Swift and harsh. That’s how the impact of COVID-19 has been on event companies around the world. To pull through, many have had to pivot as swiftly as the pandemic has disrupted them.
That’s exactly what innoVia Productions has done. From producing live events and meetings for enterprise clients, it has had to quickly shift to organizing virtual events.
The Dallas-based company is fortunate to have multiple clients in life sciences, many of which have needed to bring people from different locations together to discuss urgent vaccine and drug studies, including those for COVID-19. So in 2020, innoVia jumped into action, creating a virtual event platform called Zenevent. It then sought a video conferencing system to integrate into the new platform.
In particular, innoVia wanted a solution that could help deliver the interactivity clients were looking for. “A lot of existing products were great for streaming one or two presenters to 1,000 people, but not if you wanted to have 20 breakouts with 30 to 60 or 100 people each,” says Chief Operating Officer Wayne Vincent.
Vincent and his team considered about a dozen solutions, but BlueJeans Meetings stood out for its simplicity and ease of joining a meeting or event. Participants wouldn’t have to download a separate application and provide credentials to get into a session.
“We wanted our clients to be able to watch the general session stream, go to an exhibit hall, or join an interactive session in one place without having to give additional credentials,” says Vincent. “And that’s really where BlueJeans shone for us — that ability to embed, and its strong API [Application Programming Interface].”
innoVia has since been using BlueJeans Meetings to provide interactivity in its events. It pairs BlueJeans with an interactive Q&A, polling, and chat tool, and connects it to a web-based interactive whiteboard system. The company also uses the video conferencing platform for exhibitors’ live presentations from their virtual booths.
Growing in a time of Crisis
Client response to BlueJeans Meetings’ integration into Zenevent has been overwhelmingly positive. During one of the 2020 events innoVia helped produce, a pharmaceutical company greatly accelerated its trials of vital vaccines and drugs.
“Instead of attendees and presenters spending six weeks to travel to 12 countries, the client used our virtual platform powered by BlueJeans to do simultaneous breakout sessions in 12 languages for three days,” says Vincent. “This helped them achieve dramatic increases in efficiency.
“Above all, BlueJeans allowed our company to pivot from live to virtual events, helping us create a new platform for our team, clients, and in some cases, clients’ clients. It enabled us to continue to be relevant, and to maintain and grow our client base.”
Indeed, innoVia grew its number of clients from 16 in 2019 to 21 in 2020. It has so far added five more in 2021. Its events have also attracted more attendees, growing more than 26% on average in 2020 from the previous year.
“So far in 2021, we’ve had more attendees than last year or in 2019, with our average event attendance up around 157% from 2020,” says Vincent.
While other event companies were shedding jobs, innoVia increased its workforce by almost 40% in 2020. It has also increased the number of production and technology contractors it works with, providing much-needed business opportunity.
“We were able to develop a completely new business model, helping us build a life raft for ourselves, clients, and industry,” says Vincent.
The company also enjoys stronger relationships with clients, thanks to its ability to provide them with a vehicle to remain relevant to their stakeholders. More than 80% of its client events now use BlueJeans.
“With BlueJeans, we’ve been able to offer our clients the solutions they were asking for: interactive sessions where all attendees could share their cameras and screens, high-quality video and audio, control via an API, and full integration into our platform,” says Vincent. “By incorporating BlueJeans, we’ve been able to create a 360-degree circle of satisfaction.”