For virtual and hybrid event technology developer Canapii, necessity truly proved the mother of invention. As the global pandemic upended the events industry, organizers were forced to pivot quickly to a virtual format. Even though digital event platforms were gaining popularity within the industry before the pandemic, going fully virtual introduced new challenges, especially with the lack of an intuitive virtual event engagement tool. Recognizing this void, the Canapii team envisioned the Event Management Console and the Virtual ‘Arena’ Platform. With help from Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud-based technology, Canapii brought their event management software to market in record time and established the brand to go with it. Since, Canapii has helped companies like Hewlett Packard (HP) design and host engaging virtual events that include live-streamed content with real-time multilingual captioning, polling, Q&A, and more.
“The first time I realized that our industry was in for a major shakeup, I was on a flight headed to a board meeting. I thought this may be the last time I travel for business, and then the implications of what that would mean for our industry hit me. As we began talking at the meeting, we quickly came to the consensus that doing nothing wasn’t an option,” shared Gemma Edwards, co-founder, Canapii. “The pandemic gave us that push to take a leap and build a new business that could help solve a big problem. We had the right technology experience to carry out our vision but needed a solution to help us deliver engaging live and on-demand video to a range of platforms and in a variety of languages, which is where AWS Media Services came into play.”
In the early stages of Canapii’s development, the team tried to anticipate the key features required to pull off a fully virtual event on a very basic level, then set out to find a live streaming vendor to meet those needs and more, ultimately signing on with AWS. One of the main challenges that the team identified was how to accommodate various languages and time zones. Working closely with the AWS team, Canapii developers and architects were able to quickly figure out how to scale, ultimately facilitating more than five simultaneous live streams in different languages to an audience of 6,000 for their first event. “The world is a big place, and we knew that a one-size fits all approach wouldn’t cut it. Between customers, we see a lot for requests for concurrent Japanese, Mandarin and Korean translations, and thankfully AWS tools are truly global and scalable,” explained Edwards. “They’ve helped us really push the limits of translation and multilingual captioning to make it feel as though it’s part of the event.”
The end result of the Canapii team’s efforts is an interactive, multilingual, fully integrated virtual event management console and platform with a familiar video conferencing aesthetic and interface that allows for custom branding. “After a lot of blood, sweat and tears, we’ve been able to deliver a solution that offers event participants a seamless journey, whether fully virtual or hybrid, and at the same time one that establishes a sense of community,” shared Edwards. “That’s the allure of Canapii. Customers are also drawn to the fact there are no limits to the number of meetings or participants. Unlike platforms where you pay per meeting or video, Canapii is designed to provide organizers with all of the tools needed to run an event without multiple, costly add-ons.”
In the last year, Canapii has built out the platform and extended its geographic reach. “It took a lot of effort to get where we are today with Canapii, but AWS has been instrumental in the process,” expressed Edwards. “Not only is Canapii’s entire infrastructure built on the cloud platform, but AWS Media Services also form the building blocks of our tool’s live streaming capabilities – providing the security, reliability and high-quality video that our customers and their audiences demand.”
Canapii formally debuted last year, powering HP’s first-ever all-virtual global HP Reinvent Virtual Experience. The event drew in an audience of 7,000 participants from all corners of the globe. In closing, Edwards shared, “The events industry, like many others, has seen so many changes in the last year that have challenged us to think outside the box. Our goal with Canapii is to help event organizers get more compelling global events online with less friction, allowing them to focus less on the technology and logistics, and more on growing their audience and business.”