A technical challenge we loved – Old Mutual Personal Finance Kickstart 2022

Our recent hybrid event for Old Mutual Personal Finance was a big success, albeit one of the more technically challenging events we have recently managed. The relationship with Old Mutual began more than 15 years ago, and over the years we have built up a solid amount of mutual trust.

As the world is slowly starting to move back to the new normal, it is still a novelty for co-working teams to attend a real-world company event. We sometimes forget how important it is to share a coffee and spend a few quality minutes catching up with co-workers before an event.

And this was exactly what the Personal Finance team at Old Mutual had in mind when they briefed us on this event, dubbed “Kickstart 2022” – create two identical real-world event settings with 120 members in attendance in Cape Town and an equal number in Johannesburg – held at the Sandton Convention Centre and the Cape Town International Convention Centre respectively. The challenge was the introduction of a live online audience, far higher in head count.

Setting up a full duplex communication system between two cities is not that hard if you know what you are doing, but also linking it to a completely separate online audience management system requires skill and expertise. At the heart of the challenge lies the concept of latency – in other words the time lag experienced when communicating between different locations and different platforms. It can quickly turn into something reminiscent of a badly dubbed movie where the lip synch is out of time!

Neil Zaayman, Chief Operating Officer at Kilowatt explains: “An event like this requires really good teamwork, much like a Formula One racing team – you need a good car design, a reliable and fast engine, a great driver, to name just a few of the elements. It’s only when all these elements work productively and efficiently together, that you have a winning team. We controlled the entire event from Cape Town and had close to 20 crew at this location. Apart from all the obvious back-stage roles you expect at a live event, we also had to rely on a best-of-breed communication system so the studio teams in each city could talk to each other in real-time, whilst also managing the online audience on the same system. Due to the latency issues you are always bound to have with a hybrid event, we had two separate sound engineers to manage studio and online inputs respectively. And just to make sure everybody was on their toes, the live panel discussion had members in Cape Town and Johannesburg, contributing as if everybody was in the same room, added to the challenge of real-time online audience participation. This added a layer of complexity not often seen at events of this size. Faultless tech and back-stage delivery and keen participation from all attendees ensured this event was a big success.”

If you want to talk about what Kilowatt can do for your next event, whether in our Connect Studios, an in-person event, or a hybrid event like this one, please drop me a line. 

– Neil Zaayman
Chief Operating Officer
Cell: 072 412 9927
Email: [email protected]


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