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Hi,

We hope everyone is safe and healthy.

Given the circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, most physical in-person events have been converted to online events. This post will give you a few suggestions for creative ways to engage customers with Hands-on Labs.

VMware Hands-on Labs are offered online 24/7, publicly and at no cost. This means that we offer the flexibility for customers to come in to try VMware products at any time and from any location. If you are looking for ways to explore your options around hosting a virtual event for your customers, you are on the right page. Whether it be a small Zoom webinar or a structured virtual event (ie. VMUG, Evolve), engage and enable your customers with a personalized Hands-on Labs experience.

Presenting to you: Hands-on Labs for Virtual Events

Overview

This guide is to help event organizers deliver successful Hands-on Labs using the event platform of their choice. Please feel free to share this with your virtual event platform organizer.

 

Formats

There are many different types of formats to deliver online events.
The following are just a few of the ones we have seen. If you have tried different ones that you like please do share them with us.

 

Self-paced Labs

This is the most commonly used format as it allows users to casually browse the lab catalog and take the labs they are interested in.

 

 

 

Webinar Presentation and Demo

This is ideal for large numbers of attendees learning about 1 specific product. In some cases, they are also structured in a series of webinars. A product expert will present on the product/solution, provide context and then demo the product using a lab. Users on the call are not expected to take the lab at the same time but encouraged to come back and take the lab at their own convenience.

 

 

 

Expert-led Workshops

These are valued highly by our users and of course require more cycles to roll out as the workshops are limited by the number of participants. The format is similar to the webinar demo presentation but you will have the attendees taking a lab with you. The person leading this workshop should be engaging.

 

 

 

Odyssey

Having Odyssey gamification as part of your event will add an additional element of fun and stickiness. Be sure to read referring links to the Odyssey website. http://odyssey.vmware.com/

 

 

 

After choosing your platform of choice (Intrado, vFairs etc..) reach out to the Hands-on Labs team to set up the Odyssey games you would like to host.

Follow these steps

First, make sure you have a unique Salesforce tracking ID which includes ‘Odyssey’ in the name.

Second, choose the Odyssey games you would like to host from labs.hol.vmware.com. Then start communicating with both your chosen platform team and your counterpart on the Hands-on Labs team to start the integration process. NOTE:  If you are using Zoom to host your event, there is no integration available. You will be required to navigate your customers to the game via link & screen share.

Third, submit a HOL-in-a-box request  http://web.hol.vmware.com/HOL-in-a-box/. This will ensure your labs are pre-popped for the day of your event.

During this process, the HOL team will create custom game codes for you and send you the links to the leaderboard(s). Also, we will ensure your event (& choice of platform) has been successfully integrated with our system. Please communicate with the HOL team in advance so that we can ensure your custom game code automatically appears in the lab manual.

 

 

Virtual Event Platforms

We work with most virtual event platforms INXPO, On24 and others. We can provide the following integrations with them.

  • Single Sign On:  Provide an easier experience by having the labs launch using SSO – please see sample URL API code to embed in the Virtual Event Platform.
  • Reporting: We have API documentation to report on the number of people who have taken the labs, unique email id, lab name, length of time lab taken, location

 

Capacity Planning and Strategies

For large events we encourage you to set time aside with us to do some capacity planning. Be sure to bring the following information

Goals

Date of Event

Number of expected invitees

Number of expected attendees

Audience Type – Managers, Architects, Administrators

Event theme

Products highlighted

With this information we can work with you on the number of labs to be presented.

 

Ending Notes

Promotion is key to a successful event. Promote where ever you can online and if you are hosting Odyssey, a prize for the winner(s) typically generates more buzz.

 

For more questions feel free to reach us at hol-feedback@vmware.com