Business View Oceania | Volume 3, Issue 8

73 74 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA VOLUME 3, ISSUE 7 BUSINESS VIEW OCEANIA VOLUME 3, ISSUE 7 SHI PLEYS AUDIOV I SUAL LTD spaces, which are fitted out with studio lighting, backdrops, and fixed cameras. By encouraging clients to travel to event destinations and providing them with a safe location for work and virtual events, Shipleys supports the South Island economy and does their part in steering New Zealand towards a new normal. In another inventive move, Whitnall approached Christchurch couriers with a mutually beneficial arrangement. “I wanted to really make sure my team was well looked after, so I proposed that courier companies could use our van fleet free of charge in return for providing our employees with supplemental income. I did find one that actually took on my proposal. We were able to have our team trained up quite quickly, so that if I couldn’t offer them work during lockdown, they could travel around and do some courier driving if they wanted to.” The General Practitioners Conference is the largest medical conference for New Zealand’s GP population. Held in Christchurch every year, the conference was due to be held after lockdown, with almost 100 presenters booked to speak. 48 hours before the event, New Zealand raised restrictions, but instead of cancelling the conference for hundreds of planned attendees, Shipleys worked overtime to provide a safe solution. Whitnall shares, “Led by the amazing Jason Gregg from our audio-visual department and working closely with Leon Olsen, who is the Director of Conference Matters New Zealand, our team managed to put the entire conference online. It was run over three simultaneous streams and covered everything within the original plan, which was a monumental achievement.” Monumental, indeed. Shipleys is excited to see innovative developments in technology as the industry progresses. Whitnall predicts that the future holds major shifts in events technology use, from the current audio-visual equipment focus to a situation early to reduce impact on employees, as well as the company itself. “We invested very heavily in virtual events quite early on. We were doing a lot of live streaming and hybrid events prior to COVID, so in the first few weeks of lockdown, we were able to focus on supporting our clients while they were working remotely.” Video conference hardware products were quickly added to the equipment hire catalogue to assist in this shift, but the main area of innovation, Whitnall says, became the construction of especially made production studios in Christchurch and Queenstown. Production studios are designed for holding virtual events or interactive webinars. Shipleys design and build custom web interfaces with polling, comments, and Q&A capabilities, and host live break-out rooms to prepare presenters and their content before going live. They also work with venue partners to build studio