Silent Seminars at COP26

The UN climate change conference COP26 took place in Glasgow at the beginning of November 2021. A record number of delegates gathered and were joined by world leaders and campaigners across the spectrum. The conference took place under tight Covid restrictions yet with the need to meet, listen and be heard as strong as ever.

Silent Seminars, the wireless headsets and technical services for the conference, exhibition and live events industries, were awarded the contract to provide headset systems for a number of presentations in the main exhibition hall.

Duncan Strain, director of Silent Seminars, describes the process of how the contract came about and what delivering the technology entailed.

The Issue

In the middle of September 2021 Silent Seminars (Silent Noize sister company) were approached by an agency seeking a reliable supplier of multiple headset systems for a number of corporate presentations at a large exhibition space. The agency were initially looking for some information on capacities and capabilities of the Silent Seminar headset systems as well as a client portfolio.

Following the response, the contract was awarded to Silent Seminars and upon the signing of a non- disclosure agreement, the team discovered that the headsets were required for COP26 taking place in Glasgow, just three weeks later. There was little more detail at that stage: the key dates, logistics and running orders were still unspecified.

The Approach

In the event, there was in excess of 80 pavilions within the exhibition hall, all with varying size seminar rooms hosting talks, of which 27 open-plan theatres required headsets. The challenge presented to Silent Seminars was to deliver clear audio in these theatres without any conflicting noise bleed.

In the days leading up to the event, the brief and requirements changed constantly, something the Silent Seminars team had to react to on a daily basis.

Five days prior to the event opening, the Silent Seminars technical team was on site to oversee the rigging, installation and to support rehearsals for using the headsets. This included advice on sanitising the headsets after every use in order to minimise the spread of infection. Silent Seminar technicians remained on hand throughout the two week live event to oversee the project and to manage and implement any developments.

Further challenges arose throughout the course of the event. For example, high profile speakers appeared without any publicity, resulting in spikes in demand for headsets. Overall, 700 pairs of headsets were available from 8am to 10pm, daily. Throughout the course of the 14 day event, Silent Seminars were able to deliver their technical expertise and crisp, clear audio to approximately 10,000 delegates.

The Result

Feedback from the client was that Silent Seminars were a “pleasure to work with”. The audio was a success for the delegates and all the pavilion holders who were able to ensure their public speakers were able to clearly share their messages with the audience.

We would like to express our sincere thanks for your valuable collaboration at COP26.” – Orientations


Silent Seminars was appointed by and Identity Group   as an official contractor for event delivery at COP26.