Because event management is all about gatherings, it has had to adjust to the big crises shaking up society today : terrorism and pandemics. This capacity to adjust and bounce back is central to the values of key4events. The human dimension of events and gatherings should keep its leading role. Yet it’s now technology and innovation that can make this possible.

Gathering safely in event management

I think back to 2016, which was so peculiar for many events. After the tragic series of attacks that hit France, security challenges changed considerably. Media firms TF1 and NRJ – co-producers of the NRJ Music Awards in Cannes – were prompted to overhaul the way they managed access to the event. We had to support a new accreditation process using an adapted solution. From registrations to entry passes and checks, the system was revised and reinforced to safely vouch for all those present, whether staff members, artists or media workers. Our teams’ capacity to adapt was crucial in tackling a huge challenge : to reassure people at a time when terrorist attacks were still fresh in their minds.

Using the full potential of digital technology

A new crisis. And new needs to adapt. Coronavirus hit the world with full force at the start of 2020. Yet our teams swung into action. They’ve been working both to virtualise many conferences that can’t currently be held on-site and shift towards hybrid solutions for events, which I’m sure will soon be used widely.

The Nice Shoulder Course, an event with worldwide influence in shoulder surgery, was founded by the highly respected Professor Pascal Boileau. This year, given the pandemic and organisational constraints, he opted for an e‑conference format. This would keep the scheduled date and avoid disrupting work already undertaken for a scientific programme decided on long before. Key4events had been a partner of this event for 14 years, managing many on-site operations, including entry passes, previews, video recordings, a major control room and a system for interactive voting and session appraisals via a special app. We had to urgently help our client meet new challenges brought about by an unprecedented health crisis : Because this event was well-known as an on-site gathering, how could we make it accessible to all those involved via online solutions ? And without spoiling it ? Could we even bring the event added value through digital technology ?

Adapting and learning lessons from the crisis

Adapting. In a very short space of time, we had to offer an entirely virtual format that would respect the scientific programme initially planned. For this client, like for many others, we had to upskill around 70% of our staff, training them in tasks that only a small team mastered until then : remote session-recording.

So key4events was asked to produce content in advance of the Nice Shoulder Course and coordinate live sessions during the conference, which took place in July. For this, an appointment-booking feature for the assisted recording of speakers was added to our tool Register. With this new module, our production teams enjoy extra help in their logistics and can track progress made in their tasks. Adapting, time after time.

Our expertise has also led us to produce many webinars – almost daily – for another big name in medicine : ESC (European Society of Cardiology). This video content is designed to inform hundreds of health professionals about the virus and its effects on health. Our teams had to be highly responsive to make it a success. They recreated excellent video control rooms to oversee production during lockdown.

Adapting. Each crisis brings its share of new challenges that we have to meet if we don’t want to miss the boat. And because our teams are very good at adapting, we can bounce back against such an uncertain backdrop. On 1 September, on-site conferences and trade fairs started up again, with newly adjusted solutions. Event management in all forms has been hard hit by the health crisis. But digital technology has helped us reinvent ourselves. Yet this can’t disregard the human contact that characterises our sector. That’s why hybrid solutions are marking this post-summer period, which we’re really enjoying !

Bruno Ricciardi, CEO, key4events