Zoom: Bull in the China Shop or Elephant in the Room of Virtual Events?
In May, Zoom quietly announced their own All-in-one Event platform was coming. At the time of the announcement, at the cusp of summer, many event professionals were not thinking of online events. Instead, we were looking excitedly to moving towards the return of physical events, the easing of restrictions, and hopefully the lessening of the pandemic. The announcement didn’t make quite the splash that it might have, as it was accompanied by a sea of other eventtech news, from new acquisitions by Hopin, to big raises by players such as Hubilo, Bizzabo and Cvent. Zoom’s tease was more of a whisper.
But the announcement this week that Zoom’s All-in-one platform was here– and already available for those with enterprise plans — has hit altogether quite differently.
This week, Zoom also announced a new apps feature, bringing over 50 top apps into your Zoom calls and webinars. It’s a smart feature, and something we’ve continually advocated for our events– to keep your attendees in one place.
We’ve all seen the VC money rolling into event technology and video conferencing solutions over the past year. We knew the competition in this space was on, but this week, it seems like the dial has been turned to 11.
What does this mean for event organizers? For us, watching these new announcements is not a spectator sport. The great movement and innovation in this space has resulted in massive changes in the capability for the events we produce. Things are only going to get better for online event participants and attendees. And organizers get more choice than ever before.
While the competition between the platforms continues, I can’t wait to see where it goes.
To that point– there was a lot more in the news than just Zoom this week. Now, on to the week’s top reads!
It’s a big week for Zoom:
- Zoom buys cloud call centre company Five9 for almost $15bn [Financial Times] Zoom is betting billions when it comes to the continuation of working from home with it’s new acquisition of Five9, a cloud contact center. The purchase will help enhance offerings for enterprise clients and is Zoom’s biggest acquisition deal to date.
- Zoom Is in Talks to Invest in Cvent Blank-Check Deal [Bloomberg] Fresh off the launch of Zoom Events, information has leaked that Zoom is in discussions to bring event management software Cvent public. While details are limited at this time, Zoom’s investment could value Cvent at more than $5b.
- Zoom announces general availability of Zoom Apps and its new virtual events platform [ZDNet] As of this week, Zoom’s all in one online events platform Zoom Events has been made available to the wider public. The platform allows users to build an event hub, share events and customize ticketing and registration. There will be a public directory and are integrated with a user’s existing Zoom meetings or Video Webinar license.
- Zoom: Use apps like Asana and Dropbox and schedule virtual events now [CNET] Zoom Apps brings apps into your Zoom call with just one click — including popular favorites such as Asana, Dropbox Spaces and SurveyMonkey. The company plans to add more apps to its App ecosystem. Important to note– Zoom Apps is different from Zoom’s marketplace (1,500 available integrations). Zoom Apps brings apps into Zoom– whereas the marketplace brings Zoom into other apps.
- 11 Online Event Marketing Platforms to Jumpstart Your Event Marketing [PIRATEx] With the growth of online events and the busier by the day of your attendee’s calendars, how to make your event stand out? One of these event marketing tools might be the right choice. Here we take a deep dive into 11 of the top tools from our Eventtech Tools Directory.
- Hopin launches free plan – an interview with Anthony Kennada [Conference and Meetings World] Hopin launches a freemium plan for users to help bring more event hosts to the app.
- Nunify Expands Its Virtual Event Management Platform, With Hybrid Event & Event App Capabilities [Business Wire] Eventtech platform nunify adds integrations to facilitate hybrid events.
- CS Disco, Kaltura Have Impressive IPO Debuts [Barrons] Eventtech company Kaltura goes public, with opening shares closing at 20% of it’s offer price upon launch. This puts the video cloud platform at a $1.5 billion valuation. I’ll admit, Kaltura was a bit under the radar for us. But they have some big clients, including IBM, Dropbox and SAP– and claim to be more stable than Zoom or Microsoft Teams. We’ll be having a look.
- EventX Raises US$10M, Forms Strategic Alliance With HTC VIVE To Redefine Virtual Event [Pageone] Eventtech company EventX raises a $10m Series B funding and announces a new partnership with HTC to expand their VR capabilities. The platform is one of Asia’s most dominant virtual events venues, and serves an impressive roster of clients, from Alibaba to Reed Exhibitions. The company also offers virtual and hybrid event support in China. Here’s another company you might want to put on your radar.
- Trade Show Leaders Debate ‘Who Owns the Data’? [Trade Show News] Data ownership when it comes to online events is in many cases, untested territory. This online panel discussed some of the thorny issues when it comes to handling participant data.
- SEC introduces new sustainability focused food strategy [Conference News] After months of virtual events, events returning in person are now more than ever focused on their environmental impact. No where is more focused than Glasgow’s SEC, which is hosting the upcoming COP26. Event professionals returning to physical events should learn from this example to develop their own strategy for food and beverages at their event.
- Virtual Events Expend 40x Less Carbon Emissions Than On-Site Events, According To New 6Connex Sustainability Study [PR Newswire] Following our discussion last week on the carbon impact of our events, here comes a new study by eventtech platform 6Connex, putting that impact into data. If you are looking for some data that you can use to convince your clients about the impact of online events, here is a great study that breaks down the details.
- The Diversity In Events Awards [Conference News] Event industry group Diversity Ally launches a new diversity awards, to take place in 2022. Applications from event organizers and service providers of all kinds can be submitted to highlight achievements in making their events more accessible and conscious.
- How global conferences are using tech to stay in business [BBC] Really nice in-depth piece on how events have moved online, with some great personal anecdotes and touches. The top names in the industry are not just using tech to stay in business, but to amplify it, and will continue to do so after the return of physical events.
Don’t Miss it:
- It’s time to restore data governance and security to the event tech agenda [Maddyness] Really relevant piece here for us event professionals concerning the security and data governance of our online events. Policy hasn’t kept up pace here with the transition to online events, and some platforms (you know who you are) have obscured how data is handled. It’s not ok, and should be a prime consideration when it comes to choosing your tech provider.
- 5 Secrets to Fix Your Lackluster Virtual Trade Show [Trade Show News] Building impressive online trade shows is one of the most compelling topics in the events industry today– especially as many exhibitors and sponsors look for more out of virtual events. One of the most important things organizers can do is design exhibitions that really create opportunities for engagement and building strong connections. Here’s some top tips to help bring more engagement to your event.
- Is Remote Networking Here To Stay? [Forbes] How to stand out and network effectively during an online event? It’s not as straightforward as networking in person, but it’s possible to make valuable connections in an online environment. Here are some top suggestions you can share with attendees at your virtual events, as well as make more effective use of in your own space.
Thanks for checking out The Lookout this week!
Let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to remote, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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The Lookout Newsletter #34
PIRATEx Managing Director