Experiences from the first virtual FOBI
The Educational Week for Practical Dermatology and Venereology has been taking place every two years in Munich for decades. The event was scheduled to take place again in 2020 but also fell victim to the ban on major events in Bavaria.
Organisers were faced with the following options: cancel, postpone or do it online?Interplan, the long-standing congress agency for this event, calculated various budget scenarios, checked possible cancellation fees, created concepts and spoke with potential service providers for an online congress.
It quickly became clear that the first digital training week, and thus a completely new congress experience, was to take place online in July.
Facts & Figures
- The speakers had the possibility to record their lectures in advance or to hold them in realtime
- The lectures were broadcasted initially at the time specified in the program and subsequently made available on demand for a further 6 months
- The presentation was broadcast live from the studio established in the University Clinic in Munich
- The industry was represented in the programme through various industry sessions and additionally in 4 exhibition halls with virtual booths and various interactive features
- Over 2 500 registered participants
- A total of 467 lectures and 105 sessions with up to 14 strands in parallel
- 11 plenary sessions, 44 courses and workshops, 43 industry meetings
- 220 speakers
- Up to 1 054 simultaneous visitors* in one plenary session
- Up to 2 071 simultaneous visitors* in parallel sessions
- Up to 476 simultaneous visitors* in one industry session
- 43 stands in 4 halls of the virtual industrial exhibition
- Over 5 000 visitors in the industrial exhibition with more than 1 000 visits at one stand
- The short-term conversion of a live congress into an online format is very costly and time-consuming
- The selection and cooperation of the appropriate service providers has a significant impact on the quality of the end product
- In the long run, a digital congress cannot replace a live event because the "interpersonal component" is missing
- The focus of the participants during digital events is clearly on scientific content
- The exchange amongst each other and with the industry can be actively encouraged through interaction/gamification
- Event formats can be made more flexible in the future thereby increasing accessibility for more participants
The future of FOBI
- As soon as possible, live congresses will take place again
- The direct exchange with colleagues and industry representatives is, next to the scientific contents, of utmost importance
- In order to allow more flexibility and thus be able to address a larger audience, a hybrid event format is conceivable
- Live congress with regular or limited number of participants
- Transmission of all or selected lectures via an online platform
- Additional branding opportunities for the industry on the virtual platform
- Development of an on-demand e-learning platform with congress content, which can be extended by webinars, etc. at any time and over the years
- If the event had been cancelled, there would have been no FOBI for 4 years
- Due to the restrictions imposed initially at the start of the corona pandemic, no major training opportunities were available
- The portion of medical professionals participating in FOBI DIGITAL was higher than that of previous years.
- Viewer numbers were consistently high throughout the week
- The industry meetings were attended by up to 10 times more participants than on site
- We are currently still recording regular access to the on demand content
- The overall feedback from participants, speakers and industry was very positive
All participants gained many new experiences: it was definitely worth it!