New Tech Creates New Meeting Places

Published 28.10.2021
In the future, we need to travel less and have greener conversations. Nevertheless, we still need to interact, collaborate and meet, and we also need reliable, international meeting places for sales, demos, and business in the years to come. With the help of new technology, different arenas can be set up without anyone having to travel.

During Future Week in September, the media cluster's major media and technology festival, Media City Bergen set up and tested part one of an extensive project supported by Bergen Municipality and Vestland County Municipality.

The Media Cluster wants to develop a new type of meeting place at the crossroads and intersection of physical, digital, and virtual solutions. This can be possible by innovation and new technology, where we cater for a hybrid future where we will travel less, and where digital, virtual and physical meeting places are combined. Furthermore, the intention is also to speed up exports and internationalization in the wake of a very demanding time during Covid, and create more traffic on the bridge to an international customer segment. The project is also highly relevant to other industries.

Future Week tested and launched part one of this project. The aim was to connect different venues and arenas in an extraordinary way, with an optimized experience for the participants.

Utilizing new technology, this could be done in real-time, with extremely high quality and only a millisecond delay. This represents a significantly more enjoyable experience of community and interaction than the "traditional" zoom and team platforms. Connecting the venues in this way further entails that the high quality, low latency, broadcasting, and interaction previously reserved for large TV stations and broadcasters, will now be made available to the mass market. The solution allows the same effective knowledge transfer and "look and feel" you get from watching TV, now transferred into the event business and other meeting places.

Watch the behind-the-scenes movie: 

– This project is definitely somewhat madness, says Øyvind Storheim, CEO of Kulturoperatørene.

- But it's called Future Week, and it's all about the future. And what is certain is that the pandemic has moved the green shift digitally ten years forward in ten months. Now, different locations and venues can be connected in an efficient way and with good quality. That makes up for a new and different experience.

A new concept for a post-corona life

A new concept for a post-corona life
Storheim (photo t.t. right) is the Future Week producer, keeping up with no less than 50 different events and hundreds of sessions. Three different stages in Bergen were linked up, with one set in Oslo (Pressens Hus) and one in Stavanger ( Aftenbladet). In Stavanger, Skylight, another cluster company, took care of the local production at Aftenbladet, synced up with the Kulturoperatorene's team in Bergen and Oslo. The final step is to connect it all with the technology from a third cluster company, Connected Venues, which contributed with their expertise and solutions. CEO Vegard Elgesem, also had a significant task.

- What we aim to do here is to connect three cities utilizing new technology in a way that provides for discussions and interactions in real-time between these cities and hence allows us to create an event in a completely new way. We have learned from the pandemic that it is quite possible to conduct meetings to a much greater extent than previously thought without being at the same location physically. We are now developing this further, in a way that does not provide this well-kown zoom fatigue, but where we still get the environmental and operational economic benefits.

Adding Virtual Solutions

The next step of this project is to add virtual solutions to the platform and try to create an arena for sales were product demonstrations, conversations, and collaboration can take place in a virtual space.

It's about traveling less but doing more business. This part of the project will be tested for the first time during IBC, Europes largest media technology show and expo, in December, where Media City Bergen will set up a pavilion. Here, the new solution will be tested for the first time. Companies with products to sell, or customers looking for specific solutions, can find each other and interact virtually, regardless of where they are physically located.

The final preparations take place before Randi Siren Øgrey (MBL) enters the stage in Pressens Hus. 

Elin Stueland, Digital Editor at Stavanger Aftenblad, hosted the Stavanger event.
- We are connected by the talented people in Skylight, Kulturoperatørene and TrippelM, she said in her introduction, and continued humorously:
- I had hoped for a hologram, but maybe next year? Nevertheless - we can, as we speak, brag with an innovation project and an event broadcast with only a 0.3-second delay, courtesy of new technology. 

Henrik Bøe (NRK) was part of the program in the Oslo event that took place at Pressens Hus. His presentation, though, was sent from one of the stages in Media City in Bergen.

Media Cluster Member Skylight produced the Stavanger event.