Helping host organizations pivot their gatherings to hybrid or broadcast-only events, the Houston First Corp., the city's destination management organization that operates the George R. Brown Convention Center, has debuted the Avenida Houston Virtual Studio at the center, a permanent broadcast facility able to host both digital and hybrid events.
The 5,250-square-foot studio enables event organizers to incorporate any number of presenters, with or without an audience. Individual presenters can be integrated from anywhere, and small groups, such as panelists or audiences, can be included from another studio or multiple live locations. Online, direct-feed and satellite broadcast modalities are available. Planners can expect all levels of support from the convention center, including standalone studio expertise for broadcast-only events to full meetings support including IT, hotel bookings, food-and-beverage service, airport transfers for speakers, parking and more.
The virtual studio is one of the HFC’s efforts to respond to 2020's challenges to the meetings industry. To maintain the health and safety of meetings participants, the HFC has launched several initiatives:
• In early September, the George R. Brown Convention Center will deploy the Integrated Viral Protection system, which will include three mobile units in the new studio. Houston-based IVP's biodefense-filtration technology eliminates Covid-causing SARS-CoV-2 (99.999 percent), anthrax spores (99.8 percent) and other airborne contaminants through a heated filter without impacting the temperature of the ambient air.
• Houston First recently installed thermal scanners at all 15 entrances of the GRB Convention Center. An additional 15 devices will be installed at entrances across the remaining HFC-owned event facilities in the city.
• Electrostatic sprayers that can clean up to 54,000 square feet of surface area per hour are now in use at the convention center. The GRB has 20 EMist 360 electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, which will be employed at the end of each day to sanitize all common areas as well as any meeting rooms used during events. An additional eight sprayers will be available for use in the HFC-owned venues in the theater district.