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Meeting Virtually at the Orange County Convention Center: Academy 2020

Throughout its rich 37-year history, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) has gained a reputation for excellence and innovation. Driven by a team of experts, the Center continues to adapt to emerging needs, expectations and technologies to benefit conventions, trade shows and events.

With the current climate placing extraordinary pressure on the industry, the Center is ushering in a new era of innovation by offering state-of-the-art technology solutions to continue Meeting Safely Today for a Stronger Tomorrow, the foundation of the OCCC’s new advertising campaign.

Academy 2020 at Home Presented by the American Academy of Optometry

In October, the OCCC welcomed the Academy 2020 At Home virtual conference, presented by the American Academy of Optometry (AAO).

Offering a custom virtual solution, the Center provided a safe and controlled space for AAO leadership to host a seamless virtual experience for more than 6,400 industry professionals from 55 countries for a series of comprehensive educational seminars and workshops.

Academy 2020 at Home Banner


Pivoting to a Virtual Event at the OCCC

Initially slated as an in-person event, AAO adopted a virtual format for its flagship annual event in response to open and transparent communications with its attendees and exhibitors.

Headquartered in Orlando, AAO selected the OCCC to host its industry-leading virtual conference following its record-breaking year at the Center and because of its familiarity with the OCCC’s exceedingly high service and facility standards.

“We chose the Convention Center because of our longstanding partnership, its standing in the community and the industry, and for what it could provide for our team to be safe and socially distanced, yet provide a great experience for more than 6,400 attendees,” said AAO Chief Executive Officer Peter Scott, MBA, CAE, APR.

American Academy of Optometry 2020 convention Sign outside the OCCC West BuildingAAO 2019 had a record-setting year at the OCCC, attracting more than 8,120 attendees. 


Connectivity Considerations

Acknowledging adequate tech, high-speed internet and connectivity as the backbone for high-quality virtual experiences, AAO identified the OCCC as a leading venue to host its first virtual event in its 98-year history.

Nearing completion on a project that triples wireless coverage throughout its facility, the Center offers extended reliability, redundancy and connectivity via its exclusive on-site internet partner, Smart City. Boasting 2,700 access points, this extensive upgrade is the unsung hero in powering successful virtual experiences, and played an essential role in connecting AAO with its audience.

Smart City graphicBoasting 2,700 access points, Smart City’s extensive upgrade is the backbone of successful virtual and hybrid meetings at The Center of Hospitality. 


Maintaining a Safe and Controlled Bubble

AAO leaders established a safe, controlled bubble for seven key leaders throughout the duration of the event that was hosted from the OCCC’s cutting-edge Destination Lounge.

With more than 7,000 square-feet of multi-functional networking space, this state-of-the-art venue offered every convenience required for a robust virtual event command center, from high-tech solutions, to contemporary surroundings.

Additionally, with the event stretching across more than two weeks, leaders extended their commitment to safety by remaining at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, connected to the OCCC by way of pedestrian bridge, throughout the duration of the event.

The measures taken at the Hyatt, coupled with the precautions implemented at the OCCC, allowed group members to meet safely and confidently each day, without risk of disruption to their carefully controlled and organized bubble.

OCCC Destination loungeComplete with video walls, LED display systems and intuitive lighting, this high-tech room offers a sophisticated meeting headquarters for virtual and hybrid events. 

OCCC Executive Studio

Offering greater flexibility, interactivity and connectivity, the OCCC’s Executive Studio paves the way for smarter, safer meetings at The Center of Hospitality.

Representing the latest component of the OCCC’s Meeting Safely campaign, the Center is offering innovative technological solutions to help move the industry forward.

If you are interested in hosting your next virtual or hybrid event at the OCCC, please submit a Request for Proposal (RFP), or get in touch with our expert sales team by emailing





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Orange County Convention Center

P.O. Box 691509

Orlando, FL 32869-1509

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