Take It From a CI 40 Under 40: Hybrid Events Require a Seamless Experience, Just Like High-Profile In-Person Ones

 

High standards are critical in delivering a seamless experience for high-profile events. And for those integrators providing a seamless experience every time, Commercial Integrator, the business book for AV technology professionals, took note with the announcement of its 40 Under 40 influencers list.

In a landscape where the pace of technology dictates the rhythm of evolution and hybrid events become increasingly the norm, the professional audiovisual sector is not just adapting but thriving. The recently unveiled 40 Influencers Under 40 list by Commercial Integrator showcases a cadre of individuals whose innovative strides are not only in sync with contemporary trends but are also shaping the narrative of what’s next in the Pro AV landscape.

The Pro AV industry, heading into 2024, finds itself at the intersection of rapidly advancing audio-video tech development, where standing still equates to moving backward​​. The advent of hybrid events, an amalgam of virtual and in-person event components, is a testament to the industry’s agility and foresight. This fusion has emerged as a preferred model, encapsulating the best of both worlds and setting a new standard for interactive experiences. Adopting hybrid models reflects not merely a trend but a substantial paradigm shift that’s reshaping the event landscape, catering to the evolved expectations of attendees and stakeholders alike while maintaining that seamless experience.

Britt Yenser, Director of Event Technology at Moravian University, is a visionary who’s not just riding the wave but charting the course of the hybrid event narrative. Her accolade as one of the CI 40 under 40 is a testament to her professional prowess and a nod to the burgeoning potential of hybrid event technology in higher education. Yenser reflects on her 40 Under 40 win, the work that got her there, and her overall AV career in higher education, where the need to deliver a seamless experience is key and the margin for error is markedly thin.

Britt’s Thoughts

“They have certain expectations. If I’m going to an event, it has to have a level of feeling high-profile. It has to be seamless. It is often now hybrid, and those hybrid components also have their own seamless pieces. Yeah, it is really overwhelming.

I’m extremely grateful. I reposted the Commercial Integrator article and said to quote the Barbie movie, thank you, I worked hard for this, and I deserve it, which I recognize can be a little off-putting to people. Still, I love that line so much because it is a proof of confidence. In that movie, they said that because they’re confident in who they are, they recognize their worth, they recognize what their work is worth, and I don’t think that we do that enough, and I especially don’t think that women do that enough. In higher education, we are seeing higher and higher levels of production because that is what the students, faculty, and staff expect, especially the students because they have certain expectations. If I’m going to an event, it has to have a level of feeling high-profile. It has to be seamless. It is often now hybrid, and those hybrid components also have their own seamless pieces that are expected. When people log into something online, they’re expecting a high production value like what they see on TV. Just putting all of those pieces together consistently for a university is challenging and requires you to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry trends of what is the best equipment and the best software to make this happen. So, it’s a strategic combination of what we have installed versus what we can add.

I’m actually in our projection booth right now, where we store a lot of the resources that we pull. And so, I’ll be grabbing things off the shelf and adding them to what is already installed in a space to meet the final need for an event. Honestly, I have found that the best hybrid method for us has been to use Zoom Webinar. I did a lot of investigation into different event profiles and different possibilities for live streaming, and Zoom Webinar meets all of our needs. I found that their audio settings are really good for really any sort of production. And they have the closed captioning, and granted, it’s AI, but it is pretty accurate. So just those little things like that where it’s like, what do I already have access to? Because our university is already using Zoom. How can I maximize its potential?

Yeah, I definitely only see it growing because as we continue to increase our production levels and as that becomes an expectation in the larger world, I mean, just look at concerts even, like a Taylor Swift concert; that’s insane. And that’s becoming the expectation. And I think what people have to recognize in higher education with the student body, like, yes, clearly, we’re about educating the students and the academic experience, but they also are expecting to have social experiences, and they learn from the social experiences, and they expect the events that they attend to be fun, easy, high production. Like I said before, they also expect to be able to access it in multiple ways. So, I think that we’re gonna continue to increase the quality of projection, sound, lighting, as well as your hybrid capabilities.”

Article by James Kent

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