COVID-19 has made holding annual general meetings (AGMs) almost impossible, due to social distancing, travel bans and the risk of passing on infection. Despite the pandemic, however, these meetings still need to provide shareholders with a reasonable opportunity to participate.

AGMs are one of the few occasions that shareholders get to discuss matters with the board and directly engage with management. With its AGM looming, a multinational mining company quickly saw that a rethink of the traditional format was necessary in the face of the pandemic. It approached Orange Business Services for advice.

The mining company, a long-standing Orange customer with a lean IT team, could see that a virtual AGM was the best option. Instead of redirecting critical internal IT resources, they turned to Orange to deliver a fully-managed experience.

Virtual AGM as managed event

Before the pandemic, the company ran its AGM at a physical venue in Hong Kong for 150 shareholders. With the crisis unfolding, this was going to be impossible. To find a solution, the Orange team had a conference call with the company’s leadership team, and they agreed to run the virtual AGM as a one-off managed event.

The mining company’s IT team had looked at several videoconferencing offerings but hadn’t come across a solution that met its requirements. It needed a managed service that incorporated the added complexity of dual-channel audio streaming. The AGM was to be streamed in English with a separate dial-in number providing a real-time translation into Mandarin.

In addition, the company wanted a commercially available solution that made it easy and secure for stakeholders to virtually attend the AGM, as opposed to dialing in via a VPN connection.

Orange suggested using GlobalMeet Webcast, a scalable, cloud-based audio and video platform designed to stream live events in HD video from any device and browser. It provides one click event entry for hosts, presenters and participants. In addition, users can be easily scaled up without network bandwidth disruption, and audience engagement can be carefully controlled. Advanced user authentication ensures that the system is secure.

Orange quickly spun up a customized landing page for shareholders to register, as invitations had to be sent in just four days. All preregistered attendees were given customized passwords prior to the event. With speakers in various countries, the Orange technical team ran a full rehearsal one week prior and then again three hours before the event, complete with translators.

Delivering the company’s message virtually

The virtual AGM ran very smoothly, and both the mining company and its shareholders were impressed with the quality and ease-of-use of the event. With this one-off managed service, Orange delivered far more than a platform for its customer – it delivered a positive technological outcome in unprecedented times.

The mining company is now looking at using Orange GlobalMeet Webcast as a virtual platform for other important events.

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