"This is exactly why we do this," she said.
Chicagoans are used to snow in the Winter. Unlike my home state of Virginia, where even a wintry mix advisory is enough to cancel school, the Windy City's infrastructure keeps running even during blizzards. Unless you're flying.
For Kim Cavitt of Audiology Resources, canceled flights were a fact of life for most of her career as a traveling consultant. In the past, she would have to reschedule entire seminars, issuing refunds to those who were unable to accommodate the change of itinerary. For a while, it seemed as though she would simply have to look at the hazardous Winter months as a forced furlough for her business.
Until she was struck with an idea: what if she didn't have to travel, but was still able to instruct her clients?
Kim approached us to discuss live streaming her seminar. She had specific needs: in addition to presenting the course material, she would need to authenticate each user individually, and keep track of the time they spent engaged with the content. (Her clients receive continuing education credits for attending her seminars.) In addition, she wanted a dialogue with her audience: she needed a chatroom, as well.
No problem, we said. That's what we do!
Kim used our proprietary webcasting platform to deliver four, 4-hour webinars live from our office in Wicker Park.
On the first day of her seminar, Kim's audience tuned in for over 8 hours as she went through her presentation. Our makeshift studio was cozy, comfortable, and accessible: the day zoomed by with no issue.
The second day could have gone much worse.
Overnight, Chicago had its first significant snowstorm of the year. With an expected snowfall of 8" - 12", O'Hare and Midway had already canceled over 600 flights in anticipation. CPS schoolchildren rejoiced and parents bemoaned as the city issued a rare snow day, canceling school. All over the city, folks elected to work from home.
In the past, this type of weather may have caused Kim to cancel her seminar entirely. Instead, she and the crew arrived a bit early, set up, and began broadcasting right on time.
"Good morning from snowy Chicago!", she announced to her audience. "You can't tell, but we got about 10 inches of snow last night. If this were a few years ago, my flight would have been canceled and you might not have seen me."
"This is exactly why we do this," she explained. "February is the worst month to travel in Chicago. So now, rather than bringing me to you, I'm bringing you to me." She then launched into her presentation without missing a beat.
Kim's story is one that we see over and over again: live streaming connects people when it's otherwise impossible. Hundreds, thousands, even millions of viewers can connect with content specialists from the comfort of a small studio.
This is the future of connectivity; it's the future of community. We're excited to be a part of it.