When Pamela Jacques started revamping her employer’s annual spring conference in Florida into an online event, she realized that speakers were going to need quality audiovisual equipment to make their presentations given from home seem polished. Jacques, who runs corporate marketing for Netscout, a Boston-area information technology services firm, found 25 microphones and cameras online from one vendor. By the time she tried to make the purchases moments later, only six were left.
Netscout is one of many companies across the globe scrambling to overhaul the events they had scheduled before the coronavirus pandemic upended their plans. They are trying to figure out on the fly how to make staring at a computer screen for hours engaging, while grappling with hundreds of details that don’t figure into the normal event-planning playbook. The businesses and organizations first to take the plunge into virtual events say they have learned lessons (pro tip: always have backup programming in case something goes awry) that can help others take their conferences online.