Enabling remote presenters

ico-screengrab

Yesterday we successfully webcast an international conference on data protection enforcement being run by the…

Posted by BeThere Global on Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Above is a screen grab of the on demand webcast made available after the event for those who couldnt make the live stream.

Zoom Zoom!

Zoom logo

 
A couple of days ago, we carried out a live link up between a hotel meeting room in Basingstoke, UK and a conference room in Washington DC, USA.

This wasn’t a webcast as such, because there was no requirement for viewers to join via the web. It was in fact a co-presented session at the National Speakers Association Conference “Influence 2015” in Washington DC on “Creating a new income stream with hybrid and virtual events”.

What was different was that the two speakers were more than 3000 miles apart; Media Coach Alan Stevens was on stage at the Marriott Wardman Park, while PlanetPlanit’s Paul Cook was (along withe the BeThere Global team) at the Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke and projected on the screen in Washington.

For 90 minutes the pair entertained and informed the 100 or so physical delegates in the room in Washington – all professional speakers of course – on the very subject of “virtual speaking”.

From the flow of questions and the dialogue that ensued, clearly a topic of great interest to this audience. The session took the form of a masterclass in this particular form of hybrid event.

Topics covered included the future of events and how the landscape is changing and the different forms that hybrid events can take. But the lion’s share of the time, was devoted to practical hints and tips about how to dress, suitable backgrounds, how to address the camera, ensuring audience engagement and some of the technologies that enable it all to happen.  All of course presented from the perspective of a professional speaker.

In our role as creators of virtual and hybrid events, there was nothing particularly new or radical about this event, although for the audience in Washington it was quite a novelty. Where the interest lies for us, is in the fact that we were able to carry out a synchronous audio and video hook up without the expense of a cumbersome video conferencing unit at one extreme and without the vagaries and unpredictability of Skype at the other. Until recently these were really the only two practical options. One very expensive, the other just a bit scary and unpredictable!

What we used instead was a service called Zoom.us, which is essentially software video conferencing. Using this together with the hotels’ broadband connections (at both ends) and our regular BeThere Global hardware meant we lost none of our portability or speed of set up but were able to deliver something that would have been very complicated and costly not so long ago. What is exciting in terms of pushing the envelope for virtual events is that this same software allows the participation of up to 25 “callers” – or in our context “speakers”. With the right event design and careful management multi location virtual events are now an affordable reality for the mainstream conference market. This is fortunate, as we are increasingly being asked to provide exactly that!

 

New solutions

Maarten Emons
Maarten Emons test driving his BeThere Global SOLO

We are delighted to have delivered the first BeThere Global SOLO system to Ngi-NGN (the Dutch Computer Society).
This is a single camera, self-operated system that allows organisations to record and live stream events for themselves. It all packs into the very compact bag and weighs in at less than 15Kgs.

With only a little training, Maarten Emons (Elected Member of Board for the Dutch Computer Society and responsible for Marketing and Communication) and his team are up and running live streaming their events.

Said Maarten;

“The BeThere Global SOLO is for the Dutch Computer Society a low cost and easy to operate device to let volunteers broadcast our sessions. Currently we are experimenting and thinking of buying more systems next year. It takes us 25 minutes to set-up and start streaming to YouTube. The support given by BeThere Global was great! We are working together to make a good instruction manual and further improve the system. So far a great solution which will have a big impact for our association!”

If your organisation is interested in a “self-drive” webcasting solution then the BeThere Global SOLO could be for you, please get in touch! 

VMWorld 2013 – engaging with remote audiences and adding value for delegates

VMWorld 2013 Europe took place at the Fira in Barcelona with more than 8,000 IT professionals attending. This is an event on a massive scale, spreading as it does across 3 halls with 24 separate rooms with over 200 educational sessions. We were delighted to be there to capture some of the conference content and working with our friends at Blitz Communications and the producers of the overall event, Jack Morton Worldwide.

