There are events you can attend live, there are events you can attend remotely through the net, there are hybrid events you can attend both live or remotely and there are event PODs! Event PODs, are sub events dislocated around the globe and attached to the main event. Event PODs are a new experimental way to enable to live attend events through a remote location. If you still not clear about what an event POD actually is, read “What the heck is an Event POD” by Samuel J. Smith. I’ve recently took part on the eventcamp POD in Switzerland, Basel. This article is about my POD experience, the outcome, the potential and it’s possible applications.
Event Camp twin Cities is an event about inspiring you to try new communication and collaboration paradigms at your events. An international event made by event experts around the world, coming together to share and experiment in order to push the envelope in the meetings and events industry. This year, thanks to Ruud Jannssen, an eventcamp POD was organized in Basel, Switzerland. Eventcamp is born online, you can read more about the history of eventcamp here.
The Basel POD took place chez Café Tacuba, a really cool spot in the old Basel Town, which provided a confy room, plasmas, beamers, interconnectivity through free wifi and great food!
The setup provided a front channel stream (sync slides, and video) through sonic foundry service, that I have to say provided an amazing quality. On the back of the room there were some 27” imacs with skype to provide the back channel to the event, it was a little like watching the event in Minneapolis from behind the scene. Then On a third wall a projector was showing the tweet channel trough the use of a dedicated twubs, and also functioned as our stage, where Elling Hamso did his amazing Pecha Kucha presentation about event roi. The presentation was not only for us on the pod but also back streamed to the minneapolis mean event attendees!
A total of 11 pax was attending the basel event camp POD.
During the whole event there were interaction among the pods and the main event hub trough the use of different technologies like google moderator, twitter, audio and video (skype). Presentation in minneaplois also addressed remote and PODs attendees with group sessions, Q&A, and feedback gathering.
- The overflow of information trough the many channels coming in at an event POD, can be quite overhelming. Being able to pay attention to the slides and stream coming through the front channel, following twitter discussion and real time discussion happing among us at the POD was quite hard to manage for anybody. The need of a socialmedia DJ should be encouraged for such events. The idea is that the SM DJ can mix and match information coming from various channel, select and present them in a single stream, experimentation in this area is of course needed to adjust this issue.
- Non-stop connection to the main event was also something not that easy to manage as climax were different. The main program should fix and schedule those interaction and connected moment. and a small area where the non stop streaming of the real event should be provided so that POD attendee could just sit there, plug their earphone and follow sessions or presentation happening on the main event and vice versa, attendee at the main event could select to watch and follow parts and sessions happening at the PODs. Think of POD’s like rooms of the main venue, where sessions happens that goes altogether on the global program. People should be able to select which session they are interested and would like to attend both on the pods or on the main event venue.
- PODs should also have session and speaker attending, as they are not just a virtual conference, but are part of the event itself. So presence of speakers is highly suggested. Because of the remote dislocation of pods, more international speakers can be involved.
- Number of Poeple attending a pod should be between 10 to 20 maximum as small group works better then big ones, in case more people are interested in remote pods, more of them could be organized, differentiating the session offer, guiding attendee to the pods that more fulfill their interests.
- PODs could be very heterogeneous in how they are setup and in what they provide as program, so that more practical ones with hands one session could co-exist side by side with more classical presentation conference styled ones.
Conclusions: Potential and Possible applications
Event PODs, are a terrific way to bring people together on remote location that couldn’t travel or reach the main event location. They foster regional and local networking that can more easily be trasnlated into synergies, cooperation’s and collaborations.
I would love to see pods happening for international open-source events like international Joomla! day events. As i personally believe that community driven events are the best scenario for pods to happen spontaneously, and among people that somehow know each other around the world. This confidence among pods and events organizer is something that at this time is still needed as depending on the technologies used issues are likely to arise at some points.
In the end I would says that event PODs offer tremendous value to remote attendee as pods are what event are all about: bringing people together! The advantage of attending an Event PODs is something that will enrich and empower the main event itself, because who said that only live attendee would have the more benefit otu of the event? PODs of course have lot them to offer to their pax. So..happy Event Podding to everybody !