EventsAir Platform Live
The University announced the launch of a new virtual digital events platform, EventsAir, as part of the Online and Digital Events Service
After a successful pilot the University is now offering the EventsAir platform for use across the University community. EventsAir is a virtual digital event platform that provides a comprehensive solution for organising and hosting professional large-scale virtual events.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became clear that the University had a critical requirement to be able to run key events and conferences, such as Career Fairs, that could no longer occur in-person. In addition, an emerging need identified prior to the pandemic is to provide alternative, flexible, hybrid participation modes for University events.
Initially using Zoom or Microsoft Teams to hold meetings people quickly learnt the limitations of this software. This led us to review what platforms were available to deliver a fully virtual conference that gave a professional service and the closest functionality to a face-to-face event. We were reviewing this independently and it was then identified that there were many other areas of the University that had requirements similar to ours,
The project launched in June 2020 with the support of four key business units – Career Services, Student Recruitment and Admissions (SRA), the Business School and Accommodation, Catering and Events (ACE). The Information Services project team worked with the key stakeholders in an accelerated procurement process to identify requirements, purchase the preferred platform and configure it for use. Collaboration between the early adopters lead to the establishment of a User Group to enable the continued sharing of best practices with the wider University community.
“The collaboration was hugely beneficial for all members of the user group to share information and knowledge. We met (virtually) regularly through each stage of the implementation and roll out and shared feedback after each event that took place,” said Claire. “Having this user group and some key student recruitment events last year meant that we had the support to get the platform live much quicker than a single department would have been able to do themselves.”
The University hosted its first event on the platform in October 2020 and have successfully run 10 events, including Careers Week, Undergraduate and Post-Graduate Open Days with over 22,000 attendees and over 50 Exhibitors. The platform supports large numbers of attendees and exhibitors with integrated live streaming, recorded content, point-to-point text and video chat between attendees, exhibitors and organisers.
Speaking for my own business area, I was delighted to see 96% satisfaction ratings across our open days, held in EventsAir for the first time. When feedback like this is coupled with the increase in global reach that we saw in these events, this presents really exciting opportunities,
The businesses and employers we work with have complimented the EventsAir system as one that most closely mimics their experience at an in person Fair, compared to systems other universities are using, but also that it enables more personalised, and often more in depth conversations with prospective applicants; and students have found it easy to navigate and have appreciated the video and web content facilitating their discovery of different career options, as well as the ability to chat by text or video with company reps,
The platform enables users to set up virtual booths/stalls, integrate custom branding, manage registration, distribute post-event surveys, run concurrent webinars and view live performance data. Following the pilot events, the project team prepared the platform for wider, cross-University use by creating and updating new webpages, training help and service desk staff to respond to queries about the platform, solidifying financial support and ensuring organizational awareness.
“As the project approaches closure, a key focus is on establishing the governance framework to ensure that we are maximising the benefits from our investment in EventsAir,” said Clare. “Another major focus is the rollout of the service, and the soft launch by the Online and Digital Events Service on 15th February was a key milestone. The Service Management Team will play a key role in managing the service and on-boarding teams who want to become EventsAir users.”
“I would like to give special kudos to all of the staff “on the ground” who have gone through the hours of training and then got their heads around the set up and delivery of large-scale, complex, online events,” said Lucy. “To think that this time last year, we had no idea how to do something like this, nor would we have necessarily expected staff to have the relevant skill sets to deliver these kinds of events, it is incredible that we now we have confident individuals and teams delivering high quality large-scale, complex, online events.”
If you are interested in learning more about the supported tools available for running events, and want to know whether EventsAir is suitable for your upcoming event or conference, use the event selector tool available from the Online and Digital Events Service.