First of all, you may ask yourself whether it is better to organize the conference virtually or in person. The answer is now obvious. Virtual conferences emit more than 1000 times less CO2 than face-to-face conferences, where people meet in person in places that are often far away from their homes. And let us not speak about the inconvenience that this implies such as jet lag, aeroplane, family distance, ... We will present here recent calculations comparing the emissions between a face-to-face conference and the same one organized in virtual.
You may wonder if the virtual experience will be up to the task about the exchanges that can occur in the usual conferences. Because of covid-19, virtual conferences have been tested thoroughly recently. As a researcher myself, I was able to present my work in this new type of online conference. I have noticed that asynchronous conferences, where people pre-record their speeches before the conference starts, do not work as dynamically as face-to-face conferences. But, virtual conferences where everything happens live allow for high-level interactions. It includes chat, slack-type exchanges, or even live oral interventions. This is surprisingly effective. Many new tools are now being developed to make the experience even more attractive and interactive.
Creating a virtual conference is now child’s play and it has nothing to do with the complexity of organizing face-to-face conferences. Rather than going through external companies, you can now create everything in a few clicks. This is best done with the new CarbonFreeConf platform for the moment unique. Fill in a few simple fields such as the subject of your conference, the number of participants, its duration, … and you then have a website that is automatically created for your conference. People who wish to take part in the meeting can come and register. You then have access to an administration panel where you can manage the abstracts you receive (e.g. accept participation, offer a poster instead of a talk, …). You can also send emails to participants, manage your program (in drag and drop mode), and much more. There is also the possibility to create chat rooms to engage in discussion on specific topics. You can create as many chat rooms as you want. CarbonFreeConf also manages posters that can be viewed on any type of devices, upvoted. There is a dedicated chat or one-to-one call area that can be used for posters. The tools are numerous (e.g. participants can pre-record their talks if needed or upload their slides so that they don’t waste time on the big day) and it feels like a real in-person conference.