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Live from the editor’s dining table

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As I write this I’ve just finished moderating my final conference session of the year at Seatrade Maritime Middle East Virtual. With myself in Singapore, speakers in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, some bleary-eyed colleagues in the UK running the show, and an audience of hundreds across the Middle East and Asia, the hour long live discussion on supply chain resilience did not require me to even leave my apartment.

It would be easy to dismiss 2020 as a year to forget, but that would be failing to recognise the many exciting new projects I have been involved with, albeit almost entirely while sat at the dining table in my home.

More: Digitalisation paves the way for future global port eco-system

In the years prior to the 2020 pandemic I had become increasingly aware that could do a large portion of my job from anywhere – office, a hotel function room, home – for much it involving web publishing and network of correspondents across the globe the only absolutely necessary requirements were - a chair, a laptop, a phone and a good internet connection.

However, it had never occurred to me that I could actually do all of it without ever moving from my apartment, and new de facto work desk – the dining table. But that is exactly what I have been able to do this year. Not only that,but also in many cases be involved in entirely new experiences in the world of virtual events.

In late March I spoke to the largest audience of my career over 1,000 in a webinar on the Legal and Market impacts of Covid-19. Amazingly it seems now it was my first ever webinar moderating experience and as it happened introduced me to the joys of talking to world live from my dining table.

More: COVID-19 Markets and legal impacts webinar available for replay

Over the following nine months I’ve moderated a host of webinars, including parts of a Digital Maritime Week and live “fireside chat” on digitalisation with an audience of more than 700. Another webinar had speakers, including myself, on three continents across 13 hours in terms of timezone differences, all moderated from my dining table.

More: The Next Wave of Digitalisation in Shipping

I have also found myself able to attend conferences I would not normally be to attend such as Crew Connect Europe, and was still able to present at Crew Connect Global, despite the inability to travel.

I even attended a ship naming virtually.

More: So, I attended a virtual ship naming ceremony…

In another new experience for 2020 Seatrade Maritime has started running podcasts including a series focusing on Hong Kong, all recorded without the editor leaving his dining table in Singapore.

Podcast series - Hong Kong Focus

The virtual world has provided not only a way both for Seatrade Maritime to stay connected with its audience in 2020, but also new methods of doing this, and bringing together people who might not normally be able to meet and participate in such events..

While there is undoubtably some fatigue around Zoom calls and webinars, it has opened a whole range of possibilities in terms of virtual and hybrid events in 2021 and beyond, bringing together both speakers and audiences that would not have been possible at purely in person events due the pressures of travel schedules and budgets.

I look forward to seeing you either digitally, or hopefully in some cases, in person in 2021 as we further explore what the world of online and hybrid events to stay connected.

Marcus Hand, editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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