In 2018, the BC Diabetes Research Network (BCDRN) at UBC built a new website so their network could handle online conference registrations and abstract submissions more efficiently.
While it did help BCDRN event organizers manage these two tasks, it did not support the creation of an event website, manage communications with participants, or include any of the functions needed to host virtual events.
Then Covid hit.
Event organizers immediately needed to either cancel their events or pivot to a virtual format. That handy website built to manage registrations and submissions simply wasn’t enough.
In their search for a replacement, Meg Hughes and the team at BC Diabetes Research Network were primarily focused on finding a budget-friendly solution that enabled virtual poster sessions. What they found offered so much more.
Meg and her team evaluated a few conference management softwares, but they were either too expensive, or every time it came to communicating with a support team, Meg had to explain every detail of what her team was trying to do.
These other platforms did not understand the concept of a poster session, because they didn’t understand the academic context.
Finally, Meg discovered Fourwaves.
The platform solved Meg’s immediate need to host virtual poster sessions, plus it had tremendous potential to add value and increase efficiency for in-person events through professional, easy to build and use event websites, a full abstract management and peer-review system including the ability to centralize participant and reviewer communications, automated abstract book creation, and the functionality to manage registrations and payments.
Fourwaves also came with an excellent, knowledgeable, responsive technical support team that knew academic conferences inside and out, allowing Meg to save time troubleshooting technical issues and focus on her areas of expertise.
Meg met with the Fourwaves team and was sold on the platform right away. She quickly adopted Fourwaves as her conference organization platform of choice.
I appreciate that Fourwaves is customized to academic science meetings, so when I interact with customer support, I don’t have to educate them on what I’m doing before I can ask for help.
Communication wasn’t the only upside offered by Fourwaves.
For Meg, one of the most time-consuming elements of planning both in-person and virtual events was assembling content for abstract books.
My favorite thing about Fourwaves is the abstract book functionality. What a time saver! When I think about how many hours I used to spend formatting Word documents to put together abstract books… and now with Fourwaves I push a button and it automatically transfers and formats the information into a Word document ready to export to a PDF. It’s just a sensible way of doing things. That function alone is worth every penny.
As of October 2022, Meg and her team have used Fourwaves to plan two events, with another three in the works.
These events are a mix between in-person and virtual that target students and researchers. The Fourwaves platform gives organizers the confidence to carry on with the planning of in-person meetings, knowing that if plans change, it will be easy for organizers to pivot and host their event online.
While Meg and her team discovered Fourwaves as a solution to the immediate need to go virtual, she now relies on this platform to operate both virtual and in-person events more professionally and efficiently, all while staying within budget.
For Meg Hughes, there’s no question as to which software platform she’ll be using to plan her events moving forward.
The BC Diabetes Research Network is a leader and partner in BC for discovery research and translation that will improve health outcomes for people living with and at risk for all types of diabetes. This is a collaborative network of academic faculty and trainees engaged in diabetes research across the province of British Columbia, Canada.
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