Virtual Conference Software Platform
The virtual conference platform and support services over 150+ associations rely on to go virtual.
Earn back sponsorship revenue, delight attendees, and foster an environment for niche networking.
OpenWater's Virtual Conference Platform
- Match the look and feel of your website
- Include a welcome message and video
- Upload your logo, setup the root menu
- Highlight sponsors
- No virtual reality, or virtual exhibit hall navigation
- Schedule view of sessions
- Join sessions in one click
- Personalized agenda builder, add to Google or Office calendar
- Advanced search/filtering
- Only allow certain attendees to see some session or tracks.
- Sponsors banner placement, build out sessions for sponsors
- One click join session button for attendees
- One click start session button for speakers and room moderators
- A dedicated page for every session
- Live or pre-recorded sessions, on demand viewing
- Session descriptions
- Downloadable materials
- Speaker headshots and bios
- One click to join session chat rooms in the networking lounge
Sponsor & Exhibitor Gallery
- Dead simple interface for attendee discovery and year round reference.
- Simple search tools make it easy for attendees to sift through a large volume of exhibitors.
- Charge sponsors for top placements.
- One click to access sponsors in dedicated chat rooms
Sponsor & Exhibitor Page (Sponsor Booths)
- Flexible call to action button so that sponsors can optimize lead generation.
- Showcase videos, resources and social media links.
- Flexible image dimensions so that sponsors don’t need to worry about creating unique images with specific dimensions.
- Attendees can reach out to sponsors in the chat feature.
- Simple search tools that make it easy for attendees to sift through hundreds of posters and connect with exhibitors.
- Our software can handle large file size uploads.
- Join the poster chatroom, view details, or open poster PDFs in one click.
- Attendees can easily download materials and see profiles of exhibitors next to their work.
- Showcase poster exhibitor bios.
Attendee Networking through Chat or Video
- Attendee to attendee chat requests
- Request one on one video chats
- Create chat rooms for the entire conference, or by subject, session, or poster.
- Mobile friendly chat for ease multitasking during conference sessions
Virtual Conference Services
How We Work With You to Create an Amazing Conference
Our sales team will help you build a package that balances platform features with the amount of support your team will need for the conference.
Conference Build Out
Utilize our training webinars to build out your conference, or build a services package that fits the needs of your team’s bandwidth for implementation.
We are a Zoom partner and provide professional grade Zoom training. You can utilize our speaker training webinars, office hours, or setup premium exclusively training one on one with our event managers.
Day of Conference Support
Our day of support is your technical back stop during the conference. Our conference moderators can support attendee questions through chat, and barge into presentations to solve last minute issues.
Sponsorship Revenue for Virtual Conferences
How can we drive revenue from sponsorship around sessions?
Sessions naturally have a lot of eyeballs on them, especially keynotes. There are several ways to monetize a session agenda, and presentations. Also, don't forget to make session demand a factor in pricing. Sponsors can present to kickoff or close a session with questions. In addition, sponsor logos can be placed on the agenda page next to sessions, or within session pages themselves. A branded background for presentations during a session is a subtle method to gain additional promotion. Placing a logo below the "Join Now" button on session pages is high traffic area prime for visibility opportunity.
How can we drive sponsorship revenue from an exhibit hall?
Every virtual conference should include a sponsor exhibit hall which would contain a gallery view of sponsor logos, and a dedicated page so that sponsors can post materials, contact information, or videos. Pricing by placement toward the top of the pages is an easy way to extract more revenue from an exhibit hall format.
How can our virtual conference earn more revenue?
Virtual conferences naturally leave behind a clean footprint of data around attendance and participation. Associations that preserve privacy while offering sponsors insightful data will have additional revenue opportunities from a virtual conference. Something as simple as chat logs, polls results, and session attendance are valuable to sponsors.
Breakout Sessions, Networking, Production Value, Support Staff
How can networking be enhanced from a virtual conference platform with breakout rooms?
Within OpenWater's platform each session has a dedicated page (mobile friendly) that enables comments or chat, or the ability for attendees to join pre-scheduled breakouts with presenters (coffee sessions). In addition, attendees can reach out to one another and schedule there own one on one sessions as a breakout. We integrate with Zoom and can automate online virtual conferences with breakout rooms after sessions. More about our virtual conference platform with breakout rooms is available here.
How will attendees network, are we dependent on virtual conference breakout rooms?
Whereas last year your attendees made connections at the hotel lobby, after sessions, during breakouts, over happy hour or in the exhibit hall next year at this time they’ll be talking about how they connected over the session comment board, virtual breakouts, a sponsor poll, or on the conference live chat. Much like a in person conference a virtual conference has a variety of ways to connect.
What role does online conference chat have on networking?
Typically an online conference platform with chat features will have a conference wide chat, and also chat rooms by session, poster, sponsor, or exhibitor. On our platform each poster, exhibitor, session or sponsor have a dedicate page with dedicated chat.
What virtual conference management services are most often used by associations?
Probably the most overlooked aspect of planning a virtual conference is how to handle training presenters and assisting attendees having trouble the day of the conference. At OpenWater we offer both a platform and virtual conference management services. We’ve assisted associations in a number of ways. First we offer training guides to your staff on helping presenters navigate the session gallery, instructions for uploading presentations and how to prerecord presentations in Zoom or Power Point. In certain situations we have provided dedicated live support the day of the conference to attendees and presenters alike. This can include jumping into a session room when something goes wrong, or being there to moderate for an important keynote.
