For SmartSource®, an ABCOM Technology Group company, one of the nation’s leading providers of IT, audio visual (AV) and interactive technology solutions, delivering value is always a top priority. As a designated Collaborator Partner for the CEIR Predict 2020 event, CEIR’s Annual Exhibition Industry Outlook Conference, SmartSource was charged with providing virtual event services. Given the event’s outward looking approach, it was important to event organizers that their partners be forward-thinking experts. The theme of the event was focused on the impact of emerging trends and economic, geopolitical, and social issues on the future of trade shows and trade fairs, with more than 160 executives in the business-to-business exhibitions industry expected to be in attendance.

The event was planned to be live, then shifted to hybrid, with a full move to virtual just weeks before the event. Appropriately, presentations centered on trends and strategies for navigating the effects of COVID-19, and how data and insights could help event organizers become more agile and able to advance their strategic plans. Needing to have all speakers present remotely – some from outside of the U.S. – presented some technical and logistical challenges. Scheduling the international speakers for their recording sessions, shipping presenter kits to individual speakers to ensure the best quality video and audio, and designing a full virtual set remotely within the allotted time were other challenges to be met.

Coordinating virtual elements to seamlessly integrate the flow of the day and highlight the event partners was critical. SmartSource used their Event Hub as a central location for conference attendees to log in and view the presentations. Additionally, the Event Hub was applied to facilitate attendee networking. A virtual exhibit hall was provided to CEIR, which enabled attendees to connect with exhibitors via chat or 1:1 video communications. Live chat support was also provided.

Along with the live studio and its equipment, which consisted of VMix control stations, a PowerPoint slide advancement system was used, enabling the presenters to virtually control their presentations from their individual locations. A communications system that operates like a ClearCom system gave staff real-time, virtual communication capability for show calling and collaboration. The effective application of technology relied on SmartSource’s development and implementation of a well-thought-out plan, working in close concert and collaboration with the CEIR team and the other event Collaborator Partner, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events® (IAEE). Key plan elements were determined upfront and included timeline deliverables, scheduling of presenter rehearsals, content development, and the execution of the overall program platform. The five-week process ensued as follows:

Week 1 – A planning call was held with storyboarding of the event to ensure that CEIR’s goals were met.

Week 2 – The show elements, look and flow were established.

Week 3 – Initial client run-throughs occurred, and scriptwriting for the event’s live show elements was completed.

Week 4 – Presenter kits were tested, sessions were recorded, rehearsals for live segments were held, and many system tests were performed to ensure the quality and reliability of the stream.

Week 5 – The final live rehearsal was held, and the show and video editing were completed and delivered to CEIR.

SmartSource’s extensive experience, technical know-how. and event ingenuity was on full display at Predict, and the event was by all measures a great success.

SmartSource CEO Ali Vafa noted, “CEIR utilized SmartSource’s virtual event services and Event Hub so attendees could gather in one place to easily access content, network, watch sessions, and have one-on-one conversations with event partners in the Partner Engagement Hub. We handled the production, presenter kits, recording, streaming and more. We were glad to provide our technology and virtual event expertise, knowing that it’s more important than ever for CEIR to share data and insights that will help industry professionals fortify and grow their organizations.”

According to CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, CEM, “CEIR was committed to presenting the level of excellence participants have come to expect from Predict, and by applying cutting-edge technology provided by SmartSource, we were pleased to have produced a highly engaging event.”