Special Section: Pharma Meetings - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Special Section: Pharma Meetings

Pharmaceutical Executive


Mounting the Event

After the design and development was completed, Merck sent out invitations. Around 50 scientists participated, providing their posters on PowerPoint slides, which were then loaded into the environment and made available before, during, and after the event.


Participants could walk around the virtual floor using the arrow keys on their keyboards, click on doorways to pass through rooms, and click on chairs to sit down. To communicate using voice, they pressed the F12 key on their keyboard. They could also instant message throughout the meeting. All conversations were able to be logged to create an audit trail for compliance purposes.
Attendees also received an e-mail confirmation in advance, which included the link to download the application, and a brief self-guided online tutorial. It took about 15 minutes to understand how to use the platform, including how to use their headsets, mute/unmute their mics, move around, and so on.

On the day of the virtual poster session, attendees were welcomed with a review of the agenda, and then dispersed to experience the poster session itself. Participants were able to walk up to the posters—virtually—and read them. They listened to presenters speak, asked them questions, and discussed their impressions with other attendees.

Virtual advantages

While the main goal was to create a virtual version of a real-world poster session, there were certain additional capabilities to be had in the virtual world that are not available in the real world. For instance, in the real world, when a poster session is over, it's over. In the virtual world, it continues to exist online. To date, attendees can go back into the space, meet, and discuss the information presented, download and save the slides to refer back to at a later date, or share with teammates not at the event.

Ron Burns is the founder and CEO of ProtonMedia. He can be contacted at
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