Computer Society Hybrid Conference Option Recommendations
When it is safe and possible to do so (according to local and/or CDC/WHO guidelines) a Hybrid Conference can be an effective bridge between full virtual or in-person conferences. The Computer Society has developed a variety of Hybrid Conference options that may suit your conference needs. These hybrid scenarios can be tailored to fit any conference program.

Livestream of In-Person Conference

Holding an in-person conference (regardless of the number of attendees) with a virtual component  

  • Livestream can take many forms:
    • All Conference Aspects (including in-person paper presentations)
    • Keynotes and Panels only
    • Any mixture of the Conference Organizer’s choice
  • Conference may tie in a live chat feature (such as Slack or Discord or any other feature) to allow ‘real time’ questions and discussions, increasing virtual attendee engagement
  • Pros of Livestream
    • All attendees (both virtual and in-person) can view and participate in the same live discussion and content
    • “Stepping stone” between full-virtual and all-in person conference
  • Cons of Livestream
    • High Cost (in certain cases) – Requires AV/livestream equipment, significant Wifi bandwidth at venue, both of which may incur high costs
    • Time Zone differentiation – may not be able to reach all time zones efficiently with one livestream 

Asynchronous Virtual and In-Person Conference

  • All paper presentations can be pre-recorded so both virtual and in-person audiences receive roughly the same presentations played at the same time through two different avenues
  • Conference may tie in a live chat feature (such as Slack or Discord or any other feature) to allow ‘real time’ questions and discussions and attendee engagement
  • Virtual attendees can also post asynchronous questions that can be answered after the session and made available via the virtual platform or mobile app
  • Pros of Asynchronous Conference
    • Allows those who are unable to travel (both presenters and attendees) to still fully participate in the conference
    • Allows for the possibility of gaining a wider audience and/or attendees
    • Cost-effective – depending on virtual platform or mode of presentation dissemination
  • Cons of Asynchronous Conference
    • Virtual Attendees could be missing out on important discussions, networking and/or information taking place at the in-person conference

Separate Virtual Track

Creating a separate track just for virtual attendees to disseminate Author Presentations

  • Virtual Track can take many forms:
    • Pre or Post Conference posting of Author Presentations
    • Post Conference posting of any keynotes or panel discussions
    • Post Conference presentation posting with extended virtual chat hours for authors
    • Live virtual Q&A track after in-person presentations
  • Pros
    • Allows virtual attendees to access content at their own time and pace
    • Allows for the possibility of gaining a wider audience and/or attendees
    • Cost Effective – minimal overhead outside of virtual platform and/or any recording costs
  • Cons
    • Virtual Attendees could be missing out on important discussions, networking and/or information happening in the in-person conference

Virtual Conference with International Micro-Events

Hosting a fully virtual meeting with localized micro-events that allow attendees to safely gather in their specific region according to their local or CDC/WHO health guidelines. (Examples from VIS and ICCV)

  • Micro-Events can take place in many forms (based on time zones)
    • Viewing Parties for Virtual Components
    • Some Presenters giving their presentations from a Micro-Event
    • Networking Opportunities to view Conference Keynotes or other elements from the Conference with discussions recorded and placed on website
  • Pros
    • Allows for less international and more localized regional travel for certain attendees
    • Allows for safe in-person meeting in accordance with local/CDC/WHO guidelines
    • Allows for discussions of conference material and/or networking opportunities
    • Not all attendees required to take part in Micro-Events – still allows a full ‘virtual’ experience
  • Cons
    • Can be logistically cumbersome if there are numerous Micro-Events for the Conference (Contracts, designating local chairs for each event, etc.)
    • Can be cost prohibitive if the Conference is paying for the Micro-Events (expenses for venues, F&B, AV, etc)

Sponsorships and Exhibits for Hybrid Conferences

Onsite Presence: 

Sponsorships/Supporters: 

  • Company logo on printed collateral at the conference venue 

Exhibitors: 

  • If the exhibitor package purchased allows for, provide 6’ table or exhibit space for onsite presence. 

Virtual Presence: 

Sponsorships/Supporters

  • Company logo on conference website and virtual platform 
  • Posting of company collateral on virtual platform via dedicated page 

Virtual Exhibits:

  • Dedicated time slots for virtual attendees 
  • Online gamification for virtual attendee engagement (virtual platform needed for this activity)
  • Provide virtual attendee and exhibitor interaction within the platform (ability to set up group meetings; one-on-one meetings; meetups, etc.) 
  • Incorporate exhibitors into the conference program; allow for special exhibitor presentations during designated timeslots 
  • Allow for 15 or 30 second commercials to be played prior to keynote or panel presentations 
  • Company logo on conference website and virtual platform via a dedicated page  
  • Posting of company collateral on virtual platform 

Hybrid Conference Registration Rates

Regardless of the format in which a hybrid conference takes place, conference registration rates will still need to be charged for all attendees – both in-person and virtual. 

  • Full Conference Registration is recommended for in-person attendees regardless of virtual/hybrid components
  • Livestream Conferences 
    • The same pricing for in-person and virtual attendees (or marginally less for virtual attendees) is recommended based on costs for AV/live stream components
  • Asynchronous Virtual and In-Person Conference
    • It’s recommended that organizers charge a fee that is 50-70% of the in-person conference registration fee in order to cover all costs associated with a hybrid conference
    • Both in-person and virtual attendees should receive access to content for a limited time (2-4 weeks) post-conference
  • Virtual Track 
    • Nominal Fee ($25-$50) recommended for full virtual sessions
    • This fee covers any registration software or virtual platform pass through costs as well as ensure engaged participants
    • Virtual attendees would receive access for a limited time (2-4 weeks)

 

Since Hybrid conferences are still a newer concept to the IEEE CS mode of operation, we will continue to update this document with further recommendations and learnings as our organizers.

Additional Resources: