Virgin Hyperloop Hosts First Passenger Test Event with BlueJeans
The global pandemic has pressed organizations around the world to flex their creative muscles when it comes to delivering remote and virtual experiences. Virgin Hyperloop is no exception — the first passenger test of its revolutionary transportation system required A\V agility and highly technical event management. Rather than hosting a virtual-only presentation for employees, investors, and media, Virgin Hyperloop successfully executed a hybrid event by combining the video livestream with a drive-in movie theater.
On-Site Event Goes Hybrid
To manage the livestream, they turned to the BlueJeans Events platform. Using several fixed and mobile cameras for filming, Virgin Hyperloop’s IT team used BlueJeans Events’ video pinning and layout features to preconfigure the live test. This allowed the team to switch seamlessly between video feed displays during the video broadcast.
“In the past, we’ve brought our employees out to the Nevada test site for viewings and had a big party,” explains Dawn Armstrong, Virgin Hyperloop’s Vice President, Information Technology. Due to the pandemic, that employee experience wasn’t possible this year. “We came up with the idea of creating a drive-in theater experience so that employees could still be there with us and see the event. We had popcorn, movie snacks, cartoons and trivia games. We were able to deliver that same excitement for our employees and their families but in their vehicles, socially distanced…It was the best of both worlds.”
International investors and other stakeholders who couldn’t attend the drive-in event were able to watch the BlueJeans livestream remotely, via a link. Virgin Hyperloop was already using BlueJeans Meetings and BlueJeans Events throughout the organization, but this was the first time it had used the Events platform to livestream on this scale.
“We wanted to put on the best show humanly possible,” says Dawn Armstrong. “And I think we did a good job of that, given the environment we were working in.” A second test, run on the following day, was also livestreamed for investors who had been unable to take part in the first event.
Single-Platform Event Production
The platform is so easy to use that Virgin Hyperloop didn’t need the help of a third-party production company. This helps to keep costs low and puts complete control over the look and feel of events into the hands of the event organizers. was critical for the livestream so BlueJeans Events was an obvious choice. BlueJeans’ video upload feature means it can show videos at a much higher frame rate than can be achieved by screen-sharing options used on other platforms. This means the video quality is far superior. Virgin Hyperloop first needed to set up a point-to-point link between the test site and the location of the drive-in screen.
“There’s no internet in the desert,” explains Armstrong. “So that’s how we got the live feed out there. We literally ran an HDMI cable two miles from a laptop at the test site to the big screen, wirelessly.” Using several fixed and mobile cameras for filming, Virgin Hyperloop’s information technology team used Open Broadcaster Software to combine the video feeds into a single stream. BlueJeans’ video pinning and layout features allowed them to preconfigure the layout of the feeds and switch seamlessly from one feed to another. A member of BlueJeans’ technical team was on hand to answer questions and provide advice before and on the test day.
“BlueJeans’ technical support was simply awesome when we were running our big event. I was very impressed with how quick they were to respond and how thorough they were with some of our more complex questions. They gave us confidence to run our event well. I can’t even imagine, frankly, the expense if we’d had a production company come in and do the same sort of livestreamed event,” says Dawn Armstrong. Having worked through the challenges of the first livestream, Dawn Armstrong says that holding a similar event in the future is a “no-brainer” and plans to use BlueJeans when they reach their next company milestone.
The BlueJeans and Virgin Hyperloop Partnership
Virgin Hyperloop also uses BlueJeans for its everyday communication needs. Team members around the globe use it for everything from internal catchups to meetings with investors. The company also uses it to host its board meetings. With board members joining meetings from a variety of international locations, and often without a good internet connection, being able to monitor users’ internet performance via the administration portal is a useful feature. “We’re able to send them a screenshot and suggest that they join the next meeting using a premium calling number,” says Dawn Armstrong. “The premium calling numbers are vital for us. We use them all the time.” Ultimately, Virgin Hyperloop is pleased to call BlueJeans a trusted partner. “I’m grateful for their support during our history-making milestone of the first manned Hyperloop flight,” Dawn Armstrong says. “With BlueJeans technical assistance, it went off without a hitch.”
BlueJeans Events makes it simple for companies to run engaging, immersive virtual or hybrid events. Need to host a hybrid event with a rock-solid platform? Try BlueJeans Events free for 14 days!