Big news this week - we just announced a strategic alliance between ACTIVE Network and our Mediasite Events division. I caught up with lovely Linda McNairy, VP Strategic Partner Management (at right), to ask five questions on what's new with all things ACTIVE Network, and why she thinks webcasting, live streaming and hybrid events are such hot initiatives for meetings and conferences right now.
1. What’s ACTIVE Network?
"We’re focused on providing activity and participant management™ solutions. What this means is ACTIVE Network helps all types of organizations transform and grow their businesses. We do this by giving them flexible and robust management of their activities and events which leads to stronger engagement with their customers. These activities can range from athletic events to community activities to professional meetings and industry conferences. In the end, ACTIVE Network helps event organizers, meeting planners and event marketers get participants, manage activities and build communities, so they have more time to stay focused on their core mission of creating great experiences."
2. Who is your typical ACTIVE Network client/user?
"ACTIVE Network Business Solutions provides a unique combination of experience, groundbreaking technology and flexible reach to meet the needs of every stakeholder in the industry, from planners to suppliers to executives. For example, we work with small companies who require simple yet powerful registration technology for their events. We also partner with many of the global Fortune 500, who rely on our technology and industry expertise to consolidate all aspects of planning and managing their events organization-wide – in a discipline known as strategic meetings management (SMM). Some of the largest expositions, conferences (for example, the 15,000+ attendee annual Cisco Live event) and tradeshows also use our technology to plan their events; manage registrations, content, attendees, speakers, hotels and suppliers; provide on-site mobile applications for attendees; and offer rich reporting and intelligence tools."
3. How have you seen events change in the last year?
"We’ve seen several changes over the past few years. First, ongoing economic challenges have forced many companies to cut back on events – although there’s been a strong recovery in meeting spending in the last year or so. But what that means is that companies and organizations are much more focused on cost-control and getting maximum value out of each dollar that they do spend. Plus, event organizers are under greater pressure to show that their meetings are producing return on investment.
Our solutions have been able to help a lot of companies see that value in terms of dollars and cents and then communicate those numbers back to senior management. Our solutions also give CEOs and CFOs the numbers they want to see – and also help event and purchasing managers justify their jobs.
Another big change we’ve seen is that more organizations recognize that they have to persistently engage their customers, partners and employees in order to enhance event experiences and understand their wants and needs better. It’s no longer sufficient to blast audiences with an email with a link to agenda materials and speaker session information. Today’s participants want mobile apps they can use on their phones or tablets to interact with each other, participate in event games, be interactive in speaker sessions, and more. For their part, event organizers are using mobile applications to provide instantly updated materials – anytime during the event lifecycle – as well as interact with attendees. Plus, they’re using tools like social media to keep conversations going before, during and after an event."
4. Where does webcasting fit into the ACTIVE Network experience?
"Our vision is that innovative technology can enhance the experience and engagement of audiences at an event. When you look at the evolution of events, the focus was on the activity immediately before, during and after an event, resulting in a lull until the next event happened. But as the pace of technology innovation has increased, we now see events evolving into persistent, online communities which provide more value to audiences and enables an organizer to maintain engagement year round. Webcasting is an example of one of those technologies that delivers an engaging experience that is accessible 365, 24, 7 – such as a live streaming chat with a guest speaker in the community or capturing a keynote for replay at a later time."
5. Why was Mediasite Events a good fit?
"Both our companies are committed to innovation and building top quality customer relationships. Plus, being able to offer our clients instant access to their event webcasts aligns with our overall mission to connect people with the things they love, want and need to do. And online access to event webcasts allows our customers to deepen their engagement with attendees – not just during the meeting, but well after it ends, too. Enhancing services and providing more resources to attendees, means our customers can deepen relationships with their attendees."