Whilst the TechPro reputation is founded on treating every event with the same respect, giving our all regardless of size or venue, the large annual ESMO Congress is a real test of our abilities, our resources and our resilience.
A month on from this large event, combining in-person meetings and live video streaming, it’s time to reflect on our efforts, understand what we did well and whether we can apply learning from this event to those we deliver next.
ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) is the leading European professional organisation for medical oncology and this year, the event was billed as, ‘Securing access to optimal cancer care’.
It is a multi-professional platform for oncology education and exchange, delivering immense international visibility for scientific research. This year the Congress featured a dedicated nursing track, collaborating closely with the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS).
It is a huge undertaking, staged by a number of the world’s largest healthcare brands. They all present different events under the ESMO brand umbrella and all come with their own event organisers and support teams just like TechPro.
Staged annually in a different European city, this year’s location for the hundreds of meetings, presentations and conferences taking place, was the Spanish capital Madrid, over 1100 miles from our headquarters in Tamworth.
Now into our fifth year of supporting our client WRG, who engaged us to provide technical event support for the 76 meetings, of which 88% were hybrid meetings with an audience logged in online all over the globe.
The need to share a live stream from most of the presentations with a select audience required the use of our new Panasonic AW-UE50 PTZ cameras in a high percentage of the meeting spaces at ESMO, operated remotely with new Panasonic AW-RP60 compact remote camera controllers.
The event featured 5 different venues, used at different times over 8 days, for the elements of the ESMO event being delivered by WRG on behalf of their healthcare client.
Although the main events were set to take place 18-25 October, the TechPro team arrived on 16 October, to give our experienced technical crew time to rig all the venues and test everything will work as expected.
Early preparation critical to event success
This is an event we have provided event management for previously, working closely with the event organiser WRG, a leader in the field with more than 25 years’ experience and a growing reputation for its work in the healthcare sector.
Our experience in designing the technical aspects of event delivery, including lighting, video and sound services, helps us keep costs down for our clients and ensures we can support more events, at the same time, for different clients.
On this occasion, events ranged in size from small discussion groups of perhaps just 8 individuals, up to larger presentation events, expecting hundreds of attendees, both in person and joining in from remote locations.
Without our highly detailed matrices showing us where every piece of equipment and our people needed to be, each minute of every day, we would have struggled to deliver the successful outcome achieved.
Working closely with the experienced senior project management team at WRG, who designed the events, the style of meeting, attendee numbers and selected the venues, ensured that together we delivered another event, memorable for all the right reasons.
Site visits remove risk of venue nasty surprises
Logistics is a large part of every event we undertake. Our commitment to delivering the event our client has engaged us to provide, requires a huge amount of work in advance, which typically begins with a site visit, even when the venues are spread across a city as large as Madrid.
Whilst many venues will supply plans of the rooms being used, with accurate measurements to allow our project team to design the seating plans and understand where we can situate our equipment to ensure it remains unobtrusive throughout, we are not so lucky with every location.
Sometimes plans are not as accurate as they should be or do not detail recent changes in structure, layout or access, which is why a site visit prior to designing the technical aspects of any event this large, is not just recommended, but essential.
Our site visits not only allow us to measure the venue meeting rooms accurately, so layouts can be designed and the lighting, video and sound resources required can be ascertained, but also allow us to understand the distances between venues and likely travel times between them.
The team in Tamworth spend a lot of time and effort quality-assured equipment is checked, before the flight cases are filled and loaded onto the trucks, which helps ensure no nasty surprises over the week – it all works straight out of the box.
Bringing in 43 technicians to rig the venues and be present for each event, is in itself a planning exercise of immense complexity, with crew making their way to Madrid from various locations all across Europe.
Moving the team around and ensuring we deliver the high-quality service on which TechPro has built its reputation, whilst using the least number of technicians effectively, is vital. It’s important to get the most from the team and use resources efficiently to keep costs to our clients to the minimum.
ESMO at a glance
All our equipment is colour-coded for each event to make the rigging easier for our technicians, with each piece matched to each meeting, time and time again across the 8 days of ESMO. We took 183 table mics and 8km of mic cable (XLR) with us and re-used it all at least once on average.
With a typical meeting requiring a screen, a projector, lectern, laptops, laser pointer, cue light, comfort monitor, countdown clock, together with a PA system using 4 x tie clip and 2 x handheld microphones, we also get through a lot of batteries.
The return to Tamworth after 8 days ended the 12,010 miles clocked up by our 5 trucks and vans.
Our project managers traversed the meeting rooms of Madrid to ensure flawless delivery, with each one clocking up around 217km, on foot, which was an average of 27.125km per day!
And of course, every single length of cable and every piece of equipment is checked before it is returned to our shelves, because it saves a lot of time and worry on-site when everything works first time, every time.