It would seem logical to assume that the primary objective for VMWare was to get a greater return on their investment in the event by giving some of the content life beyond the event itself. Of course by engaging with a remote audience of “non-attendees”, there’s a fair chance some of them will decide to attend next time or otherwise ‘buy-in’ to the VMWare offer. At the same time of course they are giving the physically attending delegates the opportunity to revisit sessions, see sessions they missed or share them with colleagues; all adding value, developing and continuing the relationship with their customers, partners and prospects.

The BeThere Global team were contracted to record 29 of the sessions and post them to the VMWorld YouTube channel daily.

Just to make life interesting, the Spotlight Sessions selected for recording were taking place in different rooms! Our technician, working largely solo, had to be able to move the conference recording system to any one of the 24 session rooms and be up and running in less than 30 minutes.

The photo above shows the solution. We utilized a roving Conference Recording Cart with a robotic camera and redundant encoders that could be moved quickly and be recording within a few minutes of arriving in the room.

The content recorded was offered free to view on the VMWare YouTube channel and embedded in the VMWorld 2013 Spotlight Sessions page. The viewing statistics are impressive and show there is significant demand for this content; just one week after the event viewers had consumed over 730 hours of Spotlight Session recordings.

For demonstration purposes, we have created a page that shows just some of the Spotlight Sessions with Twitter comments alongside – an indication of the engagement the content has created for VMWare. Perhaps an indicator that recording the entire catalogue of 200 sessions might be a smart move next time!

By the way, the recordings on this page are hosted on YouTube. Try turning on the captions. If you speak any languages other than English try the translated captions.

 

 

BeThere Global Wins Competitive Pitch for PASS Summit 2012

PRESS RELEASE
Recording and streaming experts BeThere Global to record and stream content from the world’s largest conference for Microsoft SQL Server professionals.

PASS Summit 2012 takes place in Seattle, Washington from 6 – 9 November and is attended by over 3,800 SQL Server professionals. With over 120,000 members in 188 countries PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) is dedicated to helping the Microsoft SQL Server community to connect, share and learn. BeThere Global’s success is based on three fundamental principles – the belief that all conference recordings should be:

  • Compelling to watch
  • Compatible with the widest possible range of playback devices
  • Easy to purchase

“BeThere Global proposed an integrated and creative approach to PASS to suit our ‘tech savvy’ audience. We’ve created PASS TV, a live stream broadcast of three 12-hour days of technical sessions with an overnight replay. It’s a great concept and one that we’re exited to be sharing with our members”

said Thomas LaRock, PASS VP of Marketing.

“People don’t want to wait for a DVD to be produced, packaged and mailed anymore. On-line delivery is immediate, sustainable and secure”

explains BeThere Global CTO Mark Buckland.

“Today a viewer can catch a seminar wherever they are – at home, in the office cafeteria, during their commute – whenever there is a little downtime. It’s like a trade journal or a book; they bring it along and catch up when they can.”

PASS TV will offer a breakfast show in the mornings, social media reports and check-ins, interviews with key presenters, exhibit hall visits, and other PASS programming. There will be simultaneous recording with HD video of the presenters and their slides in 6 rooms, plus HD slide capture in another 10 rooms. The Keynotes will also be live streamed.

BeThere Global CEO Martin Shepherdly adds:

“We are helping PASS get more value from its content by making it more available and more compelling to watch. We will deliver live and on-demand HD quality video programming that will attract and support PASS’s, members and sponsors. We are recording over 400 hours of content in 5 days of conference using a crew of 8 local videographers to support our international crew from New York and the UK.”

– ENDS –

Experiencing YouTube LIVE!

Artists perform at the Global Truce 2012 Concert in Derry
PHOTO: Newton Faulkner at the Global Truce 2012 Concert in Derry. Inset (clockwise) Imelda May, Pixie Lott, Jude Law
Backstage at Peace One Day Concert in Derry

A couple of weeks ago we had our first experience of streaming an event using YouTube live streaming… from this portacabin in Northern Ireland!

