Perhaps the best thing to come from the events of the past few months, from a business perspective, is the near mass migration towards working from home, and remote business infrastructure. We’ve been extremely lucky to have adapted to the current climate, and we’re delighted to see many other small to medium sized businesses are embracing new ways of working as well! As most will know by now, we’re big fans of Microsoft 365 – Microsoft Teams in particular has been essential over the past few months, and not just within our own organisation; we’ve been hosting online events and webinars for our customers using Teams Live Events, singing the praise of remote business infrastructure – of which Teams is a core component.
Our experience with small businesses (particularly as we are one!) is that they are excellent at audience and customer engagement. Historically, however, in terms of reach and resources, it has been hard to compete with large organisations who can afford to have large physical events. This is where Microsoft Teams has evened the playing field with their Live Events. Now widely available to most Microsoft 365 Users, and in good timing with the move towards working from home, Teams Live Events has been excellent in helping us carry on engaging with our customers regularly.
What are Teams Live Events
Microsoft Teams Live Events allow organisations to broadcast both live and on-demand to audiences across the world – as little as 1 and as many as 10,000 users! The idea is to enable smaller businesses to achieve greater heights of engagement and deliver both clean cut communication and highly polished content to their audiences. At TechQuarters, we have been using Teams Live Events for several months now; it has enabled us to continue running our B2B seminars, and the feedback has been great.
You can assign members of your event team as producers or presenters. And the great thing is that your event team can be spread across multiple devices in multiple places. You can coordinate seamlessly to deliver your event.
Teams Live Events offer a range of useful features, such as:
- Live Q&A – this allows attendees to ask the presenters questions in an orderly way that is unobtrusive to the presentation.
- Post-event video downloads – you can choose to provide a download of the full event once it has been completed, allowing attendees to review the event multiple times, or perhaps show it to the rest of their organisation.
- Attendee engagement report – an excellent way to gain insights into your audiences. This feature is also essential for educators running remote online classrooms.
- Live captions and translation – now your audience engagement can not only be entirely accessible but reach users in non-English speaking countries (and vice versa.) Microsoft Translator, which is built into all Microsoft 365 products, understands 60 languages, and Microsoft is working to add more all the time.
- Transcripts – as well as Post-event video downloads, your attendees can also be provided with full transcripts of the entire event, including Q&As.
Making live digital events easily available to all is of great importance. It greatly increases the connectivity and accessibility of business and enables organisations to reach audiences across the globe; you may be based in the UK but have a large customer base in other countries; with live streaming, captions and translation, you can engage with them on a regular basis. Moreover, there may be people in your business or in your customer base with accessibility concerns who may have difficulty attending physical events.
It must also be said that for parts of the world where Covid-19 poses a high risk, live digital events helps users carry on with their professional lives as normal. Some people, wherever they may be, may feel uncomfortable about attending physical events if they are vulnerable individuals, or protecting family members who are vulnerable.
How do you use them?
Live Events are very easy to arrange on Teams. It is done in the Calendar tab – you simply name it, and add a description if you wish; set the date, time and duration; add your presenters; and set your Live event permissions – if most of the attendees are outside of your organisation, you would set it as public. Once you have created and scheduled your Live event, inviting attendees is as easy as copying the URL and sharing it via email, text message, WhatsApp, etc.
We truly feel that digital live events will become a big part of the future of audience and customer engagement. Microsoft 365 enables an organisation to have both a global workforce and a global customer base, and Microsoft Teams is the key to communication with both. We have found Teams Live Events to be an invaluable tool for connecting with customers and potential customers during the past three months; and as we have gone fully remote as a business, it will remain a primary tool for us going forward, and we are not looking back!