Despite being forced on-line due to covid-19, the IEEE 22nd International Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing was a success, according to General Chair of the event, professor Atanas Gotchev of Tampere University. With an anticipated attendance of 150 delegates, the on-line event attracted an impressive 680 registered participants.
So what did the organisers do right to reach this success?
“First and foremost we had strong scientific content: three keynote speeches by world-renowned experts; one industrial panel by local experts from Tampere Imaging Eco-system and more than 100 oral and poster presentations by participants”, professor Gotchev points out. Although participation was free of charge for those without papers (which in part explains the rise in participants), it did not diminish the eagerness to participate: “We were afraid that given the lockdown and inability to travel, people would refrain from submitting papers. It proved us wrong. We got really excellent submissions and because of the virtual format, we were able to accept more of them. We extended the duration of the conference by one more day, in order to accommodate more good contributions.”
In order to make the virtual congress feel as real as possible, a lot of work was put into improving and stimulating interaction between participants. Professor Gotchev explains: “We set the program so that sessions were meeting twice: first to listen to the presentations and ask quick questions and then second time, in more informal breakout rooms, to discuss more profoundly and longer. Participants appreciated that setting.”
As the congress was virtual, it could have been sent from anywhere, but the organisers wanted Tampere to be present as well. “We did our best to convey the message about hospitality, safety and abundance of services and beautiful nature in Tampere and Finland. Tampere Convention Bureau provided us with virtual videos of local activities, such as roof walking at the Finlayson factory, stretching in Sorsapuisto park, and canoeing in Jämijärvi. They were much appreciated.”
Luckily for this year’s virtual participants, they will be able to experience the city live next year, as the IEEE 23rd International Workshop on Multimedia Signal Processing will be held in Tampere in 2021.
More success stories from Finland at the Finland Convention Bureau website.