Registration, security, reporting
  • Cost effective – there’s no editing or post-production
  • Ecommerce – you can charge for an entire conference pass or individual presentations
  • Easy-to-use – the speaker just walks in, plugs in their laptop and begins

Why is webcasting essential for conferences?

  • Allows individuals to save time and money on travel and still attend
  • Gives the content a longer life. It’s available for review 365 days a year; not just during the meeting
  • Online attendees can engage with people on-site through a mix of social media channels or dedicated chat streams
  • Helps you increase awareness of your brand
  • Individuals who attend online are more likely to show up in person next year

This post first appeared at Active’s RegOnline Product Blog. You can read it here