The global nature of the conference introduced many scheduling challenges.
The continuing pandemic again had an impact on the annual PAC World conferences, so instead of meeting in person in Glasgow in June 2021 and in Raleigh for the PAC World Americas conferences in August 2021 we decided to combine the two events into a single global virtual conference that was held 31 August – 1 September 2021.
The global nature of the conference introduced many scheduling challenges due to the participation of authors and attendees from all over the world, but at the same time created opportunities for many people that normally would not be able to travel to attend.
As a result, we received a large number of abstracts and the final program included 100 papers from more than 30 countries in all continents.
The conference program included 40 papers that were presented in eight 90-minute sessions, each including 5 live 15 minutes paper presentations, followed by a 15-minute questions and answers session. The sessions were recorded so they can be available for participants from countries in different time zones to see if they couldn’t watch the presentations of the papers live.
The traditional interactive poster session was replaced by interactive paper sessions in which the authors have prerecorded their presentations in 15 minutes slots and then had scheduled times for discussion with interested participants.
Another benefit of such a virtual conference is the ability for registered participants to access the recordings for four weeks following the end of the conference.
Based on the experience from last year with a platform that allows us to keep all the key features of the traditional face to face conferences but in the cloud, we used again the vFairs platform which supported a lobby, a virtual exhibition, networking lounge, live paper sessions and interactive poster session.
The papers covered a wide range of topics related to the evolution of the implementation of IEC 61850 in digital substations, the developments in electric power systems protection and control technologies, distribution automation and system integrity protection schemes. Several papers talked about various aspects of cyber security and the testing of PAC devices and systems.
As usual the traditional “Ask the experts” panel was an exciting 1.5-hour live session in the conference program. The interactive discussion gave again a wonderful opportunity to the participants from all over the world to address a wide range of questions submitted in advance or raised during the session.
During the breaks the participants visited the virtual exhibition and discussed with the vendors’ representatives the latest technology and its applications.