Now you may or may not be aware that this is something that is not generally available to your average Joe webcaster! They only launched the beta platform in April last year and as they said in their blog at the time;

“Today, we’ll also start gradually rolling out our live streaming beta platform, which will allow certain YouTube partners with accounts in good standing to stream live content on YouTube. The goal is to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead.”

And they are moving towards that goal with a growing number of accounts with access to the YouTube live platform, but the perception is that to date it has been presidential addresses, state visits, major news and sporting events and the like that have benefited from live streaming on YouTube – until now that is. Such is the power of a ‘good cause’ to get things done. In this case the ‘good cause’ was Peace One Day and its founder Jeremy Gilley simply phoned up a heavy hitter he had met at Google and asked if we could use the YouTube platform to live stream the Global Truce 2012 concert from Derry. The answer (after a modestly short delay) was “yes” and so our adventure into live streaming the YouTube way began.

All in all it was a very positive experience. We were supported every step of the way by our contact David Thorpe, Senior Sales Engineer at YouTube Partnerships who introduced us to the platform and held our hand through testing, both before and during our time in Derry.

To cut a not very long story short, everything went incredibly smoothly – both at the recording end of things in the Derry drizzle and at the YouTube bits and bytes streaming end. Given the 4+ billion streams a day YouTube delivers you probably won’t be surprised at that.

The Peace Bridge, Derry

(As an aside, despite the drizzle, Derry was a real pleasure to visit; a very friendly city with an immense amount of civic pride in the on-going regeneration, a very welcoming pub in the Park Bar and a striking Peace Bridge linking the two halves of the city – well we were only there for two days so it’s not a very comprehensive list.)

I’m hoping that BeThere Global CTO Mark Buckland will be writing a more technical appraisal, but in essence The YouTube interface was reasonably straightforward to navigate and the live statistics were very satisfactory, providing a clear and constant update as to the number of viewers connected, the peak viewing numbers and the average time viewed. Particularly interesting was a graphical depiction over a timeline of how many people were connected to the different bitrates we were streaming. If anecdotal eveidence is worth anything, the viewer experience seemed to be excellent, as I received many “wow it looks/sounds good” type messages of support from friends and family. Funny how they don’t seem to show as much interest in the corporate, scientific and financial events that we normally stream as they do when it’s Pixie Lott and crew! (Another aside; if you saw the concert weren’t the Wonder Villains great?)

Performers at the Global Truce 2012 Concert in Derry
PHOTO: Derry band The Wonder Villains. Inset Jeremy Gilley, The Guillemots

Overall the concert seemed to be a great success, both for the physical and the virtual audience.

The stream was viewed in 88 different countries and in total over 6000 hours of video was streamed to an audience that peaked at 2,529. Given there were only a matter of days to promote the live stream; a pretty good result in anyone’s book.

Now YouTube, how about making your excellent service available to us permanently?

Streaming live on YouTube

The River Liffey, Dublin

As I write this we (that’s myself and fellow BeThere Global founder Mark Buckland) are on the ferry heading into Dublin and the onward drive to Derry (Londonderry), Northern Ireland in order to do our bit to provide a web audience for a very important and exciting concert.
On Thursday 21 June, the Peace One Day Celebration, as Part of the London 2012 Festival, will be taking place in Derry’s historic Ebrington Square. In conjunction with Peace One Day and Production Network (who are providing the cameras and vision mixing) we are delighted to add our expertise and encoding services to stream this event to a global audience.

The concert features;
PIXIE LOTT
IMELDA MAY
NEWTON FAULKNER
GUILLEMOTS
WONDER VILLAINS
and contributions From
Jude Law and Jeremy Gilley

Wherever you are in the world, join us as we open the London 2012 Festival in Derry-Londonderry and mark the 3-month countdown to Peace Day on September 21, 2012.

