HPE drives audience engagement with event polling

Hewlett Packard Enterprise boosts audience interaction by strategically deploying event polling at their premier conference

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise uses live event polling during their HPE Discover conferences to spark meaningful conversations between presenter and audience, and between audience and HPE staff.

The result is a conference that feels alive, with ideas flowing back and forth among more than 10,000 attendees, staff, and featured presenters.

HPE Discover, in the company's own words, is a place to discuss areas "where our customers have asked for our help." At HPE Discover London in 2016, the topic du jour was big data. HPE customers know that data will, in short order, be the backbone of business. They also have questions about what form that future will take.

We started using live polling as a way to increase interaction and engagement between the presenter and the audience.

Get to know the audience through live polling

Three HPE big data experts — alongside a number of respected guests — took to the stage to begin the conversation. First, Bill Philbin, HPE’s VP & GM of Storage and Big Data, polled the audience to get surface-level information about the precise concerns of HPE customers.

Almost instantly, Bill had his answers:

71 percent of the audience see affordability or resiliency and availability as their top concern in all-flash deployment.

51 percent worry most about managing storage costs over time.

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Next, Tony Sumpster, SVP & GM of Software IT Operations Management, shifted the conversation from abstract concerns to concrete progress. Tony’s poll questions all revolved around how well-prepared the audience was for the shift to digital:

46 percent are still in the planning phase.

81 percent are planning to phase in automation to their disaster recovery plans.

53 percent haven’t yet started leveraging containers.

A clear picture emerged thanks to event polling: the audience saw the importance of the digital transformation, but were mostly unsure how to proceed.

I think we come back a year from now, two years from now, [and] we'll see that first one start to come down and the other ones continue to inch up.

Extending the conversation beyond presentations

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Between presentations, light-hearted trivia questions were displayed. This served two purposes, according to Events Digital Strategy Lead Liviu Ionescu:

"Our objective was twofold. One was to offer something to do for the people in the room just waiting, doing nothing," said Ionescu. "We also wanted to introduce them to polling, so that it would be much easier to use it when the session starts, because they already know how it works, they already have the link. It was easier."

Those trivia questions had the desired effect: interaction levels skyrocketed in subsequent presentations.

Liviu also noticed another benefit of these trivia polls. Dotted along the venue's periphery were HPE sales booths, manned by HPE staff. Among the customers, partners, and distributors that comprised the audience, many referenced the trivia polls when approaching HPE staff.

We created these interesting surveys for the customer who would then take a moment to watch the results, maybe take the survey and start a conversation with our people.

Capture a holistic view of attendees

Eventually, it all circled back to the next presentation. Many presenters used the polling question as a conversation starter for their presentation, segueing from the poll question into their own material.

So as attendees wandered in, they weren’t merely walking into a lecture. They were diving into an interesting, ongoing conversation.

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How can you do this?

Add each presenter as a subuser to your account. Once those accounts are created, presenters can create their own polls.

Rehearse each presentation before the event. The larger the event, the further in advance you’ll want to prepare.

In your own account, create trivia questions for attendees to interact with between sessions. This will help familiarize them with how Poll Everywhere works.

Place manned booths at the event, if you want to give attendees an on opportunity to continue the conversation.