Annual virtual conference

Event: Virtual Conference
Industry: Defence and security systems
Attendees: 2,000+

Event objectives:

This was the second consecutive year that we created this annual conference for our client, who operates in the defence and security systems industry. This annual conference provides management teams with the opportunity to learn about the priorities and direction of the company from the executive team, and how this will influence the upcoming programme of work. Alongside this, our client also wanted the conference to foster both internal networking and knowledge sharing through a digital hub, which could also be utilised to share resources and support to aid with the wellbeing of the team. 

In particular, the agenda of this conference was to focus on a wider appreciation for the strategic vision of the organisation, collecting feedback on this from employees through interactive workshops. This was an opportunity for the internal teams to ask questions, drive their own learning and development through an online, immersive platform, providing access to learning materials and collaborative portals.

Before the event:

To cater to these needs, our team created a bespoke, fully branded online event hub to host the annual conference, and we worked closely with the client to ensure accurate yet engaging messaging was reflected across the site. With different speaker stages and virtual learning areas, we created a digital map of the event which branched out to different elements of the conference. The main stage, networking area and wellbeing area were all carefully designed with functionality and content value in mind. This process took 3-4 months before the live streamed event in November of 2022. 

The session speakers were fully briefed, and we hosted test calls to ensure all technical elements were in order on the devices that they’d be using on the day to ensure a seamless experience. For the live streams, we had speakers dialling in to join the session from all over the world. 

Our virtual team went into the client’s offices to utilise their studio space for the streaming of the event, with 3 of our team members working in one studio location, and another team member operating the livestream from a second studio. The rest of the speakers dialled in from all different locations, including Australia, the US, and UAE, all of which required a concurrent and seamless livestream management by our virtual team from our head office studio in Leeds. This state of the art studio has multiple internet connections, and due to our 24/7 global streaming operation, is equipped with backup power generators in case of any major utility failures.



Event overview:

This was a completely virtual experience for attendees, with hybrid delivery elements that required our teams to stream content live from different studio locations with a number of presenters. Our team was on hand to provide support and guidance to speakers and attendees through a live chat that attendees could reach out to with any issues. The secure nature of our client’s industry created some added challenges during the creation of this bespoke platform. We dedicated quality time to working collaboratively with the client’s IT teams to ensure that every element of the event was secure. This was made possible, in part, by our ISO 27001 in information security.

Our team was able to bring this event to a worldwide audience, and even though the conference was hosted on UK time, accommodations were made for attendees we knew would be dialling in from abroad, and updated the structure of the event in its entirety in order to accommodate for Australian attendees, allowing them to participate as a sensible time.

The virtual wellbeing area shared toolkits, thought leadership posts, online assessments for attendees to dive into. More than just making sure that all management and executive employees were aligned in terms of their vision for the coming year, but that each attendee was equipped with the tools to look after themselves along the way. Showing them that they were cared for by their organisation.

Across the two days, attendees moved throughout their personal agendas, listening to inspiring speaker sessions on company culture, future mapping, wellbeing, and innovating with technology. Attendees also made use of our networking area where they could ask questions and make comments, which operated as a social media platform. In the think tank attendees were encouraged to make contributions on what they think could help the growth of the business. 


We set out to create an immersive virtual environment that fostered participation during important discussions regarding the future expansion of our client’s business. By creating a bespoke online platform with engaging areas and functionalities, we were able to do exactly that. On day 1 of the conference, an amazing 1,500 attendees joined us, followed by 2,000 the day after. Across day 1 and day 2, we reached an engaged participant score of 73% and 77% respectively. This was a notable uptake in engagement when compared to the 2021 conference, which saw an average engagement score of 63%. The buzz of engagement created around the conference has lasted well past the event, with the content still accessible on demand via the platform and traffic to the site still performing impressively. 

We were also able to create this for a global community. With 68.2% of attendees joining us from the UK, we were also able to cater to a diverse audience, with 13.2% joining from KSA and another 16% from Australia. We were able to tailor a unique platform around the needs of this client, highlighting the core messaging of such a pivotal annual conference. 


“Having worked with First Event as part of our 2022 Accelerating Our Performance event, we can safely say that the experience was a hugely positive one. An events team made up of hard-working, dedicated and amenable individuals who formed a highly effective group. The team at First Event are extremely amicable and provided us with support throughout our event, whilst displaying flexibility when required.

Overall, the service provided was of a high standard and we look forward to working with the team on future projects.”