Pivoting in-person events to digital experiences in three weeks time
COVID-19 caused companies to pivot toward new digital solutions to do business. These practices are ones that must stand up to remote working and restrictions on travel and lockdown facilities.
What do you do, though, when your organization focuses on community and building a strong network of companies through in-person events?
For Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg, they innovated by adopting a digital strategy through technology from IBM. This was done with an eye on speed: quickly being able to introduce video streaming to their community to keep them engaged from earlier events while reaping success through greatly expanding their reach.
Shifting to the digital world
For two years Digital Hub Logistics has been a focal point in connecting startups with market leaders to drive innovation. This has centered around a central location in Hamburg close to the harbor that has provided everything from event space to a testing facility.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 led to changes in how business could be conducted. Travel was limited, people were working remotely and large gatherings such as traditional events in their location were forbidden by the government.
Amidst a good start to the 2020 year with initial in-person events, these circumstances put almost everything on hold for Digital Hub Logistics. “We had a really great start to the year, but the question was how to continue?,” explained Johannes Berg, Managing Director at Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg. “What do we come up with to really give our audience and our community some content on interesting topics while continuing to grow?”
After being advised by IBM on options, the answer was clear: video streaming. “We had the idea that we needed a streaming solution. Something where we could broadcast everything we do, whether it’s a webinar, whether it’s an interview, whether it’s a meet up.”
This led to the creation of the “HubTV”, powered by IBM Watson Media.
Given Digital Hub Logistics already did a kickoff, time was of the essence. A fast strategy to market was needed to keep the community engaged.
In less than three weeks Digital Hub Logistics had added another option for community engagement to their service list. Through an embedded video player on their site, they were ready to keep the community connected. Although they had no video production background, the hub had some video conferencing experience. As a result, they leveraged familiarity with Zoom and used the service to broadcast over IBM’s video streaming solution. This offered the chance to live stream to large audiences from a familiar interface. “That’s the beauty of it, the simplicity of how to use it,” Berg said about live streaming with IBM.
The reception to the live streaming was overwhelming. Within four events they were already attracting audiences of over 400. “This is thanks to the strength of the community and IBM really being a proactive partner with us,” said Berg.
In addition, it allowed them to greatly expand their audience and networking, reaching viewers from India, Singapore, Russia and Israel. “That’s actually the strongest part for us on why we want to use this further,” Berg noted. “It lets us greatly extend our reach and expand our community.”
The future of HubTV
Digital Hub envisions creating a rich library of content for Hub TV, leveraging the auto-archiving technology from IBM and pre-recorded video.
Once a new normal is realized, and physical events continue, Digital Hub Logistics also wants to continue to innovate and introduce hybrid events. These will feature both a physical element while allowing them to extend their reach through video streaming. “Once we get back to normal, streaming will not disappear,” said Berg. “The new normal, hopefully, will be smaller physical events within our Hub infrastructure that will be streamed to an ever-growing audience in the community.”
About Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg
Digital Hub Logistics is one of 12 digital hubs forming the national De:Hub Initiative initiated by the Federal German Federal Ministry of Economics Affairs and Energy. It is a focal point for connecting startups to market leaders, driving innovation and forming a leading logistics hub in Northern Europe. Over 60 startups make up the digital hub, from Angel to TrustedDocks, who work alongside 11 corporate partners.
The hub was founded on three major pillars. One is creating a coworking space that is dedicated to startups and corporations. This acts as a startup incubator by offering a space to help smaller companies develop, providing services such as warehouse capabilities to a testing facility. The second pillar is developing connections through bringing companies, big and small, together through a variety of events. The final pillar is fostering co-creation by bringing together the needs of corporations with startups to tackle joint projects, which can include helping with investment to aiding in working toward a contract.
Over the last year, Digital Hub Logistics has initiated over 40 co-creation projects.