The Lookout #11: Hopin's new app, a February forest, aid for events and some VR
Welcome back to The Lookout! I hope you’re having a great week– we’ve made it through January and we’re here in February already. Things have surely moved quickly in the beginning of the year. On the horizon for the events industry, there’s a lot of hope for the return to physical events sometime this year. But as we check off days on the calendar, that “sometime” seems to get pushed farther and further back.
But we’re not pinning our hopes on “sometime”. While we may miss the return of our in-person events, OMClub and PIRATE Summit, we’re looking ahead, and forward to the many online productions we’re working on this year. We’ve been testing out quite a lot of tech, evaluating alternative platforms and working with new partners. There’s still a few things I’d like to see when it comes to event platforms, but it’s been amazing to witness the growth and the capabilities of these platforms in just the past year. What results is a better attendee, sponsor and speaker experience, and we can’t wait to see what’s next in store.
The Latest on Event Tech:
This week, a few new announcements from the platforms that may be of interest. First, video conferencing app Whereby has announced they are growing a forest for February. The company hopes to plant up to one million trees this month, up to 1 million. All you have to do is host a free online video meeting on the app, and for every three meetings, they’ll plant a tree.
On Wednesday, Hopin launched their new mobile app. The app is designed to bridge the gap between attendees at live in person events and those who are attending virtually. It allows both types of attendees to connect and engage with the app in real time, as the event is happening. It’s an exciting launch that will bring some major benefits to the hybrid event space. The app will go live at the end of February.
Facebook launches a play for a greater piece of the online event space. The company has created a new “Classes” feature, which will let hosts produce online classes and live events with less than 5 minutes of setup. The feature is only available in the UK right now, but anyone worldwide can attend a class.
Microsoft is going in on VR. Back in 2017, Microsoft acquired AltspaceVR, one of the first immersive social interaction platforms. Now, they’ve announced integration with existing user Microsoft accounts, potentially opening up an entirely new frontier for online events and gatherings in VR. We’ve been experimenting with the potential of VR immersive environments for our client events, so it’s really compelling to see where Microsoft is going here.
State of the Industry:
- Messewirtschaft: Mut zur hybriden Messe [Süddeutsche Zeitung] Is there a future for tradeshows? This opinion suggests maybe it’s time for some to cut their losses.
- EVVC Präsidentin Ilona Jarabek blickt zuversichtlich in die Zukunft [Event Partner] The President of the European Association of Event Centers sees 2021 as an opportunity for growth through crisis, even though it will be tough.
- Will live in-person events like the Olympics come back in 2021? [Quartz] The Olympics are coming back, but other large events are going virtual in 2021.
- Aid packages aimed at shoring up the Events industry are being expanded in The Netherlands and in Scotland.
- Support and recovery package substantially expanded [Government of NL]
- Further details announced for Scotland’s Event Industry Support Fund 2 [Exhibition News]
- Networking and engagement major challenges with virtual events: report [Campaign Asia]
- Viagogo must sell StubHub’s non-US business [Event Industry News]
- Virtual Event Marketing: How Content Generates Buzz and Leads [Skyword]
- Making the Most of a Virtual Event [SMT007 Magazine]
- Gaming und Events: Match or no match? [Event Partner]
- Robin Raskin Is Changing Virtual Events [Grit Daily]
- Tobacco Dock launches as fully immersive virtual event and conference space [ConferenceNews]
- Finding the way forward for Virtual Events [Third Sector]
- Best Virtual Speaker Kits: The Video & Lighting Edit! [Endless Events]
- 3 Ways To Inspire Engagement At Virtual Events [Forbes]
- Spice up your virtual events for networking success, says Somersault Agency [Cambridge Independent]
- The tech that is making events work harder for business as we move back from virtual to physical [Bit]
- Deaf people face unique challenges as pandemic drags on [The Verge]
Online event takeaway of the week: Event organizers — let your exhibitors shine!
I was really surprised last week taking in an online event to find so many unstaffed exhibitor booths, as well as those with poor digital media. Some of the videos were outdated, or the links to pdf brochures were broken. Really? Organizers, exhibitors are some of your most important clientele. Don’t throw them to the wolves. Check everything beforehand, and coach your exhibitors on how to make the best of their online experience. Don’t take it for granted that they’ll “figure it out” on their own. If your exhibitors are making the most of your online venue, it will ensure that everyone gets the most out of their time at your event. Check out our blog for more here.
That’s it for this edition of The Lookout! See you next week with lots more from the wonderful world of events.