In 2020 and 2021, the global pandemic has disrupted our beloved technical conferences. Conferences had to move online to be held on virtual platforms. Thus, while maintaining the same technical rigour, the social aspect of attending conference has been severely impacted. We are all looking forward to going back and meeting colleagues across our field in person and ECC22 will allow exactly this.
ECC22 will be a hybrid conference that will run fully in-person and fully virtually. The conference is designed and meant to be a hybrid conference to take advantage of the best that the two modalities can offer.
What does hybrid mean for ECC22?
ECC22 will run as a full, in-person, traditional, conference. In this regards, ECC22 is no different from ECC19, the last in-person ECC before the beginning of the pandemic. The conference will last 3 days (plus 1 pre-conference workshop day) and will take place at Imperial College London. The programme will follow a multi-track structure with 3 sessions per track (1 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon). There will also be 4 plenaries, 4 semi-plenaries and 1 special plenary associated to the European Control Award. The social programme, sponsor booths, and poster interactive sessions will complement the technical programme by making ECC22 a successful and exciting in-person scientific gathering.
The ECC22 Organising Committee believes that the best way to experience and participate to the conference is in presence, and they would normally expect that authors will present their paper in-person.
However, the ECC22 Organising Committee also recognises the benefits of virtual conferences. Virtual conferences are more inclusive, allowing participation at a cheaper rate. This allows a higher number of students to attend. Virtual conferences also allow participation of colleagues that for personal or working commitments cannot travel to the conference venue. In addition, while travel routes between countries have restarted and we expect no issue during July 2022, some participants may still experience travel difficulties.
Hence, the technical programme of ECC22 will also be replicated on a Virtual Conference Platform. In this regard, ECC22 is like other virtual conferences, with the only important difference that the programme of the virtual conference is synchronized with the in-person programme. For instance, a live talk on the Virtual Conference Platform corresponds to a streamed presentation taking place in our physical venue.
In summary, ECC22 combines the best of both worlds, aiming at providing a full in-person experience and a full virtual experience.
How does this work practically?
For in-person attendees the conference will play out as a standard pre-pandemic conference. In case a presenter is absent (for instance because the presenter is registered as virtual author) then a recording of the talk will be played in the room and streamed online.
For virtual attendees, the conference will follow the in-person programme with virtual rooms connected to the physical rooms. Streams in the virtual rooms will follow the in-person talks. In addition, the entire programme will also be available on-demand.
It is important to highlight that streaming will be possible only from the conference venue. Thus, virtual registered authors can deliver their presentation only via recording.
To this end, all authors (including in-person authors) will be required to record their talk in advance, which will be available on the Virtual Conference Platform (VCP) to all registered participants.
A standard technical session is 2-hour long. It will contain 7 15-minute long presentations. The Q&As do not take place after each talk, but are collected at the end of the session in a designed 15 minute interactive Q&A slot.
We hope that ECC22 will demonstrate that hybrid conferences are a new opportunity for the control community.