Since 2016, the European Space Agency has held the annual ɸ-Week conference at their ESRIN facility in Frascati, Italy. This year, Design & Data was approached by ESA to manage a virtual livestream of the event, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was to be held in a hybrid format. The challenge was to provide video/audio streams and technical support for a group of on-site guests and for a platform of digital presenters simultaneously, and to merge them into one cohesive livestream presented through ESA Web TV.
Björn Brockmann, Design & Data livestream and events manager, developed two technical teams to manage the livestream event. One team operated the video/audio production and technical support track for the on-site ESRIN facility. The other team managed the video/audio streams and technical support track for the digital presenters from the Design & Data office in Cologne, Germany. Once the two tracks were up and running, the Design & Data team was able to merge them into one livestream session. Merging the two tracks allowed the on-site and digital presenters to interact with one another as if they were in the same room together. This permitted both the invited guests at ESRIN and the virtual audiences watching through ESA Web TV to watch the event as a uniform whole.
The result was a successful four-day livestream of the ɸ-Week conference, which was available live on ESA Web TV from 11 to 14 October 2021. While Design & Data had worked livestream events in the past, this was their first time behind a largescale and multi-day hybrid event. The successful conclusion of this project further established Design & Data’s reputation for managing complex projects, overcoming technical challenges, and has increased their credibility for managing future livestream events, whether on-site, virtual, or hybrid.