Planning a Multi-Site Meeting

For a Multi-Site meeting to be effective, it must be well planned, scripted, and produced. The theme of a Multi-Site meeting must be consistent with the message. The execution of the event should be built on macro or large concepts that enable lively interaction to take place regionally. This is accomplished through careful planning with a team experienced in getting results from meetings that can span time zones and countries. Optimally, a producer, director, technical staff and talent are all selected at least 60 days before the event date.

Venue Planning

Venue selection and reservation is key to successful Multi-Site meetings. Venues such as hotel ballrooms offer comfortable seating, advanced audio/visual systems and offer facilities for catering. They are a good choice for Multi-Site events. Often hotels have some communications facilities available for use during meetings.

Communications facilities can be key to a Multi-Site meeting. The highest quality method of visual communications for many years has been broadcasting via satellite. This technology employs the same type of systems used to deliver television programming to homes through roof mounted satellite dishes. However, this does not allow for a high degree of interaction between sites without significant broadcasting expense.

An alternative to high cost broadcasts via satellite are interactive video conferences. This technology allows parties to meet visually using digital telephone lines such as ISDN or over IP using high speed Internet Access.

Most hotels can accommodate satellite broadcasts and either ISDN or IP video conferences.

Pre-Production Planning

Planning for each location, especially the Host Site, is critical for the success of large business meetings. Special attention must be paid to room layout, screen or monitor location, acoustics and microphone locations. Echo cancellation and ambient noise levels must be part of the engineering evaluation in order to assure good audio quality from the Host Site.

On the day of the event, the on-site director of the meeting manages a checklist of all engineered audio and video systems for the event from the Host Site while the engineering support team manages the same checklist for remote sites.

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Broadcast Network Reservations

Satellite space time and video ports must be reserved and tested prior to use. Typical test times for a satellite broadcast and a multipoint video conference begin 1-2 hours prior to the actual start time of the event. Many business meetings run long and so it is a good practice to reserve facilities for at least 30 minutes beyond the expected meeting end time.

Venue Room Coordination

Room selection, reservation and coordination are important for large meetings. For example, physical room space is always important. While a hotel most certainly can provide a floor plan showing a room layout, a site survey is usually required to be certain a space will accommodate guests in the manner desired for the event. Further, a site survey may result in a change in venue on the basis of audio or lighting characteristics of a space.

While most room based issues can be countered with special lighting or audio equipment, cost and practicality often suggest the best venue is the one that is pre-configured for good quality sound and lighting.

Event Engineering Support

Engineers on-hand to support each location during a business meeting are critical to successful Multi-Site meeting. Engineering teams can even assist remotely by using audio and video signal monitors to adjust signal levels mid-meeting. Whether physically on-site, or supporting a meeting remotely, event engineering support is critical to success.

About TKO Video Communications

TKO is an industry leader in video conferencing, satellite broadcasting and event management. We provide high-quality and reliable video communications solutions for business, government, education and global enterprises.

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