PCO arinex has launched new software the company says revolutionises managing abstracts and creation of the program, automating many of the steps.
By BRAD FOSTER
When Geoff Lee found himself as Program Chair of the International Statistical Congress in Sydney in 2005 he was literally pulling his hair out trying to have 1200 abstracts approved and filed in some semblance of order.
Little wonder then when professional conference organiser arinex told him they had developed new software that would allow abstracts to be reviewed, approved and slotted into conference sessions online through one system he jumped at the chance to see it for himself.
The eOrganiser (www.eorganiser.com.au) was created, tested and refined in-house at arinex by the company’s Technology manager, Daniel Branik, and Technology project manager, Prem Bhawnani, with a team of seven in total readying it for market over a two year period. It was launched at the Associations Forum annual conference in Sydney in July 2013.
What Geoff Lee discovered after reviewing the software was a system that he wished was available back in 2005, and something that he’s thankful for after accepting the role of co-chair of the Australian Statistical Society’s annual meeting in 2014.
As Daniel Branik explained, while there are a number of abstract management systems available in the marketplace, arinex in its global research found there was no equal in terms of offering abstract management and the ability to effectively implement those abstracts into a conference program.
“We now have an online application that manages the submission and review of abstracts, and then within the same program a collaborative approach to actually creating a conference program using a simple drag and drop – NO MORE EXCEL SPREADSHEETS,” he said.
“Being cloud based eOrganiser allows people anywhere in the world to contribute on the creation of the program or just observe all in real time.”
Put simply, the eOrganiser is used to handle the submission and acceptance of abstracts, review abstracts, handle communication with the authors of the abstracts on whether they have been accepted or not, and then actually using the same system to drag and drop abstracts into the actual conference program. Automatic checking preventing clashes, abstract word count and formatting all abstracts equally are just some built in configurable tools to further ease the experience.
Mr Lee said challenges he had experienced in the past, and which he could envision being overcome with eOrganiser, had included bedding down the conference program early enough to allow for the maximum number of delegate registrations possible. This is particularly important for potential delegates who have submitted abstracts to present at the conference. Often they won’t register for the meeting until they are sure that they will be presenting at the conference.
arinex managing director, Roslyn McLeod, says a conference program is the number one factor in getting people to a conference and so being able to quickly and effectively develop a program is imperative to ensuring the maximum number of delegates.
“Most associations and societies right now are experiencing downward pressure on delegate numbers at their conferences,” she said.
“We would hope that all of our clients will see this new software as a value add in being able to get to market faster and helping them keep their delegate numbers strong.”
Once abstracts have been approved the program committee can then click and drag the abstract into a day, time and even meeting room number, creating a flat plan of the conference program but all displayed on one screen. The program can then be juggled around and available presentation slots filled as further abstracts and speakers are confirmed.
“The BIG winner for clients will be the time saving which makes it a revolutionary change. This means time poor clients who would not take on a Scientific Program commitment will now be more likely to consider taking on the high profile role. Likewise PCOs will be ecstatic with the reduction in time for this aspect of management” Ms McLeod said. m