We love live events, and whenever possible, we prefer to bring people together in person. There are circumstances, however, when going virtual makes much more sense, and this is what happened in our case, too, when we had to shift our AV Alliance Academy from an end-of-the-year in-person event to fully virtual on February 15-16, 2022.
Traditionally the AV Alliance organizes a two-day, exclusive training program for its members, where our technology partners and external speakers take on the role of trainers and hold various workshops for the attendees. Companies within our global network delegate their technical staff, project managers, and even top management to attend the AV Alliance Academy from different parts of the world. With the new virus variant on the rise at the end of last year and subsequent travel restrictions, we decided to make this year’s Academy event fully virtual.
The biggest advantage of a virtual format is undoubtedly the freedom it grants: there are no hotel costs, plane tickets, days off work, and most companies are able to spare their staff (even with a hectic schedule packed with events) for a few hours during the day to attend virtual workshops – or at least watch anything interesting they may have missed on-demand.
This time around we had a record-breaking attendance from our members, which is, of course, due to the fact that they could join us from countries that would be too far for a simple training event in Europe, for instance – not to mention the costs of such a trip for multiple staff members. From Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, from Santiago to Calgary, we had members logging in from every part of the world during the two days of the Academy.
With Let’s Get Digital officially joining the AV Alliance as our newest Platinum technology partner as of 2022, it was the most logical step to put their virtual event platform to the test right off the bat. As you will have likely experienced it for yourself, each virtual platform is different; some give you very little freedom to edit and customize it, while with others you are welcome to completely mould it to your exact needs. Some are easy to handle, some will make even the most experienced technical geniuses sweat. Fortunately Let’s Get Digital‘s platform gave us exactly what we needed, and preparing the platform for such a complex event full of workshops and extra features was a pleasant and fun experience for us. Of course we also had the pleasure of having Ruben Haring, Let’s Get Digital’s Partnership Director join us as one of our speakers, talking about what makes virtual events remarkable, and the importance of monetizing virtual events through partnerships.
We are fortunate to be able to work with some of the best event technology manufacturers of the AV industry, and having them share their time, expertise, and know-how with our members is an invaluable addition to the many benefits of being part of the AV Alliance. Over the course of the 15th and 16h of February we had the pleasure of welcoming back some of the best technical experts on behalf of our sponsors, such as Andy Cooper from the Pro Audio Application Engineering team at Yamaha’s Research and Development Centre in the UK, or Javier Frutos-Bonilla, system designer and trainer at d&b audiotechnik, both of whom always deliver the most engaging and informative workshops in audio mixing and sound system design, respectively.
On the video side we had two of Barco‘s most experienced product managers, Abbe Westerlundh and Alexis Skatchkoff back on board with us to talk about signal challenges in a 4K60 environment, and projection mapping with UDM/X. As for lighting, Elation Professional‘s Global Entertainment Lighting and Control Product Manager Matthias Hinrichs returned to the Academy to talk about the networking of Ethernet and RDM lighting systems, while Channel Market Manager Esteban De La Torre, who recently re-joined the Elation team, delivered a workshop on the advantages of full-spectrum LED engines. The first day came to a close with a fantastic and inspiring talk by disguise‘s Chief Experience Officer Alex Wills on enabling the gateway to the much talked-about Metaverse with disguise’s xR technology.
Sennheiser‘s Technical Application Engineer for Pro Audio, Gerhard Spyra and Director of Customer Development and Application Engineering, Volker Schmitt joined us with a workshop on the ins and outs of hassle-free wireless microphones, and more specifically their brand new Evolution Wireless Digital. We also had the pleasure of our good friend Martin Kuyper, the founder and CEO of Eurotruss return to the Academy and deliver a great talk on rigging and truss for semi-permanent studios.
IntelliEvent‘s VP and General Manager Andrew Ehler and Enterprise Sales Director Lauren Brach once again presented a highly-requested and in-depth session on how to enhance business profitability with their event management software. Last but definitely not least, this was the first AV Alliance Academy for Theatrixx Technologies, who joined us last summer as technology partners. No surprise that their workshop held by USA Sales Manager Maxime Duschinsky and Territory Manager for EMEA & APAC, Erik Guertin on their latest product, a hardware-based media player, and an overview of the most reliable video converters on the market was in high-demand among our attendees.
While technical training is of great importance, these difficult times also call for content that builds mental strength as well. To this end, we had three-time Hungarian Olympic Champion waterpolo player Gergely Kiss talk about the importance of improved teamwork. Our closing keynote was delivered by our friend and former AV Alliance AGM speaker Gabriel Lama from Chile, who is – coincidentally – also an Olympic Athlete in Judo, as well as a prolific speaker specialized in Wellness and High Performance, and executive coach with TGLI. His heartfelt and thought-provoking coaching session on building resilience in difficult times was definitely a much-loved highlight of this year’s AV Alliance Academy.
We would once again like to thank our speakers and technology partners for their dedication and enthusiasm for this event, as well as the valuable content that they brought to our attendees. With this AV Alliance Academy in the books, we very much look forward to hosting the next training event at the end of this year, hopefully in a hybrid format!