It has now been 4 months since our epic marathon of a global event and I am not going to lie, the event took its toll on me and my team. Having to spin up a virtual event from thin air in just 2 months was an epic achievement from everyone involved and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your support. How the community rallied around us was unbelievable and we are forever humbled by that experience.
We have had several lows this year but we have managed to claw ourselves back from the brink of extinction into a much more positive position leading into 2021.
With the announcement from Pfizer this week, I am hopeful that we might just buy ourselves enough space to go ahead with our in person event next year.
With that, I wanted to share some updates on what we have been up to recently and what you can expect in the new year.
We have launched two new events on the calendar for 2021 that you are welcome to participate in, The Tech Community Awards and Golfing Geeks.
The Tech Community Awards is something that we have wanted to do since Commsverse was created but we wanted to get at least one event under our belts beforehand.
From January 1st 2021, community members can submit their nominations to us in 8 Award categories for the people they feel within the community deserve to be recognised for their outstanding contributions and commitment to the Microsoft Community. The community will have the opportunity to vote for their chosen finallist in each category and the winner presented with the Award at Commsverse 2021 based on the total number of votes.
This award is in the name of the Community and is sponsored wholly by Commsverse.
You can find out more about the Awards: https://techcommunityawards.com
Golfing Geeks is something I have wanted to do for a while. I have the idea of creating an informal weekend of socialising, relaxation, fun and learning. Golfing Geeks is an event for both Golfers and Non-Golfers to participate in.
The event will be held in the Summer 2021 (date to be confirmed) at Belton Woods Golf Resort, Grantham, roughly 2.5 hours from London and Manchester, UK. It will be a weekend event, a 2 night stay (Friday & Saturday night) with lots of socialising over dinner as well as 2 rounds of Golf on Championship courses. Mixed in with this there will be some light technical sessions focussed on the content the participants want to hear.
For non-golfers, we have opportunities for more workshops as well as access to the hotel Spa and health club. There will be opportunities to get involved in Golf as well, putting competitions and introductory lessons.
This is a family event, so partners are invited, Children too if you think it is appropriate for them to attend.
At the moment I am gathering interest. Please register your interest here: Golfing Geeks
Commsverse 2021 – Pre-Order!
Those of you who have active tickets to our event have already been informed that Commsverse 2021 is now June 29th and 30th 2021.
If you do not have a ticket, we do have some capacity available for you. However, we know that these are uncertain times and we do not expect you to purchase a ticket until you are sure the event is going to go ahead and you can attend.
Therefore, I am pleased to announce that we now support pre-ordering of tickets. With pre-orders, you can secure your ticket to Commsverse 2021 today and you won’t be charged until June 1st 2021.
If we have to move the event again, we move the charge date with it so you can be sure that you only pay when the event is 100% going ahead!
The COVID Effect
Quite rightly you will be concerned about the effects and implications of attending an event post pandemic.
I would like to assure you that we will be following the guidelines laid out by the Government as well as any additional measures we feel are necessary to ensure that you can attend in a safe and secure way.
It is a bit early to let you know how covid will shape the event and the restrictions that will be in place as the situation is not clear to anyone as yet. We will keep you informed.
We will have some exciting news to share with you shortly. It is a bit premature to make the announcement just yet, but there will be some Commsverse virtual events next year no matter what happens with in-person.
With regards to our in-person event, should that go ahead we will be running a hybrid event with a remote attendee option for those unable to travel to the event. More details on that in the New Year.
2020 On Demand Content Now FREE
At our 2020 event, we recorded over 200 sessions for on-demand viewing. Until now, this content has been behind a paywall of £25.
The decision to charge for access to this when other conferences offered this free was not taken out of greed, but necessity. When Covid hit, we where already paid up with the venue and suppliers for our in-person event. With them going on furlough during lockdown it was impossible to get answers to simple questions, let alone discussions on reimbursements.
Compounding this, 2020 is our first year, so we had no residual revenue to help us spin up a virtual alternative. We took the decision early on to ringfence the money from ticket revenue so that everyone with an in-person ticket could be refunded if they so wished.
Running a virtual event is not free to us. There are costs on tooling and marketing to pay upfront. These costs had to be recouped and with Exhibitors in the same boat as Attendee’s it meant we couldn’t in good conscience ask them to pay more money.
The only way we could recoup the money was to ask you to pay to access the on demand content.
I am very grateful to everyone who purchased an on-demand ticket to support us through this difficult time.
I am pleased to say that we have reached a point where we have recovered enough and we feel that sufficient time has passed since the last payment that we can now revert to our preferred model of allowing everyone FREE access to the content that was produced at Commsverse.
Effective immediately & going forward, all on-demand content we produce for our events will be free to stream on-demand from our website.
You can access the on-demand library here
Our website is going through a lot of changes to better support you and make your experience the best it can be. We have invested a lot of time to build our website into something very bespoke that meets our needs as a conference. Here is a list of improvements you can benefit from
- Simplified checkout experience for ticket purchases with pre-order capability
- Simplified account creation process that allows you access to content easier
- Re-designed attendee portal to make it easier to navigate through the website
- New Speaker Portal where you can submit and manage your sessions
- New Exhibitor Portal so exhibitors can make direct updates to their booth pages and promotions
- Session voting for letting us know which sessions you would like to see at our events
- Single account experience, the username and password on the site now grants you access to all our software and apps
- Enterprise Social network allowing you to connect with fellow Commsverse members in a LinkedIn / Facebook style private social environment
- Custom made Commsverse mobile app for our events that will include everything you need to successfully attend our events (Coming Q1 2021)
Our hope is that by building our own tooling centered around our website it will not only reduce our effort in keeping disparate systems synchronised but also reduce the amount of communication you receive that will in turn make your experience feel more cohesive.
Saving paper is good for the environment. Saving kilobytes in your inbox is good for your soul.
In conjunction with improving our systems our aim is to reduce the amount of e-mail communications you receive from us and our partners.
As the system develops and you get used to it, the amount of Spam as people call it will reduce to the point where you will only receive transactional emails from us.
The rest of the communication will be done using our website social network and mobile app. This will be the go to place for you to find out information.
This of course works both ways, we aim to reduce our email traffic to you in return you need to use our platform to find out what you need to attend our events.
Data Sharing Updates
We were perhaps a little naive driven by panic to make rash decisions over how our sponsors communicate with you. We recognise this and we have learnt from that.
We have readdressed the way we share attendee details to our sponsors as a result.
Effective immediately, for in-person events, our sponsors will need to either scan your badge or you scan a QR code on their stand to exchange contact details.
For virtual events, if you attend a session from a sponsor, we will provide them with the session attendance report for that session. For community sessions, no attendance report is shared. The sponsors shall not receive the entire registration list other than anonymised demographical data.
We believe this is the most sensible middle ground to reduce post conference spam but also provide both you and our sponsors with quality leads and communications both sides will be interested in receiving.
That’s all the updates I have for you at the moment. I hope you are looking forward to what we have coming for 2021.