Chittak Virtual Expo Integration Case Study: Whitehall Media Ltd
The Project Brief
Whitehall Media are a leading producer of strategic enterprise-level technology events for business, industry and government across the UK, Europe, Asia and the UAE. They deliver high quality, content-focused conference programmes that address high level strategic issues within the market places in which they operate.
With conferences aimed to develop, showcase and promote innovation, Whitehall Media faced a rapid transition to ‘going virtual’ as a result of the global pandemic in 2020, when physical events became an impossibility due to the restrictions on enforced physical/social contact and travel.
They opted to use two already established systems:
These systems would enable Whitehall Media to streamline the human interface process and reduce the risk of costly and time consuming errors from manual data entry and cross referencing. They would also deliver a GDP compliant solution. But, although both systems have web APIs, they don’t possess any native connection, apart from a manual CSV file export/import process.
Whitehall Media had a tightly packed schedule of single and multiday events planned for 2020, it was highly critical to implement a cohesive and operationally seamless system in readiness for the return to an appetite for such events, albeit virtually. The first virtual event was planned for September 2020, closely followed by a packed programme of subsequent events, spanning into Spring 2021.
Whitehall Media were referred to Chittak through a mutual connection.
Initial discussions established that out of the three possible routes to bespoke API integration (SOAP, Web Hooks and REST) the REST Early Adopter API would be the most suitable for their use.
The initial solution was delivered meeting the tight critical timeframe for the first virtual Expo event. Subsequently further improvements to the system have been rolled out rapidly to handle additional requirements.
The net result of this 24/7 solution enables the automated synchronising of Cvent Event Attendees to be assigned to the correct 6connex Expo event.
Several thousand delegates have been processed within the first 4 months of operation, the manual process replacement has boosted efficiency and productivity for Whitehall Media and delivered an operationally sound and reliable system for its end users.
Expos enabled by this solution so far:
- Identity Management Europe Virtual Summit 15/09/2020
- Enterprise Cyber Security (ECS) Virtual Summit 22/09/2020
- Government IT Security (Govsec) Virtual Summit 23/09/2020
- Enterprise Security and Risk Management (ESRM) UK Virtual Summit 03/11/2020
- Identity Management (IDM) UK Virtual Summit 04/11/2020
- Big Data Analytics (BDA) UK Virtual Summit 05/11/2020
- Public Sector Enterprise ICT (PSEICT) Virtual Summit 24/11/2020
- Enterprise Digital Workplace (EDW) UK Virtual Summit 25/11/2020
Future Events: https://whitehallmedia.co.uk/future-events/
- BDA Europe 9thMarch 2021
- ESRM 23rdMarch 2021
- Govsec 18thMay 2021
Dive Deeper into the Technical Solution
Due to the initial short turnaround time needed (5/6 weeks) the first major version fully pulled data for each event. This was subsequently improved to data pulls getting only data created/modified in the latest timeframe e.g., 1 hour.
- 20 min cron schedule, with script timing benchmarks.
- Cvent event <> 6connex expo linkage match.
- Check to only process if valid e.g., present day or future.
- Cvent data filtered to match condition > Confirmed state in this case.
- Data processed > tested if exists already in 6connex.
- If true > update 6connex user registration.
- If false > create new 6connex user account.
- Summary data for email to client.
Main Tech Used:
- PHP, REST API Services, cURL, JSON, Postman, Rapid Prototyping with HTML, jQuery, AJAX, CSS, cPanel Linux, Apache, cron, email.
- Security restrictions relative Static IP restrictions and situational PHP $_SERVER env var challenging.
- GDPR for Whitehall solution means no database storage in integration server so knowledge of attendees is only temporary.
- API token testing and refreshing as required.
- Manual debug run mode to output effective data processed as HTML that the cron mode runs through.
Trevor Clarke, MD of Chittak comments
“This type of API integration offers benefits to other event management companies looking to take their offering online and have it work efficiently and productively. It may take considerable time for delegates to return confidently to physical events, it would seem prudent to implement a system where virtual and face to face events can work seamlessly alongside each other.
The system Chittak has created here using Cvent and 6connex can be expanded to include further endpoints and connect up to other events and Expo APIs. Watch this space!”
Sarah Briggs, Event Manager at Whitehall Media
“Trevor has just finished an integration for us under high time pressures. We were converting live events to online and had to act fast to integrate Cvent with a new platform 6connex. He was efficient methodical and great value. There are few companies offering this service I would definitely recommend his services and I will continue to work with him going forward. No hesitation to recommend.”