The European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) is a professional body involved in many aspects of transplantation, including general profile-raising work. At the heart of ESOT is a focus on education and training, and this is reflected in its biennial congress. After its ground-breaking Glasgow event in 2011, ESOT was keen to ensure that it continued to challenge accepted norms for medical conferences and to further exploit the potential of event digitalisation. The slogan “pushing the limits” was adopted for the 2013 Vienna congress, and this was the guiding principle in developing the scientific programme, event presentation, information exchange and communications. ESOT really wanted to create an event that would leave a strong impression, something that would stay with the participants long after they had left and gone home. With this in mind, ESOT developed the Ecosystem app, which was sophisticated enough to substitute all of the printed materials normally associated with conferences.
Once the Ecosystem’s features were agreed upon, AIM was asked to create an online registration form to be embedded into the event website. The result was a form which included not only standard personal details, but also a password-protected biography enabling delegates to edit their own details, and even upload a picture. Next came the creation of a real-time interface between our registration system and the Ecosystem app, and the development of a special “push function” which automatically checked and validated participants’ registration details.
Prior to the event, participants could use Ecosystem to:
- look through a list of attendees
- see who was speaking
- link up and network with other attendees
- download entire meeting content
Upon arrival in Vienna, all delegates were given iPads which updated automatically with the proceedings, and could also be used to make notes and give out digitalised business cards to facilitate interaction. The system was a huge success as it encouraged active participation in a mix of face-to-face and digital networking. The project was certainly ambitious, but AIM rose to the task and helped create the largest paper-free congress to date. Not only was this fully-digitalised conference a great success for ESOT, it also attracted considerable attention from industry professionals, who were keen to see the new frontier in event organisation for themselves. It is a boundary that AIM looks forward to pushing further.
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