In some industries, web-only access to virtual events is not considered to be enough. For example, in the area of investor communications, dial-in access and Q&A session via telephone lines is considered a must-have by many. This is mainly due to old conventions from both the organizer and participant side—but also due to strict firewall policies in many financial sector organizations.
However, as organizations have adopted video conferencing solutions such as Teams or Zoom, the bread and butter of teleconference service providers has vanished at a rapid pace. Organizations have replaced legacy teleconferences with smarter and more modern solutions, and the service providers’ business is in dire straits. How to do business with a staff structure consisting of large number of teleconference operator personnel, when the demand has diminished? The answer for the largest players has been simple: by not doing business at all, i.e., divesting the business area.
Now, for event organizers who still need teleconferences with operators, the recent development is causing serious challenges. Teleconference business shutdowns and consolidation has led to severe availability and quality issues, and the prices are on the rise at a pace that makes the 2022 inflation seem like a jolly walk in the park. For the Q3'22 earnings season, it has been a nightmare to deal with the few existing teleconference operators who simply don't have the capacity to serve all quarterly reports, for which there are high peaks in demand by design.
Sound familiar? Trust me, you're not the only one facing this challenge.
As we saw the first signs of upcoming situation unfolding before our eyes, we thought: “Hey, we have a vast number of clients using our platform for investor events, and they are going to be in trouble. What can we do to help them?”
Jumping right into the solution, it addresses the challenge of how to replace the scarcity commodity - the human operator - in the equation with something else. We anticipated that we will need something to handle introductions, assist withasking questions and announce the names of people asking questions - and not just to those of online participats but also the ones joining via telephone dial-in. Simply put, we needed an artificial host.
Starting from the participant experience, our solution encompasses intuitive web interface for registration and web participation, along with a teleconference dial-in option.
All participants need to register for the event, also the ones who want tojoin via teleconference dial-in. After registering the number used to to dial-in, the participant receives the dial-in numbers. For companies, this changes the conventional routine of sending out dial-in details in the Q-report invitation: only the web URL to the registration form needs to be included in the release.
An artificial host gives an introduction to the event and announces the speakers when the event begins. The event is being recorded in the background, and the recording is published practically immediately after the event’s closing words have been said.
The solution features a built-in option to ask questions via web browser or the telephone line. As the Q&A is commences, the participants who want to ask questions both via web browsers and teleconference dial-in are visible in the Q&A admin panel and their line can be activated. When the line is activated through the admin panel, the artificial host announces the name and the company of the person whose turn it is to speak.
So where does the artificial host stand in relation to a real human? Let's compare these two head-to-head.
|Artificial host||Real human|
|Availability||Unlimited||Weak at peak hours|
|Exposure to errors in prompts||Very limited||Human factor|
|Sound quality||Clean and stable||Subject to several factors ranging from microphone positioning to background noise|
|Ability to adapt to surprising situations||Good. Admin panel is easy-to-use and operator can be asked to speak out anything that can be written.||Per default human operator should be able to adapt faster to surprises. However, subject to operator’s experience and knowledge.|
|Opening script||Yes, fully adaptable||Yes, fully adaptable|
|Q&A reminder||Yes, fully adaptable||Yes, fully adaptable|
|Announcing speaker||Yes, automated||Yes, reading out loud|
|Pronounciation of names||Decent||Varies|
|Personal attention||Machine-like||Positive or negative, subject to personality and mood of the operator|
|Timeliness||Always prompt||Prone to errors|
As a conclusion, if we abstract the feeling of comfort that the human operator may be able to provide before the event starts, the artificial host triumphs the race —most importantly in the areas of availability, quality and timeliness.
The solution has been tested and proven during the third quarter of 2022, and is now widely available for our enterprise clients both as a do-it-yourself tool and as a turn-key service.
We also offer the solution as a white-label for event agencies, production companies and IR solution providers, which allows you to optimize the way you are dealing with teleconferencing.
Contact us for more details, a demo or requests for business.
Itämerentori 2, 00180 Helsinki, Finland
Brantingsgatan 44, 115 35, Stockholm