But if you’re evaluating virtual events vendors, it might be time for a “First chance to make a second impression” for omNovia.
Don’t get me wrong. If you look at their website, their “solutions” are about the same as what everyone else says, but there is one hint of change on the front page…webinars and live event webcasting.
To me, this shift in focus is huge.
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with omNovia’s Lou Sanatore (@LouSanatore), and this was the first thing he brought to my attention.
The reason I think this is huge is because it’s better for YOU, the buyer/user, when a company finds a refined focus of what they do. And, frankly, we get paid the most to solve big problems, and hosting a meeting online isn’t a big problem any more.
To this end, omNovia has made some nice enhancements that solve the problems (or anticipate them) that communicators have with broader audiences in webinars/webcasts/hybrid events.
A few of these include…
New Q&A manager
My favorite feature of any platform, to be honest, and there are some nice enhancements here. omNovia already smartly integrated Twitter, including bringing a hashtag stream into the Q&A interface, but they’ve enhanced the ability to manage behind the scenes significantly. This is the stuff you don’t see in a product demo, and inexperienced presenters/producers fail to appreciate the power of the ability to assign/prioritize/easily view and respond to help you draw your audience in by creating a sense of presence.
One other tidbit. When you answer a question (via text), the attendee has a five star rating system where they can rate the answer (“Was this answer helpful to you?” or something like that). A nice touch in some circumstances.
Mobile support – Android and iOS
No, most communicators aren’t taking mobile attendees into account when they design virtual presentations. But get ready or get caught with your pants down. Their mobile version doesn’t support H.264-based video (yet), so an iOS viewer wouldn’t see the Flash-based video of the presenter, but you can use the YouTube feature. Read on.
If you want to play a video from YouTube, there are two benefits. One, you aren’t uploading anything, so two, the end-user is hitting YouTube’s servers directly. Less bandwidth problem, better experience. To be fair, you can easily accomplish this in other solutions with a web slide that takes them there (or even by chatting out a link), but it is a nice improvement from the producer’s point of view.
Participant notes – like WordPad for attendees
Participants can take notes inside the console. While not unique to omNovia, there are many platforms that don’t offer this, and if you want to keep the attendee’s experience focused inside the platform, quite useful.
Closed captioning for 508 compliance
Lou pointed out a big government contract win they had recently, and if you serve the public sector, this may be a critical requirement for you.
One other note…omNovia has long had an integrated ecommerce solution, a challenge for many in the hybrid events biz as they seek to extend and monetize trade show or equivalent participation.
The bottom line
As I preach often (if not ad nauseum), your behavior and goals should drive technology and vendor choices, but there is always a tradeoff. In today’s more mature marketplace, “show your screen” and “collaborate with people around the world” are aging news, and it’s the smaller things that tend to differentiate choices. If you’re doing webinars/webcasts/hybrid events, omNovia may well be worth putting on the short list.