2020 made virtual events a mainstream, forcing many popular previously in-person only events to shift to virtual events. While virtual events are fairly easy to run (in comparison to in-person event) due to minimal cost and overhead, it’s still requires both human and software – human ingenuity and the event software to support it. I think with the proper software, human ingenuity to make virtual event as interesting as in-person would have to limits. This blog post is going to be discuss using MS Teams for events, compare to Hubb, identify few very compelling features in MS Teams that could “match” Hubb capabilities, and recommend to “blend” those features to make the product much more amazing.
The are plenty of software products for events on the market, but for the sake of the scope management, we will limit our comparison to two products only: MS Teams and Hubb.me. While MS Teams best fits small/mid size events, Hubb.me (the “Cadillac” product) best fits large and massive events.
MS Teams or Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and video conferencing service that enables staff communication from any location via text chat, voice call or video conference (resembles Slack + Zoom + more). MS Teams comes equipped with 2 options to run events – MS Teams Meeting and MS Teams Live Event. MS Teams Meeting official price is $5/month as part of Microsoft 365 package and $8+/month for Office 365 E1 license to support Live Events. As the product name implies, Meeting is designed for small/medium meetings (see Fig #1) while Live Events comes with some bells and whistles (see Fig #2) and is designed for large scale events.
Hubb.me or Hubb is a virtual conference and event management software solution for the meetings and events industry. Hubb encapsulate event automation, meeting and speaker management, schedule building and distribution, as well as exhibitor virtual booth experience. Although Hubb doesn’t officially disclose it’s price, the word on the block is $20K+.
While Hubb is designed for large and well established events that can afford the premium price, smaller events can’t. At the same time, small events and other SOHO entities can afford MS Teams via Microsoft/Office 365 subscription. The problem is how do you scale MS Teams for your “hubb.me” needs if you need to? You can use a combination of MS Teams Meeting that comes Breakout room feature and Live Event to mimic the content delivery. Unfortunately, you can’t enjoy both Breakout room (see Fig #3) and Live Event (see Fig #4) at the same time, so you would need to use 2 separate MS Teams instances.
I would recommend Microsoft to “enhance” MS Teams by:
- Adding breakout rooms feature from MS Teams Meeting into MS Teams Live Event
- Adding ability to add custom background to both Live Event and breakout rooms
- Making a custom backgrounds clickable
- Integrating with sessionize.com for speakers/sessions/schedule would be really awesome
The final product might look like the mockup below (Fig #5).
You can rightfully ask me – “Hey Steve, why would you care to make MS Teams better?”. The answer is simple. We are planning 2021 SQL Saturday in Los Angeles and we are trying to make MS Teams the perfect fit for us to deliver an exciting experience at the virtual data conference event.
Join me in requesting Microsoft to enhance the Teams product – https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/42538927-add-breakout-rooms-to-live-event