EASD Annual Meeting 2021:
Fully virtual - uniting past and future
Where we come from and where it’s going
Autumn seems to be still quite far away. However, preparations for the EASD Annual Meeting are already in full swing. On Friday, 19 February 2021, the official starting signal was given: The big industry meeting was about to take place.
The Interplan team presented this year's meeting concept together with the EASD scientific team to over 150 interested company representatives, fully digital of course, but no less exciting. New functionalities of the platform, insights into the backend and a variety of new presentation possibilities for sponsors and exhibitors increased the level of anticipation for the 2021 meeting.
We have a clear vision of what we are going for and look forward to successfully putting all the pieces of the big puzzle together. Looking back one year, the situation at that time looked quite different...
Where we come from
In early 2020, the outbreak of the Corona pandemic caused great uncertainty in the event industry. At the beginning, no one could really say what extent the pandemic would take and what effects could be expected.
First, planning continued for a regular attendance EASD Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria. Then, in May 2020, at a relatively early stage, the well-seasoned and forward-looking decision was made to hold the event virtually. Professor Stefano del Prato and Professor Chantal Mathieu - presidents of EASD - set the ambitious tone to not only leave old traditions behind and go virtual with the EASD Annual Meeting, but also to embrace new concepts and state of the art technologies. It should not be forgotten that EASD already pioneered with the online delivery of parts of the meeting as early as 2008 and has been able to achieve a steadily increasing reach ever since.
Nevertheless, the current situation required a whole new dynamic. The two separately organising parties EASD/Interplan thus entered a new phase of planning. Processes were reshaped, workflows optimized, and weekly meetings ensured close and productive collaboration between the two partners.
The new recipe for success, our joint mind-set and goal declared by Professor Stefano del Prato: "This is not our plan B forced by COVID, it is rather a chance to start the future today with many new opportunities".
Major challenges awaited us: 28 companies wanting to present themselves virtually, the need for a platform that would meet the requirements of participants and industry alike, and above all, many many questions that wished to be answered.
On 21 September 2020 the time had come: The first purely virtual EASD congress began. A highlight of the event was the impressive 3D industry exhibition. Visitors and exhibitors explored the virtual congress space with personalised avatars.
Courage, energy and effort invested into the planning paid off: We look back on a very successful meeting with an increase of 6,000 additional registered participants and plenty of encouraging feedback from all stakeholders.
The event was followed by intensive debriefings that laid the foundation for the 2021 event. The hope of being able to offer a face-to-face or at least hybrid meeting in 2021 was dashed with the decision taken by the two organisers EASD and Interplan in November 2020 to run the EASD Annual Meeting 2021, again, fully virtual.
Where it’s going
As aspiring virtual event routiniers (as far as this term might be used already), we are approaching the new congress season. Our experiences last year, gained under extreme time pressure and uncertain circumstances, has made us better as a team internally and lead to a much closer cooperation with our long-standing partner EASD.
Meet us at #EASD2021:
27 September – 1 October 2021
Follow @EASDnews and use #EASD2021