Loma Creates a ‘Digital Landscape’ for the National Science Foundation

EXPO 2020 breaks new ground with a world-class virtual event featuring 41 unique digital environments.

In challenging times, innovation matters. Ask Matt Damon. As ‘The Martian,’ he’s stranded alone on the Angry Red Planet with but one way to survive: “I’m gonna have to science the s@#$ out of this!”

That’s the formula being employed by 40+ teams featuring America’s finest scientific minds as they tackle two “Big Ideas” (Harnessing Big Data and Advancing the Future of Work) in a revolutionary National Science Foundation program.

“The NSF Convergence Accelerator is a first in government,” says Office Head Douglas Maughan. “We’re taking the results of basic research and moving them quickly into practice, so American citizens can benefit as they are developed and used.”

How quickly? Just nine months after inception, the program’s first “Cohort” was ready to showcase new technologies and concepts at a major live event. However, the script suddenly changed. The world was hit with a global pandemic, and ‘in-person’ became out of bounds.

“We wanted to create a ‘digital landscape’ where teams and viewers could connect virtually from anywhere in the world,” added Maughan.  “They would present, pitch, connect and chat live, in real time.”

The solution? Enter Loma Media, and an immersive virtual experience.  A ‘digital expo’ that would use ‘edge’ technology to showcase innovative technologies.

We began by designing a uniquely branded microsite, with navigation supporting the EXPO’s every requirement.  To ensure everyone could participate without the stress of firewall blockers and the need for third-party platform applications, we employed a unique combination of technologies to embed a completely customized solution powered by Zoom.  This meant that each team (of up to 10 members from all across the country) would have the flexibility of presenting and engaging live via video, while viewers could selectively enter and engage in any of the 41 team “booths.”

Creating a seamless user journey was of prime importance.  The solution needed to enable quick, clean interaction from all audience members globally via both chat and phone bridge, while still maintaining a highly secure environment. On July 1, EXPO 2020 went live–with outstanding results.

“We were hoping for a home run,” said Maughan. “We hit a grand slam. In just 4 weeks, Loma created, executed and managed a world-class virtual event that tripled projected attendance.”

Attendees from 25 nations can agree: EXPO 2020 scienced the ‘stuff’ out of it.