What do you do when you need to bring the team together for a critical announcement, but not everyone is ready to travel? How about a hybrid meeting that streams content to multiple hubs, reducing costs while increasing collaboration? Recently, IACC CEO Mark Cooper announced the launch of IACC MultiPOD meetings—a framework and pledge of excellence to stage geographically diverse meetings, interconnected through strong technology platforms and collaborative venue solutions.
“This has been designed to cater for the way meetings need to happen in the current climate and is underpinned by our commitment to venue excellence. Given global restrictions on travel and limits on the number of people who can gather in person, many business events will take place regionally in smaller groups. However, that does not diminish the desire for in-person live experiences and to foster cross-fertilisation of ideas across countries and continents,” Cooper said.
Three Critical Features
The concept came about after IACC identified three critical features of a multi-located meeting; venue capabilities, strong technology and production delivery and collaboration between all parties. IACC partnered with meetings architect Mike van der Vijver of Mindmeeting, to design a benefits statement for harnessing the power of meetings and conferences taking place in two or more locations. The content, connections and collaboration were all key to an impactful event for attendees and the venues play a very important part. Each IACC venue commits to not only having in place MultiPOD knowledgeable staff with the ability to collaborate with the other venue teams, AV and production teams, making it easier for meeting professionals to manage the event.
PSAV and Electro-Media Design (EMD) also partnered with IACC to developed tje specification document and venue pledge committed to by the 400 IACC certified venues in 25 countries wishing to host a POD meeting. IACC, in conjunction with EMD, offers venues training and consultancy to ensure they are prepared for both MultiPOD and hybrid meeting hosting. PSAV offers a full range of production, platform and collaboration tools, adapted to each brief.
Sean Anderson, IACC’s global president and senior vice president of Sodexo Conferencing explained, “Our immediate focus is on keeping our colleagues, guests and families safe and healthy. At the same time, IACC venues around the world are banding together to help lead the industry’s recovery—and beyond. Personal contact and the closeness of face to face are powerful communication and connection tools. By creating our pods, venues will embrace all necessary elements of physical meetings and provide the necessary infrastructure for best-in-class hybrid solutions. By avoiding physical barriers and infusing the power of digital, we are able to help increase attendance, improve engagement and offer a more inclusive environment.”
There are multiple benefits for meeting planners, including potential for lower costs as a result of reduced distance travel; opportunities for live networking, as well as online networking with people further afield; avoiding the complexities of health measures for larger group gatherings; an easy multiple venue sourcing process supported by IACC; and peace of mind from using IACC-endorsed hybrid technology providers.
While the coordination may be as simple as offering the same food and drink across all venues to provide shared experiences for attendees or sharing important planning related information in advance to save the meeting organiser time, it can also go much deeper if desired, Cooper explained.