I sat through a webinar hosted by UK trade magazine, Building, earlier today. Entitled Improving Business Efficiency in a Tough Economic Environment, it featured a presentation by Steve Masters of BT, and was chaired by Ray Crotty of C3 Systems (formerly of Bovis). Reflecting Steve’s role at a telecoms giant, most of his talk was focused on ICT – lots of talk about service-oriented architecture, SaaS and the like – and wasn’t particularly specific to the needs of people working in the construction industry. However, that apart, I had some other minor niggles.
- Firstly (more of a micro-niggle really), in the run-up to the event, I received emails saying the event was due to start at 12.00 BST – in the end, it started at 12.00 GMT.
- The webinar interface (On24.com) was quite sparse in terms of the information it presented (basically, a Powerpoint screen, a small video screen, a field to ask questions or make comments, and a few buttons to view or download background information or slides. Some may like such simplicity, but I like to feel part of a group when I attend the event. There was no indication of how many people were watching, their backgrounds or interests, etc (OK, some may not have wanted to expose their details, but it would be good to ‘see’ those less reticent).
- Having run some BIW webinars earlier this year, I know that some web-conference tools (eg: WebEx) allow presenters to poll the audience and present the results in graphs; there was no two-way communication of this kind to help us feel we were engaged with or helping shape the event.
- I wasn’t particularly motivated to ask questions but I live-blogged via Twitter during the event – partly to see if anyone else I knew was also online (the only related Tweet I saw was from Building‘s web editor!). At Be2camp 2008 earlier this month having a live Twitterfeed allowed live and virtual attendees to share comments, notes and links and to ask questions.
- Finally, it wasn’t clear if a video of the event would be shared online (eg: via YouTube) where those unable to attend live could view it, comment on it and embed/link to it.
I believe Building is looking to do more online events in future and wants to develop a more Web 2.0 approach to them. GMT aside, I hope these suggestions may help.