There are two ways for software to support conferencing.
One is to assist in-person conferences with organizing, recording, livestreaming, remote participation, and post-event follow-up. Many of the needs conference organizers have are the same needs educators organizing lectures or courses have, and of course academics organize conferences too. So there's scope for partnerships with educational institutions to develop app/ services/ shared components that could be used in both of these contexts. I started gathering a list of free code tools that could be helpful for this here:
The other one is to allow realtime conferences to happen entirely over the net. In the Loomio group for the Open Source / Open Society conference, I suggested:
> If it looks like there's just no way to put on an in-person event, what about experimenting with a web-based conference? A conference server (or a federation of a number of them) could be assembled, with a range of communication and collaboration tools running under one domain name, and one set of login credentials. For example speakers could be introduced and give their talks via an instance of Jitsi Meet/ Videobridge, outputting to a webcasting system for participants to watch, and with a system for them to submit questions in plain text for Q&A. Collaborative notes could be taken on an Etherpad, as they were (I think) last year. These tools could be used before the event to collaboratively plan the themes, book the speakers, and confirm a timetable. After the event any burning discussions could continue there, as well as the beginning the process of planning the next one.
Again, tools useful for this could also be useful in remote education (extramural students, webinars, MOOCs, open lectures etc), so there's scope for partnerships with the OER (Open Educational Resources) movement on apps/ services/ component re-use. I'm particularly thinking of the OER Foundation, who are strong champions of educators using tools that respect software freedoms.