Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Conference On the Web Part II

It's an idea that I'd love to gauge interest for. While I know everyone likes to get together and physically "bond" at a conference, the technology is now available (readily) for a true virtual conference - where sessions are given via on-screen demonstrations, tele-conferences, even some with video..
 
I know many of the companies I work with will be offering individual one-on-ones of this nature in the near future but why not expand it a little bit to an entire "Virtual DevCon" where sessions are given on a number of topics. See my previous post for full ideas on that.
 
There wouldn't necessarily be a need for multiple tracks because one conference could offer different times for all of the various tracks over a 2-3 day period.
 
There are obviously some gotchas:
a) the main one is making sure people are good "online" presenters. I've seen great online presentations and I've seen terrible ones. If we follow concepts in Beyond Bullets but also make the entire conference follow a strong theme, it would be very easy to manage. And since everyone could "try out" their sessions online wherever they are, they would almost always be running off their own machines.
 
b) internal cost. Someone needs to sponsor online.  I don't know how Live Meeting is managed when they do those sign-up seminars. I can't imagine authors are paying those $$ to promote their books. I do know that WebEx is kind of expensive in that manner. We have 6 licenses and it costs $1200/month for them. Anyone know? I'm going to research it but if you know of inexpensive GOOD options, let me know. 
 
c) mediators. On a web conference, the real need is to have a mediator who watches for notes and then answers them if need be. So all questions can be answered as they go through.
 
But there are huge benefits here. The cost of the conference notwithstanding, the actual cost would be considerably lower than a regular conference (For both the attendees (something speakers typically forget) and organizers) and you would have added benefit of real streaming, and live recording going on at the same time.  Of course, larger companies and user groups could get really involved here with study groups, etc. We've seen the benefit of when many people attend public chats and then that information is posted.
 
It also brings up a point that I know many other speakers have made in the past - a single repository for all conference materials. This type of idea would make not just the materials but also the recorded presentation, a major benefit.
 
One downside though: how do you hold a speaker dinner online? <bg> I know IBM showed a Jam session from 6 different countries in one commercial but I think dinner might be a bit trickier.
 
Who's interested?
 
 
 
 

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