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Most Innovative Meetings 2021: AWS Public Sector Summit Online 2021

Amazon Web Services' virtual summit used an around-the-sun model to engage attendees around the world, along with a mix of content styles, themed zones and fun activities.

Screen Shot 2021 05 06 At 6 45 58 Pm
Photo: Amazon Web Services

The Basics: Held on the Intrado platform on April 15, 2021, Amazon Web Services’ Public Sector Summit drew 21,366 attendees. While it was targeted mainly toward the government, education, nonprofit and healthcare sectors, the annual gathering is open to anyone; the goal is to help AWS customers gain new skills to use cloud computing services to drive their missions forward.

Taking advantage of the virtual environment, organizers wanted to make the event truly global in scale by using an around-the-sun model that went live at different times in the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Europe—each time with different live online workshops, as well as staffers from that respective region online to answer questions.Screen Shot 2021 05 06 At 6 58 11 PmPhoto: Amazon Web Services

Steal-Worthy Innovations: The summit used an interactive “secret scavenger hunt” to get guests exploring the entire virtual platform. Before arrival, every guest discovered a QR code embedded in pre-event communications and on social media; the code led them to a custom-built webpage that explained the game, which asked participants to search for clues hidden throughout the virtual event.

The event also included a variety of different formats to keep guests engaged, ranging from keynotes and breakout sessions to an expo hall and six thematic zones, each with a collection of topic-specific booths, programs and demos. Overall, the event had 93 different areas for attendees to explore.

Lessons Learned: “We found that many of our online participants were first-time AWS Summit attendees,” explained a representative from AWS. “It is important to offer customers alternative ways to engage with solution-oriented content. Government, education, nonprofit and health care organizations face unique challenges to accomplish complex missions with limited resources. As we move back to having in-person events again, we realize there is a critical role that virtual events still play in providing access to customers who might not be able to join our events in person.”

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BizBash's 10 Most Innovative Meetings 2021 is sponsored by Bevy, a community event engine fueling virtual, hybrid and in-person events.

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