The Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre in Hinxton have teamed up with their embedded audiovisual supplier, Venue Audio Visual, to deliver a unique virtual conference and meeting platform, designed with its clients’ needs in mind.

The platform was initially created for the on-site conference programme run by Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences, who acted quickly in March to avoid having to cancel their 2020 line-up of events and disappoint the 3,000+ international scientists who would have attended them. Venue AV worked closely with the team, who they know well from doing all the AV for their events, to create something that replicated their event format. These consist of multiple days of talks by speakers from around the world, followed by Q&A sessions with international delegates, alongside poster sessions, where more scientists get to present their latest work to their colleagues.  Not only were most of the events not cancelled, they found that more people were able to attend than would have done in person and delegates appreciated that this learning and collaboration opportunity had not been lost.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the support we have had, and continue to receive, from Venue AV in transferring our physical conference programme online. The team really came to our aid in a time of need! They are very flexible and offer a wide range of customisation and tailoring options to adapt the platform to our needs, and the development team has always found a solution to our requests. The team are also extremely professional and supportive, which is very important to us, as is the fact that our speakers receive a positive experience while recording talks. What’s more, everything is dealt with in a timely manner with great attention to detail. We think of Venue AV as an extended part of our team, we couldn’t do our job without them.”
- Laura Hubbard, Conference and Events Manager, Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences

Following on from its initial success, the service is now available to anyone wishing to organise events through the Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre. 


What’s the difference with Zoom?

What makes this offer stand out from self-service online meeting platforms such as Zoom is that all the technical aspects are handled by professional AV technicians, taking the pressure – and a lot of work – off the event organiser.  As well as creating a secure, branded mini-site, the technical team liaise with invited speakers to arrange and guide the remote recording of the talk via their computer, optimising their video and audio. 

So far, pre-recording talks is the format preferred by organisers and speakers since it removes the risk of technical or connectivity issues and helps incorporate speakers from a wide range of time zones. The speakers only need to be there for the live Q&A at the end, and even this can even be held over a longer period. This format also gives flexibility to delegates with working from home related time pressures, meaning they can still view everything and ask questions but at a time suitable to them.

The service can, however, cater for live talks, since the platform is based on a pre-existing service that Venue AV have been using to bring in remote speakers to live, physical conferences.

Another benefit is that the pricing of this service compares very favourably to systems with far more functionality than is actually necessary.  A standard package is on offer comprising everything deemed essential for a virtual conference, to which features can be added, depending on need.  All quotes are tailored following a video call to discuss requirements, and a virtual walk around of an online conference can be easily arranged.

“As well as delivering events – virtual, hybrid or physical – of the best quality possibly, our other motivation is to make the process of easing back in to hosting conferences after this period of uncertainty as hassle free and smooth as possible.  We are very proud of our virtual meetings platform, because it echoes our company values of being reliable, flexible, responsive and professional. We’re glad that event organisers around Cambridge and beyond are making full use of it.”
- Chris Watson, Director, Venue Audio Visual
 

To find out more about this new virtual meetings service, visit the Conference Centre website

Or to discuss your project with one of the team directly, contact them by email on conference.centre@wellcomegenomecampus.org  or phone, 01223 495123.