Serious Laughs: Custom platform and webcast player for the Interstate Annual Awards 2022

About the project:

Since 1943, Interstate Van Lines, founded in Washington, DC, provides moving and employee relocation services, and supply chain logistics.

Interstate Group Holdings, Inc. encompasses a worldwide group of transportation and logistics management, moving, storage and relocation service providers serving federal, state and local government agencies, commercial enterprises and residential clients for over 75 years. With corporate headquarters in Springfield, Virginia, Interstate is a $100 million enterprise employing over 200 professionals, maintaining a fleet of over 300 vehicles and over 1,500 global service partners.

The Challenge:

Interstate Van Lines needed an easy-to-navigate way to meet with employees across the country while helping everyone share a live experience. A fun, activity-based awards program for two groups of internal employees was the vision. Performedia provided advice on feature options to bring this awards ceremony to life.

The client booked a local stand-up comedian to present live. This created a few obstacles in the virtual world. Performedia’s webcast player contains chat, but attendees are not able to interact directly with the presenters; the comedian would not be able to hear attendees laugh!

The Solution:

Performedia built a custom platform and webcast player for use during the live event, and the month following.

We incorporated current elements we use regularly: random prize wheel drawings, an open chat space for attendees, and award video production. Updated development on a championship round of trivia brough the production value higher, creating memorable moments for the employees. Modifying a typically live comedian routine to be engaging and interactive in a virtual environment was the biggest challenge.

Working with the client and comedian, we found a way to give needed feedback to the comedian while recording his set as a backup.

Recording a live comedy act:

The comedian was set to present live, though we set up a recording to have as backup. In this meeting, our team and the client team kept our cameras on and laughed out loud during the set, which gave critical feedback to the comedian and he presented well.

The problem of audience participation during the live event remained until our team presented an option. Instead of using the one-way webcast player, we opened a Zoom meeting room for attendees to join via clickable slide. The slide ensured an easy transition for attendees that took just a minute or two, and tech support was on hand in case anyone got lost.
Though leadership and the comedian encouraged the attendees to keep their cameras on and microphones open, many decided to keep their camera and microphone off. This changed the plan, but the attendees jumped into the Zoom chat, putting a spin on a typical comedic routine.

The comedian responded quickly to the chat as attendees feverishly reacted to jokes and one other’s comments. Though the room was mostly quiet, the vibe matched that of a comedy club. After the set, we provided a direct link in the chat, and with an announcement from Interstate leadership, the attendees quickly moved back to the webcast player for the rest of the program and important messages from the CEO and the president.

The comedian was only available the first day. While the client had planned to use the live recording for the second day, the recording was so lively they decided to play it back instead.

Improved development of existing feature for more exciting gamification:

Our typical package includes a number of trivia or polling questions. For this award event, the client required fast transitions between questions and a separate championship round for the Top 5 winners.

Performedia’s in-house development team updated the polling system to include a real-time leaderboard when displaying trivia results after each question. Since all attendees were part of the same organization, the client decided to go by email address instead of first and last name.

Development also improved back end functionality to make it more user-friendly for our production team. This kept the question flow smooth and quickly paced. We also updated our production plan so individual leaderboard winners could answer the last three questions, while the rest of the attendees could see the question on screen in real time, but not answer.

Utilization of features on offer:

At Performedia, we strive to include many features and options in our regular pricing to avoid add-ons that quickly add up. For both days of the event, the program had to run well and on time so employees could enjoy and celebrate, and also return to work timely. This was easy to implement with our typical features. Those included were:

- Webcast Player Chat: All attendees had access to the chat, where they could leave congratulations and comments for their fellow employee award winners.
- Prize Wheel: A real-time wheel was populated by our team ahead of time to give away prizes in a random drawing. Our production team ran the wheel and tracked the names so the client could focus on engaging the attendees and getting them excited about the prizes.
- Award Video Production - Our in-house designer and video content editor created graphics and assembled two award videos based on the client’s initial instructions. Performedia’s president and CEO, Peter Hackes, narrated in a meeting with the client so they could provide feedback and approval in real time.

The Result:

Both segments of this award event ran smoothly and ended on time. The client team and their President and CEO were pleased with the success. Performedia’s polling update and proven success with the feature makes it easy to implement for future events, without charging development time to Interstate.

Attendees expressed their enthusiasm for the awards and trivia in a lively, ongoing chat discussion. Excited comments flooded in: (authors removed for privacy)
[May 4, 11:20 AM] Congrats!
[May 4, 11:20 AM] Great job everyone-fun time playing with you all!
[May 4, 11:20 AM] Thanks to everyone for assisting in the event!
[May 4, 11:20 AM] Thank you ALL for putting this event together - so fun! :)
[May 4, 11:21 AM] Thank you everyone for putting this together
[May 4, 11:21 AM] Congrats to the winners!!! Thanks to all those that made this event
happen and lots of fun.
[May 4, 11:21 AM] Congratulations to all!!!!
[May 4, 11:22 AM] Way to go!
[May 4, 11:22 AM] Congratulations !!
[May 4, 11:22 AM] Congratulations Tyler! Woo Hoo!
[May 4, 11:22 AM] Woop woop!!!
[May 4, 11:24 AM] Congratulations Clinton, that is AWESOME!!!
[May 4, 11:24 AM] 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

Final Thought:

This event met Performedia’s standard which we have produced since 2003:
- Staple features are included in the price
- Feature customization is possible with nominal charges. We will always work with clients to fit their budget and vision while avoiding the nickel and dime game.
- Milestones along the way include demos and testing, including final approval from the client before launch and go live.

Closing: Performedia’s direct support and frequent demonstrations of feature development ensured attendees had fun celebrating and kept the clients reassured.

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