NFL User Group Goes Virtual

Our NFL User Group went virtual this year! Read on to learn how we used our showroom and the internet to make it happen.

Daktronics’ bi-annual NFL User Group conference is normally an in-person gathering on our Brookings, SD, campus. This year, with gathering and travel restrictions still in effect, Daktronics took to the internet to host the event in its first-ever virtual format. Throughout the week of February 22nd, representatives from 19 NFL teams logged on to the live stream to experience Daktronics’ latest display and control system features, and to get a glimpse of our newest product enhancements.

To facilitate the event, Daktronics Marketing Coordinator Tara Hendricks stepped in to serve as the event coordinator, overseeing months of planning between the numerous Daktronics teams to produce the virtual event. The stream was broadcast out of the new Daktronics showroom with a 1.9mm narrow pixel pitch display serving as the backdrop for host and Daktronics Product Manager Tony Kuck. Since all of the Daktronics presenters are currently working from their home offices throughout the country, an NDI production workflow was used to bring presenter webcams, slide graphics and live demo workstations together into the webstream.

“One of the major challenges was that our presenters were also virtual in addition to our attendees,” Tara reflected in the days following the event. “Providing an extra level of complexity was the need for open communication behind-the-scenes, both in the showroom and to all the presenters, while still hosting the meeting live on the stream.”

Applications Engineer Seth Koch helped bring the production to life from the showroom’s control room. “We wanted everyone to be able to participate from thousands of miles away, using the highest possible quality video resolution, so we decided to bring them in using a single video platform,” Seth noted. “We used the Microsoft Teams platform because of its ability to output NDI, which is easily transported through our ecosystem.”

From the control room in Brookings, Seth executed the switching between presenters’ webcams, slide graphics from a local laptop, and a Daktronics Live Clips server in which all the software demos were performed from. The result was a full 1080p live feed to the streaming platform Vimeo to host the interactive conference with our NFL customers.

While we are eager to welcome user groups back to the Daktronics campus in the future, the prospects with what can be done virtually remains largely untapped. “The challenge we were successful at was blending a meeting with a conference to create a final polished, interactive production for our attendees,” Seth said. “Our new Showroom is such a cool space, and re-creating that online is something we will look to build upon moving forward.”

View the recordings from the 2021 NFL User Group here.

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