We know we release big new updates regularly, but as a result, some of the smaller ones don’t get enough attention. Here’s a list of a few smaller updates from the last 2-3 weeks that are worth mentioning.
By the way, in case you haven't already, don't forget to register for PheedLoop's upcoming massive event called Trailblazers. It's a free PheedLoop powered virtual event with loads of education, networking, games, and more!
Over the last month, the demand for Meet & Stream (PheedLoop’s built-in Zoom-like system for both meeting and streaming content) and the new backstage has exploded. We know it took us a bit of time to get this out of the gate, but that’s because we didn’t repackage and white-label some third-party service the way just about every other platform does. Instead, we invested heavily in building our own infrastructure and software, allowing us to control the end-user cost and keep up with our rapid pace of innovation. Keeping costs low for you is of utmost importance to us. The relief event managers now feel with having a native option for streaming is great, versus integrating a third-party tool like Zoom or ClickMeeting (which we still fully support with seamless authentication).
Anyway! Excitement aside, we’ve improved several aspects of the stream itself. The refresh pixelation that some streams experienced at random intervals is now gone. Also, PheedLoop Meet now supports 48kHz audio.
Event managers love the fact that they can stream pre-recorded videos for free in PheedLoop. We’ve just made it better! We noticed that a lot of our users aren’t video experts, understandably, so they’re uploading massive files or poorly encoded files which are really hard for some attendees to playback efficiently. So, we’ve added a sophisticated transcoding layer that will help videos playback in the most efficient way possible. We will eventually open up the option to stream the videos as HLS files.
We launched PheedLoop’s multi-language interface update last week and the response was phenomenal. With the industry-standard being creating multiple events to support different languages (something we found unbelievable), we released this update in record time. We combined it with our dynamic translation system as well, which allows event managers to insert their own translations for their own content, or override our own. French and Spanish now support this functionality, along with 10 other languages.
Although many events are now using our native Meet & Stream feature, many still rely on Zoom. We were among the very first virtual event platforms to implement Zoom’s Web SDK back in February, which allows for seamless integration (does not require linking out to Zoom directly or logging in) and instant authentication with Zoom’s lightweight web interface. Zoom is constantly adding new features, and they recently released version 1.8.3 which PheedLoop now supports. This includes improvements for Safari/iPad support, and various user interface fixes.
The response to PheedLoop’s updated networking chat widget has been phenomenal, something so many event planners were asking for. We’ve made it even better now, in an effort to support the whole philosophy of allowing networking to be something that can be multi-tasked. Now, every time you receive a new chat message, just like your favorite social media platforms, you’ll get a polite little notification sound. This helps ensure attendees, exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors never miss the opportunity to hop right in to a conversation and make the connection. Of course, this can be disabled via an attendee’s settings area.
Building on the update above, new messages also now trigger a browser tab notification. In other words, the tab which has the event open will flash with a message saying “New Chat Message!”. This further helps attendees ensure they don’t miss important messages, even if they missed the sound. Don’t forget that we also have native device notifications which pop right into a desktop or mobile device’s notification tray.
We realize that large events with a few hundred sessions, and even smaller ones, sometimes find it difficult to navigate the sessions list even with the filters and search functions. So, we’ve solved it! Now, the schedule will always auto-scroll to the most upcoming or current session the moment you open it up. Even cooler is that the current session (if there is one live when you visit the schedule) will auto-load. So with one click, attendees can jump straight into the session and start participating.
Building on the update above, the schedule also now has indicators on the sessions themselves so that it’s visually easy to identify all the sessions which are live at any given time. This is especially useful for schedules with multiple concurrent sessions. On a similar note, the schedule filter has an option to show only the live sessions. Selecting it will not only show the current live sessions, but if you keep the filter on it will auto-update by removing and adding the latest live sessions. This is a great way sit back and experience the whole event on auto-pilot.
We limit the ability to add custom HTML, styling, and scripting to be a power limited to the event managers themselves for security purposes. However, there has been an overwhelming amount of demand for exhibitors and speakers to be able to customize their own profiles with custom HTML. So, now it’s possible! We spent a lot of time ensuring that we had the correct sanitization in place to ensure the scope and impact of this ability for your stakeholders is limited but still highly functional. Iframes are supported as well, which means there are some really clever things your stakeholders can now do all on their own.
Exhibitor portals are critically important for the vast majority of events in PheedLoop. A shortcoming was the inability for exhibitors and sponsors to actually “see” the result of their efforts. Well, now they can! Under the Design tab in their private portals, a floating area on the right-hand side allows them to see how their booth will look in the virtual event portal. We’re working on something similar for the event app as well for hybrid events.
While most events are migrating to use Meet & Stream, some aren’t for totally understandable reasons. We realized even though the Backstage is something only admins and speakers see, it was causing confusion for some events. So, you can now hide the Backstage the way you would any other section.
For those of you who choose to use third-party streaming options, this is a big one. Ustream/Watson Media powered by IBM is a popular option, quite similar to Vimeo Live for comparison purposes. This update allows you to turn on viewer authentication so that instead of simply embedding something like Vimeo Live into PheedLoop if you’re not using Meet & Stream or one of the other streaming options, you can have a fully authenticated RTMP playback experience. This allows you to enforce security rules, but also get a wealth of viewer analytics down to the individual attendees. Extremely powerful for events operating at a larger scale.