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December 3, 2014

Event Tech: Microsoft Launches New Real-Time Polling Platform

The event tech industry is getting a bit more competitive: Microsoft has announced the worldwide availability of Bing Pulse 2.0, a new self-service beta version of its Bing Pulse real-time voting platform that allows instant audience feedback—both on-location and remote. 

“Anybody can get online, log in and set up meeting they can pulse,” Josh Gottheimer, general manager, advertising and strategy at Microsoft, told International Meetings Review. Accessible from PC, iOS and Android devices, event attendees (or even casual observers) can see questions pop up on a screen and vote on their answer. Over the past two years, Bing Pulse has managed 35 million votes for events ranging from small auditorium conversations hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative to two of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses on Fox News. Most recently, Bing Pulse was adopted by CBS News for its program on the 50th anniversary of the US Civil Rights Act and has been integrated into CNN’s election coverage. The platform can allow multiple votes from a handful of attendees sitting around a boardroom or viewers of TV programs. 

“No one else can handle millions of simultaneous votes,” Gottheimer said. While other apps and programs can ask questions and tally answers, he does not know of any that let participants vote on questions every few seconds. “We built new technology to be able to handle it and to show results,” he said. “It’s not just Q&A. This is instant.”

By clicking a mouse or tapping a screen, audiences can let speakers know if they “agree” or “disagree” with the content being presented as often as every five seconds. 

With as many as 90 percent of event attendees having smartphones and similar devices, Gottheimer believes participation will be easy. More importantly, it will allow people to share opinions that they may not feel comfortable saying out loud. “If you get a significant portion of attendees to do that, it can be game-changing,” he said. “It will influence the conversations they’re having.”

Beyond that, the program’s voting platform “effectively incites people to pay attention and react to the programming, meeting or conference,” Gottheimer said. “Plus, event producers are immediately tuned in to their audiences and can quickly execute real-time adjustments to the programming, increasing viewer engagement and interest.”

How it Works

Bing Pulse 2.0 beta has a flexible producer dashboard that puts the event organizers in control of the experience by allowing them to set up, customize and control the event – and keep their audience engaged via a simultaneous second screen experience on their mobile devices. This includes allowing the audience to provide sentiment feedback during the event through the “pulsing” function. Event organizers can also use the “polling” function to ask their audience questions specific to the presentation at any time. The new Bing Pulse 2.0 also allows the event producer to customize the look-and-feel of the user experience, including integration of the producer’s social media handles. The producer also has the ability to share audience results in real-time by displaying them live on in-room or on-air screens or integrating them into video feeds. Producers can also hold back audience responses, allowing them to analyze the results and share insights later.

The benefits of Bing Pulse 2.0 beta include:

• Voting or “Pulsing”: Live, continuous sentiment voting or “pulsing” as often as every five seconds, with instant tracking of the results

• Polling: Live polling of audience, with immediate results

• Data Visualization: Real-time graphic display of results for Pulses 

• Scalability: No limit on number of participants

• Mobile ubiquity: Participants can vote from any device using any browser

• Website embedding: Embed as an iFrame into event web page

• Privacy: Anonymous voting with no data tracking

• Easy-to-use: Set up a Pulse in a matter of minutes

• Flexible scheduling: Ability to pre-schedule a Pulse to go live at any time

• Content development: Allows event producers to shift the discussion based on viewer feedback, allowing for a more in-depth and engaged program

• Reporting: Instantaneous results can be shown on screen through live graphics integration or curated to circulate afterwards

For more information, visit http://pulse.bing.com.

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About the Author: Jena Tesse Fox

Jena Tesse Fox





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