Danbury, Conn. — After six weeks, 167 technical presentations and more than 3,300 participants, "Antec 2020, the Virtual Edition" is in the books.
The Society of Plastics Engineers' traditional annual conference had been scheduled for March 29-April 1 in San Antonio, Texas. But after the coronavirus outbreak, SPE quickly scrambled to make it a virtual event.
The conference started March 30 and wrapped up on May 5. A total of more than 3,300 people from seven countries tuned in to at least a portion of the 93-plus-hours of programing.
By the numbers, Antec 2020 also included:
• 14 keynote speakers.
• 1,100+ audience questions answered.
• 58 session moderators.
• 12 YouTube live streams.
• Five PlastChicks podcasts.
• Three PlastiVan demonstrations.
• Two live musical performances.
"While moving our annual conference from an in-person three-day event to a virtual offering was not an easy decision to make, we decided our only option was to change our course of action rather than postpone or cancel," Patrick Farrey, SPE's CEO, said in a wrap-up news release.
"We are extremely happy with the level of success that was achieved by our virtual offering during these past six weeks. One of the most gratifying aspects of all was how multiple teams of people — from our executive board and technical committees, keynote speakers and technical presenters, to the SPE staff — came together to pull this off quickly and seamlessly."
Farrey said technical session audiences grew exponentially for the virtual event, with some sessions attracting nearly 300 attendees, "which would have been unlikely in our onsite event, when we schedule a dozen or so concurrent sessions.
"For speakers this meant that their research and findings were exposed to a larger, more diverse audience," he said.
More than 20 presentations, podcasts and demonstrations were live-streamed on YouTube and are still accessible to anyone.
Because of its success, SPE is developing additional virtual events for 2020, kicking off with a Plastics in Aerospace conference that starts May 18.
Danbury-based SPE's 2021 Antec is scheduled for March 22-26 in Denver.