Last month, #Eventprofs gathered to try and break Rally.
Rally is a new kid on the block in the virtual events platform world. Launched in the middle of a global pandemic this year, Rally aims to make virtual networking more natural and engaging. When entering an event on the Rally platform, participants can hop around different rooms. Inside each room, they can have small group conversations with other participants by joining a table or starting their own table.
The platform includes a relatively easy to use host interface that allows event hosts to grant privileges to attendees to join them on stage. We discovered that the stage can handle about 20 people on it before it “breaks”.
What’s unique about Rally, is the background chatter function. With this setting enabled by the event organizer, participants can actually hear (faintly) conversations taking place at other tables, while they are having their own. Sounds annoying? Perhaps, but that may be the point Ali, one of the co-founders of Rally, told us the reason behind it is to replicate what people experience at an in-person networking event. This feature tries to re-create the energy and excitement of being in a room with other humans (remember what that’s like!?).
The reviews on the feature were mixed. Some people loved it, some people hated it, and some people were hearing the background noise come out of their laptop speakers back into their microphone, which made it even more distracting.
We all agreed that if event organizers want to activate this feature, clear onboarding communication to attendees is essential. Attendees would surely be confused and overwhelmed if we simply left it to them to figure it out.
In an effort to welcome #eventprofs from around the world, we decided to set up two-time slots for the event. This way, people in different regions and time-zones could join. Thank you Mathias Posch, host of ICS Connects, for making this suggestion.
More than 200 #eventprofs signed up for the event. We had a fairly large group for the first session taking place at a North American friendly time and approximately 15 people joined the evening one aimed at Asian participants. Together these groups of passionate event professionals generated 7 pages of feedback for Rally and tested out some potential functions they had never thought about.
As mentioned, we tried to have everyone on stage at the same time (Literally, who would even think to try that? #eventprofs! ).
Or...Karaoke??? (I wasn’t even drinking...)
The “broadcasting from the stage” feature was also a hot topic. Personally, I like the design that allows people to still chat with others at their table. They just need to “talk louder”. Right now, you can only broadcast in the room, and you are not able to do a general broadcast to the entire event (venue). Ali said this is their top priority in development, and hopefully it will have this ability soon.
How did we think Rally can be used? It is perfectly designed to facilitate virtual speed networking, a recruitment fair, or a game night to name a few uses. An out-of-the-box suggestion is hands-on workshops. The host posts a challenge or question, then allows attendees to drop into different tables for small group discussion. Because of its human-centric design, I’m sure #eventprofs will come up with more creative ways to use Rally in the future. If you do, be sure to share with us!
It was a fun experience, and thank you Rally for being open to the idea.
Now, what should we break next?