Mr Bürgisser, will virtual meetings soon replace face-to-face interaction?
In everyday professional life, there is nothing like personal interaction. We still believe that to be the case. But the current threat of the coronavirus is compelling us all to avoid gatherings of people. For instance, we are working from home and holding meetings over Skype or using other programs. For companies, this topic has also become more important than ever before. They now need an alternative to conventional group gatherings. And we can offer that.
What exactly do the services of the MCH Group cover in this area?
Our solutions are scalable. This starts quite small, for example by organising video meetings with Zoom. But we can also set up a full-fledged studio for video production – whether here in Basel or at other international locations. Or we can arrange for the live portion of your event to be broadcast. The possibilities are virtually limitless. We can find a bespoke solution for any client.
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How can the audience be engaged?
Our solutions give the audience access to presentations or talks, allowing them to become involved remotely by logging into an app or an associated website. For one client, for example, we recently implemented an event for around 2,000 people. All the break-out sessions of the conference were live-streamed in real time and in multiple languages on 36 channels in total and simultaneously translated by interpreters on location.
Viewers’ questions were projected onto the screens in each of the rooms and could then be addressed and answered by the moderator. A wonderful addition to physical events and currently an excellent alternative in its own right.
What solutions are especially popular at the moment?
We are currently receiving lots of enquiries from companies that wish to hold important meetings virtually, such as for the board of directors, as well as annual general meetings. By law, annual general meetings need to take place by 30 June at the latest. In light of the present situation, this will not always be possible as physical meetings. This is where we come in. Remote voting tools even allow shareholders to vote on motions in real time.
How do you see the future importance of virtual meetings in the event sector?
Above all, I see virtual meetings as a highly beneficial addition to classic events. For instance, I can think of an event that we were able to implement at Messe Basel: the Swiss championship in bodybuilding. A niche topic that could suddenly also appeal to an international audience thanks to the direct live-streaming of the competitions. A community emerged around the event. That will have to be the goal of all events in the future – whether they are held in physical or virtual space.