Basic Event Information
Date: 5 – 6 October 2020
Location: Novi Sad, Serbia
Organizer: M2Communications in partnership with Creative Media Art
Event Type: Online Conference
EVENT CATEGORY: DIGITAL EVENTS | Online Event – ONLINE CONFERENCE
Event description and key objectives
Webiz 8.0 2020 is a live virtual conference on new technologies, innovation and IT entrepreneurship, held this year for the eighth consecutive time.
Four key segments of the conference agenda – Fintech, E-commerce, Gaming and Martech – were presented over the course of two days of this unique virtual conference, featuring 36 speakers from the region, Western Europe and Singapore, who introduced to the audience the latest trends in the above fields during more than 15 presentations and panel discussions. We set ourselves a task to maintain the Webiz continuity and even upgrade the event in these highly challenging times for the event industry. Webiz Upgrade was our goal. Our strategic decision was to organize the entire Webiz 2020 conference in an online format, whose concept was based on a tailor-made virtual solution to bring a brand new digital experience to the audience. With creative use of technology, we were able to set new standards in organizing online conferences in the region.
In these times of uncertainty, pandemic and unprecedented challenges that the event industry is facing, the times when no mass gatherings are organized, it was a highly challenging task to create a completely different virtual event and move boundaries when it comes to gathering relevant professionals and sharing knowledge and experience.
We had to motivate people who are used to attending live events and prompt them to take part in a virtual conference and pass the same or even greater excitement on to them through extraordinary digital experience and offer them interesting content by careful selection of speakers, topics and formats.
Webiz has become a synonym of a conference that has been educating and inspiring people for the past 8 years now, through dissemination of knowledge, ideas, new trends and motivation. This time, we were able to move this boundary and provide to the participants a genuine virtual experience and bring about a new dimension of online events in the region. For this occasion, the main conference stage was designed in a genuine, animated 3D environment, wherein we ‘placed’ all the participants, both those addressing the audience from the live studio and those featuring online from remote locations. The entire virtual set-up was live streamed in real time.
The Webiz virtual 3D environment consisted of:
– Four different 3D studios for each conference segment;
– More than 20 animations that complemented the atmosphere of conference space;
– Animated sliding LED screens displaying sponsored content;
– Animated sliding LED screens displaying the appearance of online panellists;
– A plethora of animated backgrounds that additionally enriched the visual experience of the conference;
In addition to the set-up and accompanying solutions through interactive applications, we enabled all the participants to actively participate in content creation and conference experience. The live streaming platform was upgraded with Q&A and live polls applications to allow the audience to ask questions and give opinions on specific topics.
According to many, Webiz 8.0 is the first truly virtual conference in the region. Linking the live program created in the green screen studio with a custom-made 3D environment is the first step forward towards enhancing virtual conference production. By carefully testing camera angles, mapping camera positions and light design we achieved a high degree of realistic visual experience of the conference.
Registration and payment of the conference fees were only made online. The Webiz website is linked to one of the biggest ticketing platforms to simplify the process of registration and payment of conference fees. Access codes for the conference were generated automatically and emailed to the participants.
Highly dedicated production team, one month of preparations and immaculate logistics and organization contributed to the smooth and seamless organization and a stress-free event atmosphere, even though it was the first time we organized it in this format.
The event was challenging in terms of adjusting the studio to a 3D environment, and complex in terms of technical implementation:
• Full 3D environment adjusted to live streaming in real time;
• Custom-made 3D animated studio;
• Realistic camera angles;
• Studio with a green screen covering over 60 square metres;
• More than 25 people involved in executive implementation of the event;
• Live support team available to conference viewers.
Our virtual studio was equipped with six full HD cameras for precise mapping of positions to achieve a realistic viewing angle in a 3D environment. Live streaming was facilitated by technical tools for real-time appearance of speakers from distant locations live on the 3D studio screen, and audience interaction solutions, like Q&A and live polls software. The event was directed from an off-site production control room wherefrom the production team was running each and every segment of the event organization and live stream via 30 control monitors.
The conference served as a forum for exchanging ideas, innovation, methods and practices, and also enabled the linking of professionals and companies at the international level.
The conference was viewed online by more than 4,273 people. On day one, with 1,851 viewers, the overall view rate was 160,577 minutes, and on day two, with 2,422 viewers, the overall view rate was 215,742 minutes. The average view rate was more than 400 unique viewers per hour. Program-wise, Webiz 8.0 surpassed all its previous editions in live format. The conference was extended to four segments, and the most current topics in the fields of IT, innovation, marketing and gaming, was discussed by 36 speakers. The total of 12 panel discussions and 4 interviews were held.
Speakers included representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, USAID, Gaming and e-Commerce Association, leading gaming companies, such as Playrix RS and Nordeus, eSport association, successful companies from e-Commerce, Fintech and Martech sectors, such as OTP bank, VIP mobile, Direct Media, Intelisale, Donesi, etc.
An intensive promo campaign was conducted for one month on social media, with primary focus on Facebook and Instagram, and with secondary focus on LinkedIn. This included daily posting of content in the form of videos, animations, announcements, brief statements by participants, and creative IG Stories. Digital banners were posted on two biggest web portals. Four TV appearances of program managers and conference PRs were also organized. Numerous affiliate partners from the ICT and marketing sectors advertized and followed the conference. Webiz was also announced via web portals and newsletters of two most influential business networks – the AmCham and the Serbian Association of Managers. Following the conference, our press release was published by 12 digital media, including all most influential ones, as well as by two TV stations.
As for social media, the event was predominantly followed on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, and then Twitter. More than 600 participants shared their experiences on social media, with the overall social media reach of over 120,000.
The use of sustainable practices
During the conference preparations and implementation, we took maximum care of health and safety of all the participants and the production team. To that effect, strict COVID-19 sanitary measures were applied. All the rooms and equipment were disinfected prior to the arrival of the production team. Temperature was taken at the entrance to the studio, use of face masks was mandatory for everyone except the hosts and speakers during their presentations or panel discussions. Hand sanitizers were available on all tables, control room and studio. The maximum number of persons allowed in each room was strictly set, and a minimum 2-metre distance was kept. The distance between the speakers on stage was 1.5 metres. Food was only served from closed cardboard boxes, while coffee and drinks were served in disposable paper cups.