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How We Enhanced Convene Studio Breakout Sessions
by Jon May, Product Manager
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When we first launched Convene Studio, we used Zoom to facilitate our breakout sessions to provide planners and attendees a seamless and familiar experience to meet their small group needs.

During that time, we received thoughtful feedback from our clients and users on how to better serve their needs by having the breakouts natively be a web browser-first experience. But, due to the nature of our integration with Zoom, and lack of ownership over the software, we were limited in what feedback we were able to incorporate or deploy. To combat this, and prioritize our customer experience, we decided to invest and take ownership over our own breakout sessions, allowing us to build the breakouts that our users really wanted.

We began by building a proprietary session player on the Amazon Software Development Kit (SDK), giving Convene Studio the excellent reliability and security that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is known for. Convene now owns the player and breakout interface and has full control over the evolution of the product, allowing us to continuously enhance to meet our users’ needs. We are committed to delivering best-in-class event technology, so speakers can focus on what matters most – making meaningful connections and delivering an impactful message.

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Here’s an overview of what’s new to Convene’s session player and the features that provide a better experience for your session breakouts:

Enhanced User Experience

Users can now enjoy a seamless workflow between meetings and breakouts on their browser without having to switch between multiple platforms. The upgraded Convene session player allows planners to choose when to redirect everyone back to the main stage, and doesn’t require users to go through any additional setup or download supplementary software. Our new breakout sessions also encourage users to provide real-time feedback while in-use, allowing us to continuously iterate and improve the product.

This applies to pre-event training, as well. With Convene’s updated session player, planners don’t have to worry about preparing speakers across multiple breakout platforms or technologies. No more entering host codes to access breakout rooms, and no more confusion on speaker or attendee views. Since speakers and attendees will be accessing the breakout via the event website, their view will effectively be the same as well.

You’re in Control with Grid View

On our new custom-built session player, attendees can enjoy a grid view of speakers for up to 8 people during their breakouts. We like to call this the “Brady Bunch View,” but it’s more familiarly referred to as the “Panel Discussion” format:

  • Speakers can access their mic, camera, and screen sharing.
  • All non-speaker tiles are hidden from view.
  • All participants can interact via chat, but they can’t access their mic or camera.
  • All participants can now view multiple speakers in a grid with the option to focus on the active speaker.
  • Moderators can manage user’s mics, cameras, and screen sharing.
  • Record the breakout for post-event playback.
  • Attendees can chat with each other.

Added Security

Some of the greatest benefits to the Convene session player update are its enhanced security features.

  • Encrypted meeting participant audio and video: both in transit and at rest, maintaining the privacy and data integrity of your content on any network.
  •  Meeting recordings are available to authorized users only: This means that important and confidential data will only be accessible by authenticated users.
  • Customer data doesn’t leave the USA, ensuring greater data security.
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At Convene, we believe the session player’s key to long-term success is the ease of use. We know how important an intuitive platform is to fostering new connections and creating lasting impressions. With a more streamlined moderator and speaker experience, Convene’s upgraded session player brings all of the necessary controls into the web with a simplified player interface, while establishing a foundation on which we can build bespoke breakout experiences.

By owning the session player, we’ll be in full control of future developments and enhancements. With this possibility in our pocket, our next major area of focus will be to expand support for audiences of over 200 people without compromising the experience. This includes a grid view representing everyone, not just speaker users.

Want to learn more? Book a demo with us! Contact us at info@convene.com or visit studio.convene.com

by Jon May, Product Manager
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