Six out of Twelve Technology Trends to Watch for 2012: Hybrid meetings will extend the reach and broaden the impact of face-to-face events.

This is the sixth in a series of 12 weekly blog postings covering the major technology trends affecting conferences, events and trade shows:

6. Hybrid meetings will extend the reach and broaden the impact of face-to-face events.

A hybrid meeting is an event that combines both face-to-face and virtual experience for local and remote attendees. It will become commonplace for many events in the next few years. Meeting professionals are recognizing that it has become much easier to extend the impact of an event beyond the four walls of the meeting room. A hybrid event can multiply the event’s impact and can recruit new attendees for future events.

Live steaming sites such as LiveStream.com provide easy methods to stream conference video to remote attendees with a range of pricing plans from free to enterprise level. Increasingly, interactive tools such as polling and remote Q&A will engage the remote participants. Twitter.com using event hashtags is currently being used to allow remote attendees to comment and ask questions during a presentation as well.

Skype.com can connect HD video signal from four locations for free. The HD option allows events to bring in remote speakers or groups in high enough quality to project on a large screen in a meeting room.

Google Hangouts (plus.google.com/hangouts) is a great free, new option for events allowing video from up to ten locations to be seen on each screen in a reliable and relatively low-bandwidth format.  Event Camp Europe (eventcamp.eu) has recently used Hangouts to have a “Hybrid Wine Tasting” connecting face-to-face groups from four cities in Europe. The wine was shipped to the four cities, poured and distributed, the wine was introduced and described, attendees held the wines, smelled the bouquets, and tasted them. All five senses were engaged simultaneously in multiple locations!

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One Response to “Six out of Twelve Technology Trends to Watch for 2012: Hybrid meetings will extend the reach and broaden the impact of face-to-face events.”

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