Top Tech Tools for Hosting a Hybrid Event
Planning a hybrid event is a different beast than planning a solely in-person event. It not only requires all of the planning for the in-person element of the event, but it also requires additional planning for the virtual aspect, which, if you’ve never planned a virtual event before (or even if you have), can be daunting.
On top of finding the right venue, catering partners, attendee accommodations, etc., you need to find the right technology to support your event’s needs. What kind of event technology does a hybrid event require? On top of the typical tech (video cameras, sound, lighting), hybrid events require tools to effectively engage the online audience.
What are the top four tech tools to invest in for your hybrid event?
1. Webinar Platform
This one is an absolute must. A webinar platform allows attendees to join sessions remotely, and it’s much more interactive than simply a live stream. Webinar platforms make it possible for online attendees to interact in chats, join virtual breakout rooms, learn from interactive trainings, ask questions, and more in real time. It allows them to contribute to the event rather than just watching it on a screen. You can even invite guest speakers to speak virtually through a webinar platform if they aren’t available to present in person. This is becoming more popular as hybrid events are on the rise.
There are a ton of great webinar platforms to choose from, so make sure to do your due diligence in deciding which is best suited for your next hybrid event. Whichever you go with, just make sure you have the right team in place to monitor the webinar while it’s in session.
2. Event App
An event app for hybrid events can add a lot of value for your attendees. Apps can serve as a central place for all the information an in-person or online attendee could need such as schedules, locations, session info, etc. It can also provide another avenue for your virtual attendees to engage, eliminating that layer of disconnection from the event. You can set it up to be the central communication center and allow for interactive elements. This could look like hosting live Q&As that attendees can access and participate in from their phones or even the implementation of interactive quizzes or polls.
This will greatly help in keeping both your in-person audience and your online audience engaged and on the same page throughout the entire event. You can also use it as a place to store resources like any complimentary PDFs, decks, or print outs your event may offer. Since most people use their phones for a large portion of their online engagement, an event app is a great way to meet your attendees’ needs and offer them access to your event in the palm of their hand.
3. Live 360 Degree Video Streaming
To give your online event attendees the opportunity to see everything that the in-person attendees see, you can use live 360-degree video streaming. This transports your virtual audience right into the center of your event and gives them an all-around view of what’s going on. It’s an immersive, front row seat to the event in real time. To implement this tech tool, you’ll need a streaming platform and the right cameras to pair with it.
It’s important to talk with your tech team while selecting the right equipment for live-360 streaming. They may or may not already have the proper cameras to get the job done. If they don’t, there are a variety of options to choose from:
…to name a few. You can set the camera or cameras up up in one main area of your event or use multiple in different rooms or spaces for the full effect. Just be sure that the equipment you choose is compatible with the streaming platform you use.
360-Video Steaming Platforms
There are plenty of streaming platforms that can host your 360-live video stream. Facebook now offers this feature through their platform, as does Youtube and Vimeo. There are also other companies like WOWZA and StreamShark that offer platforms specifically focused on live-360 streaming.
Pro Tip: You can connect this feature via some platforms to your event app so that your attendees can join right into the action from their phones.
4. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality isn’t just for gaming anymore. Level up your live 360-video streaming by adding virtual reality capabilities to your event. Many streaming providers, like Facebook, YouTube, WOWZA, and StreamShark, are starting to offer this option due to the increase we’ve seen in virtual events. Your hybrid event can greatly benefit from this unique and inclusive offering that is accessible now more than ever.
With this feature, not only can virtual attendees feel as if they are in the room with the in-person attendees, but they can even join in on live training sessions or demonstrations, group games, entertainment, tours, and more through their VR headsets.
A few great, cost effective options for VR headsets that you can send your virtual attendees before the hybrid event begins are below.
- Google Cardboard
- Google Daydream View
- Homido VR Headset for iPhone and Android
- Samsung Gear VR
- Merge VR Goggles
All of these great tech tools for hybrid events can be used to show your virtual attendees that you want to provide them with the same great experience you’re giving your in-person audience. It helps keep the virtual engagement up and contributes to the cohesiveness of the event overall.
Protect Your Tech
With all of this hybrid event technology, you’ll want to make sure your event is properly covered with the right event insurance in case any on-site damages, injuries, cancellations, or other issues occur. With hybrid events especially, consider getting cyber security insurance to protect your event planning business in the unfortunate event that there is a leak of attendee information. This protects your company in case any attendee contact info, payment info, or other sensitive information is compromised.
NOW Insurance offers comprehensives coverage for event planners that is simple, fast and affordable. In under three minutes, you can fill out our simple application and secure the perfect insurance plan for your business without ever talking to someone on the phone.