Association Event Network December 2019 - Page 10

Kubify WRITING ON THE WALL Written by Stuart Wood Event tech start-up Kubify is sounding the death knell for paper poster sessions, and helping academic events spread their legacy beyond the conference halls 10 AS WE HEARD on pages 8-9 of this issue, many academic and association conferences struggle with sharing information. It can be difficult to make cutting-edge research tangible for delegates, and to distribute it in an accessible manner. The age-old solution to information exchange at academic conferences has been the ‘poster session’, where large printouts of new research are displayed in open rooms holding seminar discussions. But this solution can be unwieldy, not to mention expensive, and is not conducive to continuing the debate once the event is over. Enter Kubify - an event tech company which is solving this problem with electronic posters. Kubify’s Learning Toolbox creates a small, printed mini-poster, containing a teaser of the content and a QR code. Delegates can scan this QR code and access a suite of interactive material that includes video, audio, presentations, weblinks, social media feeds, quizzes and more. The company was set up in 2018, after co-founders Tamsin Treasure-Jones and Raymond Elferink had spent many years in the same academic circles. The pair often discussed the problems they had sharing their research, and decided to set up Kubify after trialling an early version of the Learning Toolbox at the Association for Medical Education conference in Helsinki. Treasure-Jones says: “Paper posters at conferences are a poor way for researchers to present their work. The content is limited to text and graphs, they are expensive to produce and transport, and they do not “Paper posters at conferences are a poor way for researchers to present their work. The content is limited, they are expensive and they do not provide ongoing engagement.” provide ongoing engagement with the community. “Most paper posters will be packed up into their tube after the conference and will never see the light of day again. For organisers, these paper poster sessions are a logistical nightmare that need a lot of expensive space. For many venues, it means they cannot host conferences with large poster sessions, simply because of space limitations.” The aim of the technology is to facilitate discussions happening at academic conferences, and extend the legacy of an event beyond its duration. Kubify’s Learning Toolbox can be accessed before, during and after an event, and delegates are able to leave comments on all content, as well as co-author it. Treasure-Jones continues: “Authors can easily continue to share their own work with others after the conference. This rich repository lets viewers search and explore e-posters from all the years that the conference has used Learning Toolbox.” A digital, open platform provides one solution to the problem of legacy for academic and association events. The ability to easily share information across social media and beyond could allow it to become the mouthpiece for the world’s next major research breakthrough.