Assemble quickly to gain perspective and insight

These last several months have been troublesome and hectic for many (all?) industries. One in particular, the swine industry, has been hit by high input costs (corn: is it for ethanol or animal feed?) and low pork selling prices. In such a situation one thing people need is information and direction.

To help swine industry, Truffle Media Networks participated in developing the Swine Forecast 2009. In about 10 weeks a small team pulled together the people that could address the issues, marketed this virtual conference, and delivered several key presentations live using web based technologies to about 1000 attendees.

A decade ago information development and live delivery would have required six months+ of planning. Today the technologies exist to help pull people together to share their thoughts and provide perspective on addressing the big question on the minds of swine producers: "Where do we go from here?".

Quick summary of tactics and technologies used to bring this virtual conference together:
  • Google docs were used to coordinate planning and details.
  • Mitel Virtual Meeting services connected about 30 sites together to display the presentations and audio.
  • Each of the presentations and their audio was captured and delivered as a poscast/videocast after the event concluded.
  • Low tech but very direct: invitations to attend were done personally by representatives from the sponsoring companies. Utilizing this approach helped bring lots of people together quickly.
  • Instead of a traditional webinar approach where everyone was online (and possibly not very engaged while reading email, eating...) the event was delivered to about 30 sites. This increased the interaction during the event and during breaks. It still is very much a people based world; that direct contact provided insight that is hard to obtain on total virtual webinars.
Look to see more of these types of gatherings. The design and development of these types of events is less expensive than traditional conferences while still retaining a sense of connectivity people need during times of concern.