Promised A Lot but Didn't Deliver
When our 2021 conference had to become a fully virtual event, our leaders wanted to find a solution that would give our attendees an experience that was as close to the in-person experience they were used to as possible. Intrado seemed to offer that - the virtual lobby and range of functions appeared to suit our needs well. But while the look of the site was impressive, the actual experience of participating in the event left a lot to be desired. We planned to present the majority of our sessions live, including several blocks of concurrent sessions, rather than pre-recorded but the Intrado staff did not accurately describe their ability to support this number of live presentations. Multiple sessions, including most our high-profile general sessions, experienced significant techincal difficulties that interfered with the audience's ability to see or hear the presenters. The system demands significant bandwidth from presenters and this was not adequately described to us during the vetting process for the platform; knowing this would have impacted our decision. Also, Intrado's process for preparing speakers to present in their platform was especially poor. They did not scheudle adequate time before the event to train the few hundred presenters on our program, and the trainings were very poorly run. We had to ask them to create handouts with the presenter instructions that we could distribute as a reference; they did not have even these basic resources available to share with us. Many of the technicians running the sessions during the event also seemed ill prepared to manage the event and did not do an effective job supporting our presenters. Finally, the reporting of participation and learner activity is limited and does not provide the level of detail we were led to believe would be provided.
We have spoken to other groups who have used Intrado, and it seems that a less complicated program, using mostly pre-recorded content, might be a better fit for this platform. But while they promised that they could effectively run our large, live event, they did not deliver.