In September 2019, a committee of seven researchers decided to take a leadership role in implementing a virtual conference, creating the Photonics Online Meetup. The inaugural POM was held on January 13th 2020, and was entirely free for everyone. Over 1000 researchers gathered simultaneously online for the first POM, attending the five-hour-long conference either alone from their personal computers or at their institution from hubs distributed across five continents and many time zones.
This is the map of the hubs and participation in the first edition of POM.
We summarised what we learnt from this initial experience in the following publication: