The 17th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists
When the the Czech Society of Anaesthesiology, Resuscitation and Intensive Care Medicine, together with GUARANT International, succeeded in their candidacy to host the WCA 2020 Congress, our first challenge immediately awaited us…find a suitable location in Prague that could accommodate up to 8,000 participants, exhibiting companies and the accompanying program. Insufficient capacity was a problem for most of the eligible places. First, the PVA EXPO Letňany trade fair complex was chosen as the congress location. However, as soon as the decision was made to build the O2 Universe, it was also decided to move the congress to this newly built space. You can read about the congress and the opening of the O2 Universa in this article.
In 2020, due to the pandemic, the congress was postponed to 2021. However, the pandemic still did not subside and so the scientific committee decided on a hybrid congress, which in the end turned into a completely virtual one.
This move to host a completely virtual congress brought about the greatest challenge. How to provide participants the best virtual experience.
The solution to this issue was offered in the form of the gCon congress platform, which surpassed other demanded platforms and solutions in its functionality. The platform was redesigned to the specific needs of clients and was subjected to a stress test.
Everything was connected to other elements to ensure the greatest possibility of interactivity and involvement. The platform was the first to connect to the Spatial Chat program. You may have already seen this program. It is a program that provides interactivity and the opportunity to meet and chat. Everything takes place in rooms that can be pre-set and graphically adjusted as needed. The participant joins and becomes a small wheel that they can move around the rooms. As they get closer to someone else in the room, they hear them louder. You can also play various fun and dating games here.
The second program was a photo booth. People could take pictures with different frames, add stickers to the photo or take a moving photo (gif). All the photos that were taken automatically went to a competition, a mosaic and a gallery. In the photo contest, people could add likes to their favorite photos. The mosaic consisted of all the photos taken and you can find it below.
The advantage of moving to a virtual form was the congress availability. Suddenly there was no problem with distance, tickets, accommodation, money, visas, etc. All these worries disappeared and only a computer with an Internet connection was enough. As a result, the congress had become more accessible than ever.
Although the congress language was English, it was also agreed to add English subtitles to each lecture, and in the congress record, participants can choose both English subtitles as well as Spanish and French.
In order to add English subtitles to each lecture, it was necessary to ask the speakers before uploading their presentation. The presentation was then processed into the required format and the background and the already mentioned captions were added. It also provided certainty before uploading presentations if the speaker had any technical connection problems. The speakers who wanted to then signed up for the section live and discussed the topic.
Workshops, PBLDs and Industry sections also took place within the congress. All these lessons were in charge of selected experts who passed on their knowledge to connected participants via Zoom.
A unique event was the attempt to set a world record in CPR, which took place on the penultimate day of the congress. All the participants needed was a pillow, a special mobile phone application and a Zoom connection.
The congress was a success. The technical background of the event was in the O2 Universe, where everyone from the organizational team and all the technicians who took care of the smooth running in the halls were present.
The world record was broken on the penultimate day with 950+ participants from 104 countries.