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When the first cases of Covid-19 started to pop up, no one knew exactly how much it would actually change our lives. From March 2020 on, the world’s population was forced to stay in their homes in order to avoid spreading the Coronavirus. Many industries suffered severely, that being the case for the event industry. Due to lockdown measures, big gatherings were canceled for months to come. This forced businesses to adapt to a new reality, among these companies was the newly founded Breakout Technologies Inc.
Brian, Robert and April knew each other from rubbing shoulders working in the event industry. Brian had been making software solutions for association meetings since 2009. He is the creator of the LaunchPad presentation management system and has handled hundreds of thousands of presentations at conferences of all kinds. Robert Woods had worked in the event industry for 18 years before starting his own AV company in 2014, Production Innovations. April Dela Vega used to work in different membership associations and had her fair share of experience working events as well. So when their clients started asking around for digital and remote solutions for associations’ events during the Pandemic, they decided to work together and create a company that would solve these problems.
In Robert’s words, “All three partners worked in live events and our business was pretty intensely impacted by Covid. Initially, we were all just kind of riding the wave of Covid and trying to figure things out. But with time, our clients ended up coming to us after they’ve been trying out different hybrid platforms and finding they don’t work for our industry. And they started approaching us looking if we knew somebody or if we had a solution to this problem. So that's what actually ended up driving us to start the company during Covid and start developing the platform to service our existing client base.”
Robert, April and Brian got to know App Masters through a mutual friend called Manuel Pineault. He was working on their BetterPoster software when they asked him to help develop the Breakout platform. The project grew and with that the need to have a bigger team of developers. Manuel referred App Masters whom he had worked previously on other projects and had a very good relationship. “When Breakout Technologies first reached out to us with such a complex project we didn’t know exactly how we were going to build this software each step of the way, but we knew we were going to make it work. It’s how we do things here at App Masters, we find a way” said Tiago Gouvêa, App Masters’ founders.
Robert, April and Brian had a solid idea of what they wanted the Breakout software to be like and it was App Masters’ top priority to write down every detail they had in mind. Shortly after understanding what was necessary to build a proof of concept, the team of programmers got busy with work. At first, Breakout founders were a little hesitant about hiring a developing company from Brazil. Robert highlights the main concern as a barrier to understanding their industry. “Those fears were resolved very quickly because not only did App Masters understand our industry and what we're trying to achieve, but they would present solutions to problems that we hadn't even thought of yet. They were getting ahead and anticipating future needs based on their understanding of our industry. And that was really impressive”, told Robert.
Initially, before gaining Breakout’s trust, App Masters was hired for a strict amount of hours just to develop a prototype of what was going to become the Breakout platform. After many tests, App Masters rapidly delivered a Proof of Concept in less than 100 hours of development. This version was much more primitive than the application today, but it still contained many of the app’s important features like chat, Q&A, video streaming, and event schedule. Breakout Technologies was thrilled about what App Masters had accomplished in such little time and it gave them the confidence to continue the project. “What was initially gonna be just a few small projects to see how it all worked out, ended up becoming a full-fledged partnership.”, told Robert Woods.
After 6 months of intense work, the Breakout platform was ready to be tested with a real client and was first launched in November of 2021 for the AIChE Annual Meeting. This event had 4.278 speakers divided into 64 rooms simultaneously over the course of 5 days. Ever since then, the Breakout platform hasn’t stopped growing, with constant updates and added new features. With every new client, the platform is adapted to the event’s needs, meaning that the application gets more and more robust each time. So far App Masters and Breakout managed to handle 10 events successfully by July 2022, with many more to come.
Today, Robert, April and Brian are delighted with how the platform has turned out so far, receiving many appraisals from investors and clients. After working with App Masters for more than a year it’s safe to say that this business partnership has also turned into a friendship. Their confidence in App Masters is translated in the great feedback they always give us and recently, in the renewal of Breakout’s development contract for 3 more years.
In simple lines, the Breakout platform is an application built to attend to the needs of scientific conferences and events, especially when it comes to allowing attendees to participate in events remotely through digital means. This software offers live streaming and recording solutions as well as an on-demand video repository where presentations can be watched from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. These solutions are seamlessly integrated into one intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows members to navigate through recorded sessions, watch live presentations, host Q&As, connect with participants, browse uploaded content, and much more.
BreakoutStream is a powerful streaming and recording tool that allows participants to watch presentations and interact in real-time with each other using the comment, chat and Q&A features. The event’s schedule is presented on the platform organized by time, date, title and description. Presentations can be bookmarked for in-browser notifications when they are about to start. The streaming solution offers reliable high-quality video and audio that can be viewed anywhere in the world. During streaming, the application automatically transcribes and closed captions the speaker’s audio to deliver accessibility. This data is later indexed in the presentation´s metadata, allowing for breakout’s smart search engine to sort through data according to the relevance of content. Its advanced recordings infrastructure ensures that recordings are delivered within days of capturing. The presentations’ videos are later displayed on the Breakout Content Library for post-event consumption.
Behind the interface of the BreakoutStream lays the admin panel, a tool that helps coordinate events’ streaming and pages. Accessible only to Breakout’s staff and the event’s organizers, the admin panel allows one to keep track of the event’s stats and monitor rooms live through audio and video. But perhaps one of the most interesting features is a clipping tool that allows technicians to set in and out markers on the recorded presentations. This acts as a video editing tool, that helps the Breakout team deliver all the recorded presentations clipped within days.
Breakout Content Library is a user-friendly platform that displays recorded presentations and other content neatly organized in a Netflix-like manner. It allows for the audience to easily browse from anywhere in the world, all the content generated throughout the event. It also contains a pay-per-view feature that can be turned on if requested by the event’s organization.
Lastly, Better Paper is a digital poster solution for scientific publications. Its intuitive interface allows one to create an e-Paper and invite more authors to collaborate. The digital poster is showcased on the Breakout platform and on the event’s on-site 4k displays.
Breakout is a company that offers digital solutions to membership associations’ events. These include software, project management, and A/V support - such as Digital Posters, Hybrid Meeting Platform, and Recording & Streaming Services. Based in North Carolina and founded in 2020, Breakout is one of the leading companies in its niche.
Vitor Ferraz is a content producer from Curitiba who graduated in Advertising from the Federal University of Parana. He has lived in the USA and Canada and is now App Masters' Head of Marketing. Loves technology and new ideas. Photographer as a hobby. Enjoys good music and good food. He aspires to be a filmmaker one day.
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