Botmock’s Conference Design Summit Digitally Imitates In-Person Events

Conversational design and prototyping tool Botmock is bringing together industry practitioners and experts for the Conversation Design Summit (CxD) on March 1 and 2. Like almost every event since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the summit will take place online, but Botmock hopes to simulate some of the better aspects of real-world events using a proximity chat platform Gather.Town and a strict limit on attendees.

Designing and Doing

Botmock envisions the CxD Summit as a very practical event, focused on specific skills and toolkits. The speakers are referred to as doers, not talkers, and the events will touch on design and product development with references to case studies and actual implementation of the concepts under discussion. Some of the highlighted topics include how and when to end a voice feature, applying data to generating a chatbot, and the best ways to design complex, integration-heavy virtual assistants.

“At the CxD Summit, there will be no pie-in-the-sky vision talks,” Botmock explained in announcing the event. “No theoretics. We want you to come away from these talks with less why and more how.”

Virtual Physical

To run an event during the COVID-19 pandemic often means turning to Zoom or a similar video conferencing platform. Botmock decided to pursue something more ambitious by hosting CxD on a proximity chat platform called Gather.Town. The platform creates a digital version of a conference center, as can be seen in the map to the side. Attendees can move their avatar from room to room, encountering different people and discussions depending on where they are. Those in the space will be sharing audio and video feeds with those within two “paces” of each other, fading out as you move farther away, giving a sensation of being in a real room and walking around talking to different people.

To further make the online conference feel like a real-life event, Botmock has limited attendance to just 200 people. That way it won’t be impossible to engage individually or turn into a messy confusion of voices. In the keynote hall, the speaker has a spotlight tile to place their avatar on that will broadcast to everyone in the room, though an external Zoom link is being used for Botmock’s keynote room to ensure security and stability. You can see more about how Gather.Town will work for CxD Summit in the video above.

“[Y]ou’ll get to move your avatar around to talk to other people, join in the rooftop afterparty, follow along a virtual How-To-Make-Your-Own-Dalgana coffee during the coffee break,” the company explained. “[S]o it’s the closest a virtual conference can come to those IRL connections and casual hallway chats.”


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