Client: IEEE Robotics and Automation Society
International conference IROS is a regular conference that connects experts from the world of robotics. For the first time in IROS history, the event was held in Central Europe. Unfortunately, due to pandemics, the client decided in spring 2021 that the conference will be held entirely online.
The biggest challenge was modifying the gCon platform as required by the client. So, the conference allowed the introduction of live meetings, discussions, forums, workshops and tutorials, competitions, exhibition, sponsorship programs, virtual tours and other online interactions.
Platform – As mentioned above, the platform was modified based on the client’s requirements. We used the gCon conference platform and ZOOM platform for workshops.
Unlike other conferences, almost every participant was an author or co-author of the papers. They had access to the platform a month before the event. They could upload their papers in video format, and others could see them before the event.
Programme – Five-day conference had an exciting and varied program. The first and fifth days were dedicated to workshops, forums and tutorials. For the remaining three days, technical sessions, plenary talks and keynote talks were prepared for the participants. Each author had a few minutes to talked about their paper, and then they discussed the topic.
The conference was opened and closed by a ceremony. The opening ceremony was streamed from a virtual studio at the O2 universum. The closing ceremony was dedicated to the presentation of Prague, accompanied by the composition Vltava by Bedřich Smetana.
Competitions and Awards – Within the conference, three competitions were organized. Robotics competitions provided an ideal opportunity to learn from others, network with teams, and improve skills. Teams had to solve real-world challenges in a short period. For example, one of the competitions was the Navigation and manipulation challenge for young students using Webots for robot simulation.
During IROS 2021, 14 prizes were awarded in various categories: Best Paper & Best Student Paper Award, Best RoboCup Paper Award, or Toshio Fukuda Young Professional Award.
Workshops, tutorials and forums – This programme parts were all live. Forty-eight workshops, each 2-hour session run on gCon or ZOOM platform. They were full of interactions with participants. Four tutorials offered participants a specific educational presentation and learned about news in the world of robotics. And five 2-hour forums were organized; they included round table discussions and Q&A sections.
Exhibitors and partners – Each exhibitor could choose and set up their virtual stand according to partnership packages, where many displayed a video introducing their company, uploaded brochures etc. There were 17 exhibitors and partners in total. Collecting leads online was more effortless than ever, with a live chat function to answer any questions and in-booth promotions. CIIRC CTU in Prague chose a 3D stand, and it was the most visited one. The whole room looked the same as their official site in university.
Entertainment – The Czech Republic offers many monuments, and Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We did not want to deprive the participants of anything. Participants had an exciting opportunity to visit Prague and the Czech Republic virtually from Prague Plaza.
IROS 2021 was a big success with 2 167 participants. The United States has the most significant representation with 569 participants, followed by Japan with 270 participants and China with 200 participants. 1 143 participants attended workshops.
The event delivered participants new information’s from the robotics world. It allowed them to share ideas amongst themselves through the various networking features.