And that’s a wrap!
The first-ever WISP Virtual Summit, organized by Preseem and supported by WISPA alongside leading industry vendors, successfully completed on July 28, 2020. And the one-day event set new benchmarks for online events in the telecommunications industry.
What started off as a simple plan to engage the WISP industry online, given the cancellation of in-person events, turned into something much bigger and better than even the organizers could have imagined!
On an otherwise uneventful Tuesday, over 500 members of the fixed wireless industry congregated on wispvirtualsummit.com to participate in this pioneering event. This included WISP owner/operators, staff members, industry experts, consultants, government officials, and company representatives from leading vendors and manufacturers.
Unlike many other online events, which suffer from low attendance rates, more than 89% of the registered attendees logged in on event day to attend the live sessions, visit virtual booths, and participate in 1-1 networking, group discussions, and Play-to-Win challenges to win free prizes!
Over the course of seven hours, starting 10 AM Eastern time, the participants attended 17 sessions that spanned across the business, regulatory, marketing, and technical aspects of running a WISP, in addition to some sponsored breakout sessions. Most sessions featured WISP owners and operators who shared their own life experiences and lessons so that others could get ahead without making the same mistakes they made!
In total, the sessions received over 5000+ views! Claude Aiken, President of WISPA, delivered the keynote address which was viewed by 71% of attendees. His message focused on stories of hope and how WISPs rose to the occasion when this pandemic hit which ensured essential connectivity to millions of Americans. He shared many examples of WISPs that emerged as heroes in their communities due to their actions that went beyond the call of duty. Claude’s keynote finished with information on how WISPA is fighting the good fight for its members in Washington DC. He called upon more WISPs to join the organization and help spread awareness about the essential work that WISPs do.
In addition to the keynote, senior members of the WISPA team, Christina Mason and Louis Paerartz, talked about latest developments at FCC and how there are billions of dollars committed by the US government—and further coming soon for operators—that WISP owners can get access to.
Throughout the day, technical experts talked about everything from designing a wireless network for scalable growth, to best practices for radio network and when to say no to customers, to core and backhaul designs.
An interesting track, titled “Owner’s Special,” featured 3 sessions where experienced WISP owners/operators talked about the different challenges and tips applicable to WISPs of different sizes: 0 to 1000+ subscribers, scaling to 3000+ subscribers, and staying in the big league with 10,000+ subscribers.
Breakout sessions from vendors touched upon a diverse range of topics including the use of CBRS (Cambium), leveraging automation (VISP.net), the power of horns (RF elements), as well as using services like Towercoverage, Preseem, and the things not to do in WISP networking (IP ArchiTechs).
In addition to listening to top industry professionals and experts, more than 42% of the attendees participated in Play-to-Win challenges sponsored by exhibiting vendors. Over 56,500 points were collected by attendees who completed 2400+ challenges! Twelve participants won over $1000 in Amazon gift cards as the hourly draws were completed, which led to some serious competition across many workplaces!
One of the highlights of this virtual conference was the presence of leading industry vendors and organizations including Atheral, Aviat Networks, Azotel / Solutions4Ebiz, Billmax, Cambium Networks, IP ArchiTechs, Micronet, Ping Marketing, Preseem, RF elements, SAF Tehnika, Towercoverage, VISP.net, and WISPA. As is expected with a typical WISP industry event, the fun is in meeting company representatives and fellow WISPs to get firsthand experience of the latest products and services on offer.
Over 2500+ private messages were sent by the attendees to other attendees throughout the day.
The WISP Virtual Summit 2020 and Live Expo received overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, with many quoting the ease of using the platform as well as the value of the content delivered. Many WISP owners reached out to the organizers and sponsors to thank them for organizing a virtual conference. Some of these WISPs noted how difficult it was for them to have all of their staff members travel to in-person conferences. A virtual conference allowed them to ensure that all staff members could get the insights from an industry event without leaving the comfort of their home/office while essential work continued.
Another useful aspect of this virtual conference is the unrestricted access that all registered attendees have to the session recordings even after the day of the event. Yes, for at least the next 30 days, all registered attendees will continue to have access to log in and view any and all of the sessions on the WISP Virtual Summit platform!
At Preseem, we feel indebted to all attendees, partners, and supporters who helped us organize this incredible event. Further, we took notes to ensure that all feedback received from attendees is accounted for. Such detailed feedback will allow us to improve upon the experience for all future events!
We really love the excitement of attending an in-person event like WISPAPALOOZA and WISPAMERICA, and we really do hope the situation in the world will change and soon allow us to get back to them. Having said that, we do believe that virtual events will definitely get better and find their own place in the world of industry events. The ease, flexibility, and affordability of such events is hard to ignore!
Here’s to more to come!
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