Convention centers are working hard to prepare themselves for the hybrid convention future. As they gain a better understanding of how social distancing, masks, and ventilation can keep small groups safe, they are rethinking how their space can be used.

Some have constructed meeting studios with high-definition broadcasting equipment, high-end lighting, and graphics and video tools. Examples of this re-purposing include:

  • The Baltimore Convention Center Studio recently produced live programming that was broadcast during a week long virtual meeting.

“The meetings and events industry is currently a rapidly changing landscape. Having tools that offer the ability to pivot and easily meet new challenges is imperative for the continuation of business. The Baltimore Convention Center’s new virtual studio brought attendees into our facility and offered a bird’s-eye view tour of our tourist hot spots, keeping Baltimore top-of-mind for all involved,” said Peggy Daidakis, Executive Director, Baltimore Convention Center.

  • The George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston has opened The Avenida Houston Virtual Studio. The 5,250-sq.-ft. studio allows for presenters to be integrated from any location, and small groups – such as panelists and audiences – can be included from the studio location or multiple live locations. It also features a bio-defence air filtration system.

“The pandemic has created a number of challenges, but our team is committed to finding opportunities for safe and functional solutions that will lead the city and the hospitality industry into recovery,” said Michael Heckman, president and CEO of Houston First Corporation. “Discovering new technology, new possibilities, and new partnerships will not only keep our community safe but allow our economy to rebound.”

  • In Singapore, the Sands Expo and Convention Center now has a hybrid event broadcast studio designed to accommodate a live studio audience with a maximum capacity of 50 persons at any one time. The studio offers broadcast-quality live-streaming capabilities and hologram functionalities. “Hybrid meetings will help enable the return of large-scale events in a virtual manner amid the Covid-19 situation and we want to set the stage for these shows by providing planners with a suite of useful and innovative solutions which are relevant for the times. Our highly advanced hybrid broadcast studio is not only equipped with industry-grade broadcasting equipment and an interactive stage set-up, it will also be maintained with the highest sanitisation levels to ensure the well-being of our clients. Marina Bay Sands will continue enhancing the technical capabilities of our broadcast studio and drive greater demand and innovation in the hybrid events scene,” said Paul Town, senior vice president of resort operations at Marina Bay Sands.