What should you do when a worldwide pandemic forces you to halt two yearly events? 

You don’t back down. 

Pandemic or not, the show must go on! This was the exact sentiment held by the determined team at Broadband Communities (BBC)

What is Broadband Communities (BBC)?

Broadband Communities (BBC) is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. BBC magazine offers in-depth news, insights, and practical know-how on technical, business, financial, and legal aspects of outfitting properties and communities with broadband solutions. BBC logo

The Broadband Communities Summit is an event for community leaders, multifamily property owners and network builders interested in building, managing, marketing and monetizing high-speed broadband technologies and services.  

Resolved to continue with their summit, they decided to move their in-person event to a virtual summit. 

vFairs: The Best Fit for BBC’s Virtual Summit?

Browsing through the internet, considering various virtual event platforms, BBC finally found what they were looking for in vFairs.

BBC was in search of a virtual event platform that featured an interactive exhibit hall. It also needed a platform that would allow BBC to provide as much information as possible for exhibitors, creating an opportunity for them to network and learn about developments in the industry. These requirements aligned with what vFairs had to offer. 

The first BBC virtual summit had two clear objectives in mind: 

  1. Provide attendees with relevant valuable information on what’s new in the industry, what coming, what works and what doesn’t 
  2. Create networking opportunities so exhibitors and sponsors could share information

These objectives were of paramount importance even when BBC hosted in-person events, and thus were vital in their first virtual outing.  

The BBC virtual summit offered knowledge, expertise and products to the providers (exhibitors), as well as the community leaders, multifamily owners and network builders (attendees).

So with a virtual event platform ready BBC launched their three-day event starting on September 22nd, 2020. 

vFairs offered some specific features that helped the BBC virtual summit stand out and make a lasting impression. Let’s see what they did. 

BBC Virtual Summit’s Colorful 3D Animated Lobby

BBC wanted to set a good first impression. Realizing the importance of a virtual lobby as the first point of contact for attendees, they made sure the lobby design was colorful and attractive. They strategically placed a welcome video in the middle. This also served as a navigational video, which guided the attendees through the virtual venue, making attendees feel comfortable with the setting. 

welcome video in virtual lobby

Insights from Community Leaders via Presentations 

The virtual auditorium was the perfect setting for presentations. Speakers shared their case studies, expert advice and strategies. Presentations were on a range of topics. From trends in telecom due to COVID-19 to broadband initiatives, and digital infrastructure investments. All live, pre-recorded and on-demand presentations provided insights into the industry, evolving business models, and opportunities to look out for in great detail for the attendees. 

Virtual Auditorium webinar sessions

Boosting Attendee Participation with a Scavenger Hunt 

A ‘Big Cash Drawings’ section was placed in the main menu. This was a virtual scavenger hunt where attendees had to spot logos of participating companies hidden all over the virtual event platform. Anyone who spotted all the logos got a chance to qualify for a cash prize, from $1000 to $5000. As this was conditional on attendees visiting all booths, it was a great way to encourage them to cover more ‘virtual ground’. 

leaderboard at BBC virtual summit

Gathering Insights on Consumer Experience 

A ‘Summit Survey’ was added to the virtual event platform. This allowed event organizers to understand how attendees heard of the summit, or if they had attended their event before. Even asking attendees if they would come back for Summit 2021, or how their experience was in BBC Virtual Summit 2020. This was a simple, yet effective way of understanding the participants’ experience. 

survey at BBC virtual summit

Helping Attendees and Exhibitors Connect in a Networking Lounge

The networking lounge provided extensive opportunities for the attendees to connect with exhibitors and fellow attendees. There were direct links to: 

  • AT&T booth 
  • BBC 2020 summit program guide 
  • BBC magazine 
  • Attendee list (allowed attendees to look up other attendees to personally contact them – contact details available)
  • Multifamily chatroom 
  • Economic development chatroom 
  • Rural telecom chatroom 

This encouraged participants to directly jump to the chatroom most relevant to them, or connect with fellow attendees via the attendee list. Thus, attendees were able to maneuver through the virtual venue effortlessly. 

networking lounge at BBC virtual summit profile filter

Informational Content Available for Download

Videos and documents in the ‘video vault’ and ‘resources’ provided interactive relevant content to attendees. Documents consisted of magazine issues, company and corporate overviews among other useful resources. Moreover, attendees could add these in their virtual ‘swag bag’ and download them later. 

resources video vault

Extensively Laid Out Exhibit Hall

The exhibit hall featured a number of booths. The list of highly reputable exhibitors included AT&T and Verizon to Ghostfiber among many more. These exhibit booths had information on each company. They even had a chat button, which took attendees to the chatroom directly. Thus, enabling them to use the live audio, video and text chat tools easily. 

Exhibit Booth at BBC virtual summit

BBC Virtual Summit: Final Thoughts

When the pandemic hit, the BBC team knew that the summit must take place, albeit on a virtual platform. However, they faced a number of challenges. For instance, pre-recording sessions, uploading them online and getting speakers and sponsors on board. Since the BBC team had never done pre-recorded webinar sessions before, they found the organizational process a bit challenging. 

However, their efforts did not go in vain. They found it was useful in further communications with participants. Attendees could view these sessions after the event. This also provided post-event material for their networks to refer to later on. 

With a dedicated team of individuals at BBC and vFairs, they overcame these challenges together. Dennise Argil, Conference Coordinator at BBC wanted a user-friendly design. vFairs provided that. She related her positive experience with “The vFairs platform was user friendly, our attendees were able to move around with no complications”. 

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