ZoomDox Insight has interviewed one of the organizers of CARV2021, Professor Kjeld Nielsen from Aalborg University to share his experiences from going hybrid
Since CARV2021 was postponed for a year due to Covid-19, the organizers had extended time for planning, and this prolonging was clearly expressed during the two-day hybrid conference at Aalborg University.
CARV stands for Changeable, Agile, Reconfigurable and Virtual Production, and the theme of the conference was “Towards Sustainable Customization: Bridging Smart Products and Manufacturing Systems.”
Before the conference
What was the idea of the preliminary sessions ahead of the conference?
We used these four sessions ahead of the conference as a teaser and a hybrid warmup to the main conference at Aalborg University the 1st and 2nd of November. The four sessions each lasted for one hour, and they were scheduled tightly with different elements to increase interest during the sessions.
We had either one “power lecture” with one keynote, whom we knew could keep the interest from the online participants, otherwise we had two shorter presentations with Q & A after each speaker. In the setup we also allocated time for networking, but we did not manage to get it to work. Our lesson is that if you want to create networking sessions online, you will need to facilitate it closely.
We scheduled the sessions for a 6-pm start Danish time, to attract participants from as many different time zones as possible.
During the conference
What did you consider in order to create hybridity during the conference?
When we decided to go through with the conference after the initial cancellation due to Covid-19, we were determined to make it fully online. Since we were allowed to meet physically, we decided to make it hybrid.
In the planning we worked with three different tracks, the participants could engage through: A physical, an online, and a hybrid track. The online speakers were dedicated to online sessions, where all had to engage through their individual laptops. The speakers participating in person were assigned a hybrid track, which was streamed through Teams. And the fully physical tracks were giving to the presentations taking place outside the auditoriums.
Besides the different tracks, all keynote speakers were live-streamed, as they were presumed to have interest for all participants. To ensure interaction between the audience on remote and the speaker in person, a representative of the organization committee was assigned to interact through the chat forum and bring questions to the speaker.
By making it possible to particpate online you have already contributed to a more sustainable conference setting. Did you make other initiatives in terms of sustainability?
Having participated in many conferences we knew that we would be serving many cups of coffee, and we therefore decided to hand out refills for coffee and water, when the participants checked in. This decision was highly appreciated by the guests.
After the conference
Did you have any thoughts of prolonging interest for the conference after the 2nd of November?
If we were to arrange the conference again, we would definitely have considered how to keep the interest for the next edition of CARV. Since this is not the case, we have therefore not been giving much thoughts continuing to keep interest on the conference.
ZoomDox was responsible for live-streaming and sparring with the organizers ahead of the conference.