Enhancing the Event Experience with Cisco Collaboration for Events
I have written a lot about Cisco’s use of virtual event technology to extend the reach and brand impact of our own events such as our user conferences, Cisco Live and Networkers, and our global sales conference, GSX, but in this post I want to dive into Fortune magazine’s use of virtual event technology.
In 2010 Fortune, a global business magazine, realized there was a potential to leverage their executive conferences to reach a much larger global audience. They decided to focus their efforts on the Fortune Brainstorm GREEN conference.
“Fortune editors view our conferences as the forum to invite the world’s smartest people to solve the world’s biggest problems,” says PJ Boatwright, vice president of conferences, Fortune magazine. “Our mission is to create a peer-to-peer experience for thought leadership and professional networking.”
So going hybrid seemed like a logical approach to extending the Fortune Brainstorm GREEN environmental sustainability messaging while extending the overall peer-to-peer interactions possible during the physical event to a much larger virtual audience. The question was what technologies should they leverage and who would be the best company to partner with to achieve their goals, which where to:
- Include virtual attendees anywhere in the world, engaging them in interactive conversations
- Sustain the content and dialogue long after the three-day conference concluded
- Make it very easy for people to view real-time and archived video and to contribute to the discussion
- Avoid technology mishaps during a highly visible event with leading business executives and government leaders from around the world
After researching the options Fortune decided to partner with Cisco and leveraged several Cisco Collaboration for Event technologies including:
- Cisco WebEx LiveStream
- Cisco Show and Share
- Cisco WebEx Advanced Services
The results more than met the goals:
- With the 300 in-person attendees joined by 1,700 who joined online, the Brainstorm GREEN 2010 conference reached nearly seven times as many people as the same conference the year before
- Virtual participants in Brainstorm GREEN joined the conference for an average of 3.6 hours
- 30 days after the event, more than 750 people had already visited the Cisco Show and Share portal, watching 1200 hours of video and viewing the comments area 7,800 times
Future Fortune conferences plan to take advantage of additional revenue opportunities such as subscription charges for the virtual conferences and sponsorship fees related to the virtual audience. Additional virtual event technologies will also be considered such as leveraging Cisco TelePresence to enable speakers who cannot travel to the event with speaking and audience engagement opportunities.
Boatwright concludes, “Based on the very positive Cisco Collaboration for Events experience, I can’t imagine moving forward on future hybrid events without Cisco.”