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A guide to Live Streaming

Matthew Downes

Virtual Meetings Specialist

Our clients often ask us what is new in tech and how they can have something innovative and engaging at their next event.  We are always looking for new technologies which can be applied to the services we supply to our customers however the driving force at Ground:zero is always to focus on the client or delegate experience first and then work back from that.  Simply throwing new technology at an event does not necessarily enhance the event experience.

However, video has become a huge part of how the internet is used and therefore defines how best to engage with people.  In 2017 for example, 300 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube every minute with almost 5 billion videos being watched every single day.

So how does this fit into your event?  Well, here are some key use cases we have been involved with, applying web streaming into a live event.

Internal Communication
Town Hall meetings: You run a large team or need to communicate to your entire workforce.  Live streaming your smaller event from Head Office can allow you to reach members of your team who can’t be with you, and this can include global organisations as much as field force colleagues based in the UK – check out this case study to highlight this.

Public events
Streaming an event live on a public distribution platform such as YouTube or Facebook Live allows you to reach a much bigger audience than you would otherwise have been able to, tapping into the live nature of something happening right now – keeping people connected.

Live streaming an event is a great way to bring people closer to the action in a way that makes them feel part of it.  This is particularly good if you want to build on that engagement in a corporate environment.  This case study is a great example of this working well.

Doing away with the live event entirely, you can simply broadcast to the internet from a room you can treat as your own TV studio.  This is a complete change of dynamic and great for presenting data sets since you can capture these and make them available offline as well.


So you can see how it can work for you, the next question is how.  A few years ago this was a complex and expensive addition to your event, however in recent years there have been huge improvements in both the availability of high speed internet connections at venues as well as the backbone services which are required to support this technology.

Broadly it is as simple as adding camera equipment to your event and taking a feed from this, cut with your onscreen presentation content and supplying this as an internet ready data stream from your venue straight to the internet.  That said there are a few other considerations.

It is worthwhile starting by considering who your audience is and how they will watch the stream. For the most part, when considering corporate events, this has to be delivered in a private way, allowing your team to watch the stream while excluding the general public.  The best way to achieve this is to stream to an active frame (a simple piece of code), which can be placed on your own website or intranet.  In this way you restrict access while maximising the availability and compatibility across supported devices in your organisation.  While this puts you completely in control, it does mean that you have to pay for the bandwidth – this is the amount of “internet data” consumed and is calculated as a product of the quality of the data stream, the length of the programme and the number of people who watched it.  Bandwidth data  is relatively cheap and certainly if you want to stream regularly, significant cost savings may be achieved.

For public events, where you want to reach the widest possible audience, it may be better to consider the use of a pre-existing public platform like YouTube, Facebook Live or Periscope.  The advantage here is that they will often be cheaper, avoiding your bandwidth costs described above, however you now have other restrictions to consider, such as the use of copyrighted material.  Even when you have achieved a prior agreement to use the copyrighted material from the copyright holder, platforms like YouTube may decide to pull your stream down in the middle of the event just to be on the safe side so it is best to find a way to work without using this content.


Other considerations
If you really want to focus on the delegate experience or leverage maximum engagement with your audience, you may want to consider developing a dedicated page, or “micro-site” for your event.  Rather like a bespoke event app, your delegates can be sent an invitation to join the event at the appropriate link which can include other related material to view or download such as presenter content or schedules and agendas.  In this way you can also embed elements such as question and answer modules as messaging panels right next to your live stream.

Clearly, this is a popular event tool for a reason.  Ground:zero can assist with your next event, taking you through the opportunities and guiding you to a really exciting event with measurable engagement.  Take a look at some of our case studies which demonstrate the different ways live streaming can be used to maximise your event potential.