Watch the concert LIVE at 7.30pm BST on Thursday 21 June here: www.youtube.com/peaceoneday

What it is to be a Global Small Business

It’s great fun this global business malarkey!
Last week we were in Amsterdam and responsible for live webcasting the keynote speech at Blackberry DevCon Europe (and also recording many of the breakout sessions) working with our friends at Shelton Fleming and Blitz Communications. This week we were in Las Vegas with M-Is webcasting the HP press event announcing Proliant Gen8 servers. And now today and tomorrow we are recording a training course for ISUOG in Paris.
And all the time I’ve not set foot a plane!
Mostly London events for a while now so I won’t feel so left out of the air miles race.

Saving money on foreign transactions

CaxtonFX

Occasionally when I come across a service which just seems to make perfect sense I feel the need to write about it.
When it also offers a way to spend less money on stuff you really don’t want to have to pay for at all, then I feel it is all the more important I share the good news!
CaxtonFX is the provider of one such service and I would like to point out at the outset that I have no connection, affiliation or any other commercial interest in them save for being a happy customer! I also realise this service is not unique, but it is the one I have happened across and works for me. CaxtonFX offer a number of services in the foreign transaction space, but the one I am particularly enamoured with is their online foreign currency payments product.
I have used this to pay a number of suppliers and partners in both the Eurozone and the USA with ease and it is certainly a tool we will be making more use off as our global conference recording and web broadcasting business continues to expand.
In a nutshell this service allows me to easily make foreign currency payments at any time I like at a better exchange rate than the bank offers and for NO additional fee. Compare that to the bank who charge me £17 every time I make such a transaction, which can rack up to a significant amount over time. I know some banks don’t even allow foreign currency payments without a lot of form filling. Not only that, with CaxtonFX I can access the payment system at any time I like; with my bank it has to be between 0830 and 1530 (UK time) Monday to Friday, which if you are dealing with a supplier in a different timezone can delay a payment considerably. The service is very simple to use and I make my payments using a debit card, but I think you can also do a bank transfer.

I got to hear about the service when I met Guy Richardson who is Corporate Sales Manager of Caxton FX at an Eventia evening last year. When he told about what they did I was sceptical and thought there had to be a catch – you know the old adage “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is”, or that I wouldn’t be doing enough transactions to be able to access the service. But having used this service a number of times now there really doesn’t seem to be a catch at all. It really is an easy and convenient way for anyone who needs to make foreign currency payments to avoid spending money on stuff you don’t want to! Guy and his team made setting up the account quick and easy and were very available to answer questions the first couple of times I used it.
Thanks CaxtonFX!

Why web broadcasting is important

You have to be there!

Web broadcasting has changed the way we communicate with the world.

Now, pretty much anyone can reach an audience comparable in size to that achieved by the ‘old-school’ mainstream media. And the great thing is that there is hardly any sector of industry, field of expertise or area of interest that would not benefit from the highly effective and efficient communication that web broadcasting enables.
Not only that, now that it is affordable to associations or businesses of all sizes, web broadcasting is very democratic. Even individuals can join in!
Using web broadcasting, associations, businesses and individuals can compete equally for attention on this global stage.

By promoting web broadcasts via social media, significant audiences can be attracted at very low cost, with the side benefit of an enhanced online reputation and a higher profile and level of engagement. This can result in increased brand awareness and lead generation for companies and improved membership retention and recruitment for associations.
Of course, seminars, conferences and congresses provide ideal content for web broadcasting. But as well as this, training, induction and other internal and external communications projects may be broadcast to a ‘web only’ audience – often referred to as virtual events.

At this very moment, people could be watching your organization’s web broadcasts from virtually any place on earth. Take into account the affordable nature of the medium and the low cost of using social media to propagate your audience, and you can web broadcast your event to the world at a fraction of the cost of more traditional marketing techniques like print advertsing.
Broadcasting your knowledge or expertise over the web is one of the most powerful tools that any organization has at its disposal. If you don’t want to be left behind, your organization should be taking advantage of web broadcasting; many already are.

At a different level, the momentum created by the wild popularity of digital media with groups and individuals of every race, colour, creed and persuasion participating, means that web broadcasting is becoming truly universal in reach. By helping to disseminate knowledge and foster mutual understanding and empathy among disparate groups of people around the globe, web broadcasting has the potential to be a significant force for good.