Local tech startup connects worldwide delegates to AIDS 2020: Virtual

Photo by Anna Shvets© from Pexels

Flexiroam Africa, a Cape Town-based travel technology will be providing a connectivity solution for the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020: Virtual) taking place from 6-10 July 2020. What was set to be a physical event hosted by San Francisco and Oakland (USA), will become the first virtual edition of the International AIDS Conference as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The virtual conference will be attended by thousands worldwide including over 2000 scholarship recipients. AIDS 2020: Virtual will enable delegates to access and engage with the latest HIV science, advocacy, and knowledge traditionally presented at the conference. It will be a compelling combination of virtual sessions and community networking, including exhibitions, workshops, the Global Village and Youth Programme, satellites, and pre-conferences, that will reach audiences around the world.

AIDS 2020: Virtual will continue to shine a spotlight on this year’s host cities, San Francisco and Oakland, exploring the tale of these two cities through science, innovation and activism, while underscoring the Bay Area’s dedication to health equity in its “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiative.

AIDS 2020: Virtual is organised by the International AIDS Society (IAS). Their commitment to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing global health landscape and to persevere in the face of uncertainty is stronger than ever. The theme of this year’s conference is Resilience and there is no better word to describe the HIV community and their ability to come together in a shared commitment to the global HIV response.

Crossing borders digitally

The Geneva-based organisation, IAS, asked Flexiroam Africa to create a solution to close the global digital divide by providing online access to their scholarship recipients across the world. “It has been a privilege to be part of this landmark event and in the midst of the global pandemic, create a unique solution to power online access to the globally important AIDS2020: Virtual. Our teams in South Africa and Malaysia have worked tirelessly on this project and it has been a great example of what is now possible in the current era of increased digitalization. We are working across time zones with Flexiroam and the IAS teams in South Africa, Malaysia, Switzerland, and the United States and all of this has been online.

Our business was able to pivot during these unprecedented times and move from offering a global data roaming solution for travelers to connect people globally to a virtual conference. This opportunity was truly borne out of crisis and we are humbled by the trust and support shown to us by the IAS. There is a strong working relationship with our suppliers in Asia and together we’ve created this exciting and new connectivity solution,” said Jacqueline Aylett, CEO, and founder of Flexiroam Africa. To give scholarship delegates online access to conference events and sessions,

Flexiroam will provide unlimited mobile data during the five days of the conference. Not only will AIDS 2020: Virtual showcase the latest developments in HIV research, the affiliated Covid-19 conference will present brand-new data on the pandemic, its relation to HIV, and beyond. Additionally, Flexiroam Africa is providing smartphone devices from the IAS to those scholarship recipients requiring hardware support.

Conference delegates are presented with the Flexiroam SIM card via an ambitious global shipping initiative. Upon activation through the Flexiroam App, they will have unlimited data during the Conference while riding on Flexiroam’s network of partners. For more, go to www.aids2020.org

Source: www.bizcommunity.com


“The connectivity project had to be completed in only ten weeks. Even with the short
timeline, Jackie was determined to meet each deadline at every step. She demonstrated
incredible leadership in envisioning a project beyond the scope of any other entrepreneur or
organization our team met with to discuss the potential of this project. While others came up
with limited solutions, Jackie went above and beyond in finding creative solutions to
individually source and provide data packages in each of the different countries and
continents where our delegates needed access, including over 500 delegates from the
African continent.

While this particular project was created to provide connectivity for our delegates to
meaningfully participate in AIDS 2020: Virtual, this project has the potential to expand far
beyond its initial scope. Already, there has been an interest by other international institutions
who have lauded this project as an example of what future virtual events and organizations
must do in order to ensure equity and accessibility for the foreseeable future. Many
delegates who received data and/or mobile device packages from Flexiroam had zero or
very limited prior access to data. Now with access to this technology, these individuals have
the opportunity to continue to be connected digitally worldwide.

Jackie has been an invaluable partner and leader in helping us to pilot this incredibly
innovative project. Without her and her Flexiroam team, we would not have been able to
provide digital connectivity and accessibility to almost 1 000 delegates most in need of

Emily T Blitz
Director, Conferences
International AIDS Society