Moving hybrid in-house at IET Birmingham: Austin Court

With unbeatable technology solutions and an experienced AV team on hand

The new package offers exclusive use of our venue for up to 70 delegates split into different rooms with 2m social distancing, all equipped with large screens to be able to stream content from the Kingston Lecture Theatre.

This means all delegates can hear the same content being streamed from the theatre to the individual on-site pods, with different discussion groups according to their personal agendas.

Catering is offered on a delivery basis to each pod, or through staggered intervals in one of the larger breakout rooms overlooking the canal.

A necessary shift in the industry towards hybrid events

Providing a more secure solution to conferences being conducted from safe distances, however, it has not been without its challenges.

Virtual technology can both connect and disconnect its users simultaneously, from poor internet connectivity to email interruptions and lack of personal interaction.

This package is a reaction to these challenges

Offering a home-from-home alternative to unite speakers and audiences while remaining safe and comfortable. The option stands to extend reach virtually to all those unable to physically attend due to quarantining, restrictions on travel, and beyond.

The in-house hybrid concept ensures professionality for the reputation of the organiser, maximum output from delegates and a welcomed return of some sense of normality for speakers, who have been propelled into a new dynamic of virtual events in recent months.

Interviews with IET’s recent speakers have shown that a live audience, in some capacity, would be gladly received, as speaker comfort has been somewhat overlooked in the industry’s transition towards online events.

Akmal Shahzad, Venue Manager at IET Birmingham: Austin Court said: “The need to adapt to offer virtual and hybrid events has been undeniable and something that we’ve done for some time at Austin Court anyway.

We also found it impossible to ignore the feedback that our own speakers have given and that we’ve experienced ourselves through a series of online events throughout remote working.

We, therefore, came up with this package to remove the onus from every single speaker, delegate, and moderator at conferences, meaning nobody has to worry about unreliable internet, small screens or all the distractions that come with being at home.

We’re lucky to have so many adaptable spaces that can be set up as secure pods for sub-events while unifying delegates through the central hub of an overarching event in our Kingston Theatre.”