How can I raise the production value of a virtual conference?
We’re seeing a growing trend in which associations are increasingly interested in having a few pre-record in person panels, or prerecorded welcoming remarks. In response we’ve built a small ecosystem of diverse talent that is ready to offer your team a wide range of help.
Virtual Academic Conference Management Software
How can virtual academic, scientific or medical conference create niche networking?
For academics, scientists, and doctors conferences are a chance to share research, learn new skills, meet future supervisors, students, and collaborators. The key to recreating a vibrant virtual symposium or poster exhibit hall is to keep your conference website simple. OpenWater uses everyday tools like comment boards and chat rooms to encourage networking on a session or poster basis.
Do you have examples of virtual conferences with an academic focus?
This spring (2020) OpenWater helped the Association of American Geographers, AAPT Physics Education, American Astronomical Society, ISPOR (healthcare) and the Law & Society Association hastily migrate to a fully virtual experience. After each event we are proud to report our clients and attendees were satisfied. When we worked with AAG, one of the best outcomes for attendees was coffee session meeting rooms. Coffee sessions are small meetings between presenters and attendees.
What makes virtual academic conference and virtual symposiums so challenging?
Academic, scientific and medical conferences are content rich experiences that enable critical niche networking. Migrating these conferences onto a virtual academic conference management software presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities for associations. OpenWater's platform enables conference administrators to manage both the process of accepting abstract applications, judging, and setting up a virtual conference home with a session agenda, and exhibit hall for posters and sponsors.
How to Plan a Virtual Conference
What virtual conference services are needed beyond a virtual conference platform?
Similar to how a physical conference may have a person in the room to help with the microphone and projector, a virtual conference needs staff to take ownership of troubleshooting if speakers or attendees have difficulty. The largest need for additional staff will be assisting presenters the day of the conference to ensure that they're able to access the correct virtual rooms, answer questions, and play on-demand recordings. Think of staff as technical assistants for remote conference software.
How do I host a virtual conference?
The best method to host a virtual conference is to use a platform that facilitates the critical elements of a successful virtual conference such as creating network opportunities, organizing the administrative workload associated with managing speakers, and constructing a website that attendees can easily navigate. Platforms like Zoom are a small part of the virtual conference experience and are used to facilitate the video conferencing, but don't provide additional value to help organize and promote the actual event.
How does a virtual conference work?
A virtual conference works through a collection of software tools and processes. Organizations use virtual conference platforms to create an experience for attendees that are ease to navigate, facilitate networking and mitigate the administrative burden. Unlike a virtual event, virtual conferences involve sponsorship, multiple speaker session and create networking opportunity through the use of social networking and breakout rooms. OpenWater provides virtual event networking software as part of its platform.
Do you have any examples of a virtual conference?
Yes, recently we worked with the American Association of Geographers who had to move their annual meeting to virtual in 30 days. The virtual annual meeting was a success. After the event we recorded a webinar interviewing AAG's Conference Director about the experience of working with OpenWater. Since we have held numerous other associations and can walk you through additional virtual conference examples. We're happy to share cases studies and review our virtual conference demo with you.
How to choose the best virtual conference platform?
In order to find the best online virtual conference platform it is important to consider the amount of technical help your team and presenters will need to put on a virtual symposium, virtual annual meeting, or virtual academic research conference. Associations that are planning a long term shift to virtual experiences should use this as an opportunity to invest in creating underlining efficiencies through a virtual conference software platform paired with a conference management software that can handle the influx of speaker submission and internal review.
How to plan for a virtual conference?
Much of the success in planning a virtual conference will be driven by the work you’re doing day to day. Try to avoid building up too much uninspiring work. Limit the time your team spends bogged down in mundane administrative tasks, and plan ahead for the amount of time you can responsibly spend on email everyday keeping organized. This is important to keep in mind when selecting a platform and choosing partner vendors.
What is a virtual conference vs. a virtual event?
A virtual event is usually limited to one day, a few speakers and some light networking. A virtual conference typically involved multiple concurrent sessions, ongoing networking, and an exhibit hall for posters or sponsors.
What are the basic components of virtual conference technology?
Virtual conference tools are typically divided up between tools used to enable video conferencing and tools to enable organizing a virtual conference. Virtual conference companies work with vendors to create the virtual home or venue of the conference. Think of a virtual conference platform as your convention center. Virtual conference platforms options typically include a homepage, back end administrative area, a session agenda builder, session pages, and virtual conference networking software through chat, comment boards, and polls.
How do I post automated conference recordings?
The best virtual conference platforms automate recording postings so that they are available shortly after the session ends. A good turn around time is about one hour. You online conference management system will enable this, sometimes by auto-configuring Zoom.
Is OpenWater a Zoom Virtual Conference Platform?
OpenWater is a Zoom partner and holds a Zoom master license that we use to automate and scale Zoom for large scale events. OpenWater is a Zoom virtual conference platform. Think of OpenWater as your conference venue, and Zoom as the conference rooms. OpenWater is the hallway into Zoom rooms.