Human beings need meaningful social interactions. Especially these days - those interactions are extremely limited due to the restrictions to meet friends, families and to attend events. We are building Veertly (link - a virtual meetup platform facilitated by a video conferencing system. We want to allow anyone to engage with their communities on topics that matter to them without the physical limitation of being in the same place.
Instead of focussing on the video streaming part, the core of our solution is about the networking experience where attendees of meetups, virtual events and conferences or even virtual theatres and concerts have the opportunity to meaningfully engage with other attendees and build relationships.
What it does
After the official part of the event (i.e. keynote speeches and presentations), people are used to network and mingle with others in the physical world. In fact, networking is the #1 reason for people to attend such events. We are mimicking this networking experience to the digital space by creating a virtual area where attendees can interact with other participants through a video call, join topic rooms and build meaningful relationships!
How I built it
We built a react application on top of the Google firebase database. As video conferencing tool for the networking sessions, we are leveraging the open-source project Jitsi. For the live stream of the presentations and keynote speeches, the organizers can choose whether they want to use Jitsi as well or want to embed their Youtube live stream.
Challenges I ran into
As always during hackathons and for startups in general, it's very challenging to balance the workload and to prioritize. We have had some technology-related challenges, eg. users who have left the event still showed up in the list of online attendees, but we were able to fix all of these issues.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
It's amazing that we have a stable version of the website live with all of the core functionalities and that we have been able to test it with Hackathon attendees and other people! The feedback and the interest from both event organizers and participants are fantastic and it's very obvious that the demand for this solution is huge!
What I learned
We have learned a lot about the needs and requirements of event hosts, what attendees value the most when attending virtual events and about the importance of an intuitive user experience. We have also learned a lot about the technical integration of existing video-conferencing tools for the live stream within the Veertly platform.
What's next for Veertly
On Thursday (30 April 2020 from 12-2pm) we will host a lunch together on our Veertly platform to elevate human interaction during the Corona pandemic. It might be 'Europe's largest virtual networking lunch' and the fantastic Event MC and TedX speaker Dan Ram will be the host. We are looking forward to seeing many hackathon attendees to use this opportunity to network with others. More information can be found here: https://veertly.com/lunch/