Client: International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology/Division of History of Science and Technology (IUHPST/DHST)
At the ICHST Congress, leading experts in history, science and technology meet to share new knowledge and develop their networks. Participants share critical knowledge and new practical experience from the field. In a physical form, the congress was regularly attended by 800–1000 participants.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic around the world, in the autumn of 2020, the client decided to change the format of the event from physical to virtual. Shifting to a virtual event can be a challenge–the experience and elegance of a live event is missing. However, we already had experience with these shifts and we decided to offer a unique experience to the participants regardless of the format of the event.
In addition to the virtual congress, we had to deal with one more challenge. Within the scope of the congress, the elections of the President of the company was to take place under the supervision of a board. In this respect, too, we have benefited from the experience gained during our previous virtual events.
Platform: Due to the scale of the event and a limited budget, we could not use the platform that we usually use for large congresses. The client also mentioned that it preferred ZOOM that many participants are familiar with and that is very easy to use. We approached our external collaborator who developed our specialised program to see whether the system can be combined with the preferred ZOOM platform. Et voilà–after testing, this combination showed to be viable and also user-friendly.
Speakers: The congress took place in the CEST zone and for this reason the lectures by distant speakers were pre-recorded (New Zealand, Asia, etc.). Speakers from Europe joined live. Throughout the congress, a technical team was available to the speakers. The technical team introduced the platform to the speakers and tested it before the congress. As a result, technical problems were eliminated, just as any uneasiness during the event.
The Electoral System: Finding a solution on how to hold online elections was probably the biggest challenge for our organizational team. After analysing the possible applications and platforms, we decided to use the Election Buddy platform which met the client’s requirements.
With 901 participants from 53 countries and a positive response from the clients, the congress exceeded all expectations. According to the President, it was the best virtual event he had ever attended.
The virtual exhibition which was attended by 4 partners, was also a success.