How the USO became a veteran at hosting virtual events

Microsoft Teams, Verizon, and Facebook have played important roles.

When people think of United Service Organizations (USO), they think of Bob Hope, who features the best-presented programs, comedy series, and sporting events in American entertainment.

In the nearly two decades since Hope’s death, USO has continued a portion of its website dedicated to his legacy, but by 2020 it will have written a new page in the organization’s history with a new commitment to virtual events. Involvement includes helping veterans transition from military to civilian, assisting the military, producing educational content for military children, or developing their well-known legacy from their current concert series. Previously, it contained music. superstars Clint Black, Florida Georgia Line, and Ne-Yo.

“When the pandemic broke out, we weren’t trying to be perfect. We said, ‘Let’s do something about it,'” said Christopher Plamp, USO senior vice president. No? “When we try new technology platforms, and at some point in the beginning, we try something new every week. Our mission hasn’t changed, now we only do it in the virtual world.”

Use virtual world technology

The first USO platform used for virtual collaboration was Microsoft Teams, but it was implemented before the COVID outbreak and is rarely used.

Then COVID attacked.

“We were an operations center with national and international offices,” “In some parts of our organization, our IT department felt we should be using [Teams] for a collaborative environment. Only after ideas are moved from our offices in Germany, Japan and Italy will Microsoft Teams accelerate the way we use today.

The implementation of Microsoft Teams laid the foundation for the implementation of global internal communications, where team members were able to present new ideas, strategies, and tactics. Many of the most popular awareness campaigns come from USO’s international offices, making using Microsoft Teams even more important.

Now that Microsoft Teams has reached its full potential, USO has been able to reach its Facebook audience of over one million. “Whatever we do or say, we can eliminate it quickly and on a large scale,” Plamp said.

To host the legendary entertainment program, USO partnered with Verizon’s multimedia platform to combine the content into a combination of life and pre-recorded interviews and shows, along with special VIP interactions with the military and their families.

To implement the deep interaction and the underlying USE support, they turned to Zoom as soon as they understood the protocol and safety and security issues. Thanks to Zoom, military families can stay connected without missing important moments like births, graduations, weddings, and everything in between.

Two newer platforms used with a high return on investment are the Twitch gaming platform, which offers interactive video playback experiences, and Discord, a VoIP, instant messaging, and digital distribution platform designed to build communities. Non-voting users communicate via text messages, video calls, voice calls, multimedia content, and files in private chats or as part of communities called “servers”.

LinkedIn is also used prominently for veterans returning to the civic world in search of work. It is now common for USO to broadcast simultaneously on four or five different channels.

“We have a complete talent and broadcast schedule,” We didn’t have it until March.”

Make a gap for vets and “moms”

One of the positive aspects of the transition to the virtual world is that it has enabled a great expansion of USO’s resources and services for veterans who have left the armed forces. Along with the growing use of LinkedIn, career coaching and networking through Zoom have made coaching and training services even more effective.

In addition to veterans doing the job, USO continues to help families and the military (known as the ‘thousand women’), but with a real twist in 2020. A virtual Easter egg hunt was a welcome relief. Since the launch of COVID in the spring, additional features are available, such as birthday paintings of princesses and tools for parents and homeschooling. Many of these initiatives were launched abroad, as in Italy, and cooperation from Microsoft Teams was requested.

“We have everything from individual events to broadcasting Bill Nye in classrooms around the world to communicate with more than 2,200 students,” said Plamp. “We have so many new programming options that we are going to keep for a long time.”

Looking for entertainment

USO is known for its entertainment and does not disappoint in its transition to the virtual world. The three summer shows featuring Clint Black, Florida Georgia Line, and Ne-Yo used Verizon’s media platform and were all slightly different.

The Florida Georgia Line event, held in a home studio, combined footage from previous performances with interviews with the duo for a more personalized experience. The fourth meeting with R&B star Ne-Yo was a pre-recorded show in his studio with a question and answer session during the performance, along with surprising pop-ins from the music star to the fans. your.

“We walked a lot and learned along the way,” said Plamp. “Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but we find out what works, what works, doubles, and even triples.” Our entire team worked together and learned from the beginning. They built tremendous confidence in each success and it shows the value we add to our military and their families.

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