SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire – February 24, 2011) – As the entertainment industry is recognizing excellence in the film industry, the Social Media Academy and ON24 are recognizing excellence in a growing new medium — virtual events — with the 2010 ON24 Virtual Event Excellence Awards. ON24 is the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, and the Social Media Academy is the leading education and research institute for applied social media in business.
"While the Academy Awards honors excellence in film, a medium that has been around for over 100 years, the Virtual Event Excellence Awards call attention to a new global medium that offers more engagement between the participant and the producer while also being good for businesses and the environment," said ON24 CMO Denise Persson. "Attendees can participate in tradeshows, conventions and training centers with live and recorded video in venues that look like anywhere on the planet — right from their computers and without any cost to the environment. Our clients have recognized that virtual communication is a key to success in today's changing global economy. These awards honor those organizations that push the boundaries of virtual communication and define best practices for the industry."
The judging, conducted virtually, was led by Social Media Academy founder Axel Schultze. "Many exemplary virtual events and briefing centers were nominated by event producers and participants," he explained. "As we reviewed the submissions we looked for nominees that set new standards for quality, ROI and social media integration."
Five Virtual Event Excellence Awards were given for 2010, honoring the best in virtual event innovation and training and the best user experience, virtual briefing center and social media integration.
The 2010 winners are:
Virtual Event Innovation
CA Technologies — May Mainframe Madness
With over 35,000 attendee touches and each visitor averaging an unprecedented 3.5 hours per visit, CA's May Mainframe Madness (MMM) was a month-long hybrid virtual conference that set new industry standards for attendee interest and interaction, with new, live content being added each weekday in May. A complement to the annual face-to-face CA World user conference in Las Vegas, MMM featured a simulcast of the CA World keynote and three live panel sessions. In addition, the MMM virtual networking lounge was linked to the physical networking lounge in Las Vegas.
Sodexo — Education Market Summer Training 2010
A two-time winner in this category, Sodexo achieved even greater virtual training success in 2010. More than 4,500 Sodexo managers — scattered across the globe and all 50 states — were invited to attend a continuation of the company's virtual management training program, and 90% registered. Sodexo was able to provide hours of training for each manager at a fraction of the cost of traditional face-to-face training. Compared to traditional training events, the company estimates savings of about $1.4 million.
NetApp — Virtual Partner Academy
A custom virtual environment, NetApp's Virtual Partner Academy (VPA) reached thousands of NetApp channel sales partners worldwide with an engaging, interactive learning experience that enhanced and supported the company's largest-ever product launch. Visitors "toured" a 3-D rendering of the NetApp campus and participated in social media forums and "ask the experts" sessions. They also downloaded over 4,000 documents.
Social Media Integration
BNP Media — Prepared Foods Heart Health Virtual Expo
The organizers of this virtual show, the first produced for Prepared Foods Magazine, utilized social media, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, to help familiarize their target audience, most of whom had never attended a virtual conference, with their event. During the expo itself, live posting on Twitter and Facebook was encouraged with a Twitter feed and "Share This" button on the navigation bar. Following a comprehensive marketing and social media plan based on market research, the show organizers offered an engaging interactive experience to virtual event novices.
- Virtual Briefing Center
Hitachi — Hitachi Virtual JP1 VBC
This virtual briefing center (VBC) focused on "JP1," Hitachi's system administration software and solutions, and was opened in conjunction with Hitachi's annual physical event, Hitachi Open Middleware World JP1Day in Tokyo. Attendees who visited the physical event were able to enter the VBC and view unique multimedia content. Accessible for one month after the live day, the VBC was updated frequently to encourage repeat visits. Over 30% of the visitors, in fact, returned to the site more than twice.
Eligible events were last year's virtual events and virtual briefing centers based on the ON24 Virtual Show platform. Nominations were submitted by clients and their partners and customers. Judging was conducted by senior Social Media Academy representatives. Schultze said, "We at the Social Media Academy were very impressed with the creativity and execution of the award nominees. Every single nominated event and briefing center, in fact, were worthy of recognition."
"We really appreciate the interest that has been shown in the awards program, and we are especially grateful to all who sent in a nomination," Persson said. "We expect 2011 to be another ground-breaking year for virtual environments, with companies continuing to set high standards for quality and develop innovative new applications."
About Social Media Academy
The Social Media Academy is considered the leading education and research institute for applied social media in business. Education programs are specifically designed for business professionals from all industries. The main emphasis is to help business managers and consultants get a comprehensive education and hands-on experience through collaborative workshops in all aspects of social business engagement, including strategy development, planning, tools selection, resources allocation and organizational development, as well as reporting and analytics. Attendees learn to use leading methodologies, models and frameworks such as the social media strategy framework, the four quadrant assessment methodology or the NCP model and other strategic tools to create successful social media engagements. The Social Media Academy is based in Palo Alto, California, with representation in Europe and Australia. For more information, visit http://socialmedia-academy.com.
About ON24, Inc.
A recognized global market share leader, ON24 provides webcasting and virtual environments for corporate communications and demand generation. The ON24 platform is a complete Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud offering; no deployment resources are required. ON24 offers fully integrated, enterprise-wide solutions for applications ranging from training, user conferences and company meetings to partner expos and trade shows. More than 750 organizations, including IBM, Cisco, CA Technologies, Merck, AstraZeneca, Fiserv, Credit Suisse, GE and Oracle, rely on ON24. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices throughout the world. For more information, visit www.ON24.com.