An exciting end to the project
Thursday 21 January – the time had finally come for the last TMaaS conference that marked the end of an exciting process that had lasted more than three years. Due to the current health crisis, the event had to take a virtual format, but that did not spoil the fun. Suzanne Hendrikse, TMaaS communications manager, takes a look back at this successful day with great satisfaction.
Suzanne Hendrikse: “The starters’ orders for the conference were given by the Ghent Alderman for Mobility, Public Space and Urban Planning, Filip Watteeuw. This was followed by a series of short presentations by TMaaS team members and TMaaS Replicator Cities of the insights acquired from the project and a debate moderated by Jean-Paul Judson. The turnout was a success with about 70 committed participants. There was also a zone where companies were able to set up a virtual stand in the form of a movie for instance. One great aspect of all of this was that two other UIA projects also took part. The Hungarian city of Szeged promoted its SASMob project and CitiCap from Lahti, Finland, was also present.”
Despite its virtual nature, everyone agreed that the event really felt like a conference. Suzanne Hendrikse: “We created a simulation of a conference that was as close to the real thing as possible. There was also a lobby where participants could chat and do some networking between activities – a very important aspect of these types of events. To be specific, we worked with a networking carousel with video calls. Participants were given two minutes to discover their partner with whom they were connected at random, and to get to know them a little better. You could look at it like a speed date.”
The activities themselves went smoothly and generated a great deal of interest from the participants. Suzanne Hendrikse: “The audience came up with a lot of questions during the presentation. This demonstrates the intense level of involvement. The panel discussion with five participants was also very popular. During this conversation we organised two polls, during which we fired questions at the audience in order to get their opinion. This created some excellent interaction. To conclude, Iraklis Stamos of UIA took the floor. He emphasised the high-quality collaboration and left the door open for potential collaborative ventures with the city of Ghent in the future. Finally, anyone who wanted could go back to the lobby to watch the mini documentary we made about TMaaS. Despite the virtual nature of the event, we noticed that most of the attendees stayed online for the duration. That is very satisfying for the organisers so, at the end of the day, we feel quite confident in saying that it was a great end to the project! ”