How to Run a Command Center for a Virtual Event

Author: Convene Editors       


Command Center

What are best practices for developing an on-site and remote command center for AV and staff to produce a virtual event? A handful of event professionals recently shared their ideas on PCMA’s Catalyst forum.

PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion.

“I wonder if anyone has any best practices for setting up and running a command center for a completely virtual event?” Danielle Gaudet, CEM, DES, event specialist for Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), asked the PCMA Catalyst Community. “I’d like to scenario plan for being able to have all of my team members and AV crew in one room — pending no lockdown measures are in place — as well as a scenario where all team members must work remotely. My event is in March 2021 and I’m not sure if we will be able to work in the same room together in the numbers that I need. Any info and stories are welcome!”

We ran a one-and-a-half-week conference from a command center/hotel back in October. All the team members were spread out between four conference rooms at an area hotel. The streaming team and half of the Zoom moderators were virtual. The website developers, IT [technicians], video editors, and other team members were on site. Outside of a few very small hitches, everything went really well. There is an app called Discord that I use a lot when working virtually. It allows all the team members to communicate virtually as if we had radios at an on-site location.

– Amilcar Mendez, Managing Partner, Rayne Event Tech & Lounge

I had our AV team all together in a studio. We all took precautions [and are now] adding rapid testing to the procedures. We also ensured that there is one person per role, so [there weren’t multiple people touching] the AV equipment. Everyone was in masks the entire time. Circulation is important, and [don’t] keep the air too warm in the room. Spread out if possible.

The reason we had all the AV team in one place was to ensure internet connection was hardwired. If you are doing it remotely, you need to have a rehearsal day for the tech team. I had two of my moderators from outside of the U.S., and we had a separate cellular text messaging happening to ensure we can communicate should the virtual conference platform failed. I would recommend running a full test rehearsal with your techs all remote. Good luck!

– Sandy Yi-Davis, Head of Event Design, Strategic Meeting International

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