Feature Story

Skip the occasion, livestream it instead

Life events turn to video conferencing instead of cancellations.

Schools and businesses aren't the only ones turning to video conferencing to aid with the latest at-home movement. With COVID-19 disrupting life events from family reunions and weddings to bat and bar mitzvahs, people have found a way to celebrate, capture key moments and connect via live video. For many companies, video conferencing has allowed employees to collaborate and carry on meetings, and event organizers are already looking at conferencing in lieu of physical activations. Families and friends have taken a page from this playbook and are turning to video to connect on what’s important.

Can’t gather? Meet virtually

People around the world are striving to reclaim their sense of normal as cancellations and shutdowns occur on a daily basis—public mass and funerals are cancelled in Rome, large gatherings, schools, and universities are being put on hold for the time being, and more and more employees are working from home.

Because more folks are working, learning, and getting entertainment at home, they are taking to video conferencing to connect with others. A 13-year old from New York held his own bar mitzvah while at home under quarantine. And Fortune recommends live streaming any upcoming weddings to reduce the spread of the virus—360-degree virtual cameras and online streaming services can be used to bring the celebration to loved ones.

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Companies are also transitioning to holding their massive in-person events on a virtual stage. Microsoft’s Build developer event is set to go digital, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is embracing an online format, and Cisco’s own annual conference Cisco Live will be live-streamed along with a whole new, digital experience.

Will virtual events be the new standard?

While intimate celebrations and gatherings may not be exchanged for the virtual version so easily, perhaps we are seeing a glimpse into the new standard of large gatherings. Sometimes, big in-person events can leave little room for things to go wrong—a last minute change could mean pricey airline and hotel cancellations, event space fees, rescheduled meetings, and rushed plans. While face-to-face networking and meeting personally with customers and partners is irreplaceable, perhaps there’s a way virtual events can replicate some of that togetherness.

Diginomica writes that the future of virtual events could include digital meetups for presentations, online groups for round table discussions, and AMA-format fireside chats. In addition, digital event experiences could have some perks, including more flexibility in communications, the ability to join during your time zone or convenience, and the ability to leave discussions open (and not close them out after three to five days). Plus, participants can actively participate with the information they’re receiving—they can save it, send it on.

Check out how Cisco is helping communities around the world by expanding the capabilities on their free Webex offer in all countries where it is available.


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