The year 2021 was an important milestone for GUARANT International – we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the company’s founding in 1991. At the end of 2020, we planned to meet with clients and employees in the fall and celebrate this anniversary properly at the party. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing situation around the pandemic, the party had to be canceled. Therefore, we have created at least an online (and in the autumn physical) version of the newspaper, which describes the 30-year history of the GI. You can see the online version on our website: https://guarant.cz/30-let-guarant-international/
What’s new in virtual and hybrid solutions?
Already in 2020, we moved to a virtual environment, so we kind of hoped that this year, physical events will once again prevail. Unfortunately, we were wrong about that. The postponed events from last year turned into a hybrid or most often into a virtual format. In addition, several months of lockdowns occurred in the spring, including border closures, and our offices moved to our homes.
As the date of the return to the opportunity to meet live was delayed, it was necessary to ensure the basic requirement within the conferences – quality transmission of content – presentation and sound insufficient quality. After solving the content, another problem followed, and thus it was necessary to provide remote participants with the opportunity to participate – asking questions, voting, and surveys. Ideally, we tried to provide the same or comparable experience with live event options, including such details as the delivery of break and lunch packages (at least in Prague and delivery cities).
Virtual or hybrid events are a greater risk for conference organizers. If you are organizing a live conference, you have everything in a conference center or hotel under a certain degree of control. With virtual participation, you control the signal coming from the studio and you no longer control the environment of remote speakers or participants, their computers, or mobile phones.
Nevertheless, we managed to organize interesting and large conferences; for example, the four-day World Congress of Anesthesiology with more than 6,500 participants or the International Congress on Robotic Systems IROS, which hosted 20 parallel sections each day and featured more than 1,700 pre-recorded presentations followed by discussions.
As part of our offer of virtual solutions, we offered clients the option of choosing two main platforms – gCon and GI VEE, on which we handled more than 25 events and presented them in detail on the new website https://virtualbyguarant.com/homepage/. For smaller webinars, we used the worldwide Zoom and Webex platforms, on which over 70 of them left.
We look forward to the new year with the hope that physical events will once again become the dominant feature of the congress industry. We expect a return to limited travel, a relatively quick comeback of national conferences and corporate events. International congresses will return to normal slowly, they will make more use of elements known from virtual events, and the number of hybrid solutions will increase.
Next year we will have several major international congresses, such as the 27th WONCA Europe Conference in London, the 27th FECAVA Eurocongress, the 26th ICOM General Conference, and the WAC 9 – World Archeology Congress, which will take place in Prague.