How to create an interactive and engaging online science event

Throughout 2020, Design & Data GmbH has worked with Nikal Fm Srl, as managers of the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Conference Bureau, on a range of virtual science conferences discussing major environmental challenges. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, none of these events could have taken place in the real world, but our solutions helped to create an engaging experience bringing the communities together almost as in person.

The annual ESA Φ-week, focusing on innovation in Earth Observation (EO), the first European Polar Science Week (EO4Polar) discussing the EU Arctic Strategy and the European Green Deal, the EO for Agriculture under Pressure and EO for Water Cycle Science events all benefited from our OnePoint solution, which we had developed in response to the growing demand for virtual events since the onset of the pandemic.

OnePoint provides more robust, secure and professional livestream events while reducing the requirements for home broadband. The solution relies on widely available teleconferencing apps such as Skype, Zoom or WebEx to connect the event’s speakers, panellists and moderators. The audience, however, watches the virtual event via a separate livestream page that can be integrated into a dedicated event platform such as Brella together with a tailored event look and graphics.

The solutions we have developed for Nikal, ESA and other clients enable attendees to interact with panellists and event organisers, answer polls in real time, but also schedule meetings with other attendees and view papers and e-Posters just as they would at a real-life event. The attendees can also create their digital profile, select their interests and define their availability for 1:1 meetings during programme breaks and dedicated networking slots.

“Over the year, we have gradually built up our solution, increasing the number of teleconferencing apps that we can use but also extending the flexibility of the package and what we can do with it,” said Bjorn Brockmann, D&D’s Managing Director. “We can now offer a flexible speaker view, integrate tailor made event graphics and presentations and produce high quality events in a short period of time.”

D&D’s fast response to the increasing demand for virtual events and web streams since the onset of the pandemic put the company in a strong position. Over the course of 2020, the company’s web streaming business has grown exponentially together with its technical capabilities. For the World Satellite Business Week 2020, Virtual Edition, D&D was able to run two web-streams in parallel, continuously six hours a day over a three-day event.

“We continue developing our solution including advanced integrated graphic packages with the aim to provide engaging and visually attractive events for our clients and their audiences,” Brockmann said.

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