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
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.
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
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.
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 Ron.Burns@ProtonMedia.com