In-Person Trade Fairs are Back but Everyone Stays on Zoom!
It’s now been a month since in-person events and trade fairs have received the go-ahead in all German states, and everywhere you look, it seems something is happening.
Things feel decidedly differently, and it’s not just the weather (or the election). The renewed optimism from many of the large event organizers and the fairs going forward is infectious—but thanks to safety protocols, the spread is largely of positivity, not pandemic.
While the events industry has sought a return to in-person, the digital turn for many other aspects of our work lives looks increasingly permanent. The efficiency and speed of digital in many cases continues to challenge the claims by those so eager to return to in-person, who speak of the magic of handshakes and “spontaneity”.
We see it in our calendars populated by Zoom meetings and in offices that are much quieter than before. Efficiency remains high, and in some cases, higher than ever– even as we are physically farther apart.
For the tech industry, the future of work appears decidedly digital. At last month’s “Zoomtopia” user conference, the streaming giant announced a slew of new features– including integrations with Facebook’s Oculus VR and Horizon Workspace. The offerings increasingly combine external events with the workplace, blurring the boundaries between events as a “destination” and those designed for maximum efficiency.
It remains to be seen how these systemic changes in work practices will coincide with the event industry’s return to in-person events. For event organizers, especially those in the B2B space, it feels that we are at a critical juncture. But we are not passive actors here. We have even more opportunities than ever before to craft a future that augments the best of this changing world.
Here are some of the key innovations and changes that have taken place this week:
The Events Industry:
- How a Bet on Virtual Events Is Paying Off for TechCrunch [AdWeek] Technology publisher TechCrunch turned to virtual events during the pandemic and has continued to lean into their digital strategy as live events reopen. The move has been a considerable success for the media company, and smart collaborations with advertisers and sponsors (such as specific targeting of attendees and data sharing) have created a sophisticated revenue stream for both TechCrunch and their partners.
- Hands-On: Tokyo Game Show’s VR App Is A Tiny But Important Step For Virtual Events [Upload VR] With many games industry events continuing to go digital these days, Tokyo’s decides to go a bit deeper– into VR. While the reception remains mixed for large-scale VR events these days, it’s an important foray into the future– of which VR will remain a big part.
- How Zoom’s New Events Platform Helped Its Annual Conference Go Virtual [BizBash] This year’s Zoomtopia event gave many an initial taste of Zoom’s new event technology suite– as well as a look into the future for the video conferencing company. The investments by Zoom into the event space and their collaborations over the last few months have been dizzying and expansive. While it might be early for 2022 predictions– I expect Zoom to be bigger than ever before.
- London’s Dice raises $122M at a $400M valuation for its intelligent event discovery and booking platform [TechCrunch] WIth much of the focus on investments in virtual event solutions over the last year– investor interest in live event technology has not abated. Dice, a London company focused on event discovery and attendance raises a significant funding round, designed to help the company scale across the pond to North America.
- LinkedIn Testing Paid Online Events as Potential New Moneymaker [Bloomberg] Many got their first taste of Linkedin’s own event platform recently, and the company is piloting a rollout of paid events for certain users. Monetized events on Linkedin could be a gamechanger for the company, which would create a new revenue stream for the professional social network.
- Event technology: calls for transparency of pricing structures [Conference News] Conference news takes on the tough task of pressing for more transparency when it comes to eventtech pricing. Hidden costs and ambiguous pricing structures have proliferated in the eventtech space just as quickly as new providers have sprung up! While it is impossible to harmonize offerings across the industry, greater transparency and openness is needed for organizers– many who are caught out with unexpected fees at exactly the wrong time.
- Sparkup to introduce platform for virtual events at CABSAT [Broadcast Prome] French event tech startup Sparkup announces Sparkup Now — a real-time video mosaic of virtual event participants. This is a unique offering that many eventtech companies are looking to corner the market on right now.
- Bizzabo Looks to the Future with New Event Experience Category and Event Experience Operating System [PR Newswire] Bizzabo announces a fully revamped Event Experience Operating system, built from scratch for the new era of hybrid events. The long-time industry management software declares “event management technology” has outlived its relevance, thus it’s time for a completely new offering.
How to do it:
- 6 Tips for Planning a Hybrid Corporate Retreat [BizBash] There’s no need to join all in person for a successful corporate retreat. By getting creative digitally, focusing on content and all-important swag– you can bring an effective hybrid experience to your target audience.
- 3 Tips to Ensure Your Emcee Is Funny, not Foul [Meetings Net] I’ve attended a ton of virtual events over the past year or so, and I can definitely recall more than one that sticks out because of the cringe-worthiness of the host [There’s one magician I don’t think I’ll ever forget!] Don’t make the mistake of hosting your event with the wrong person. Most important? Developing a strong familiarity between the emcee and your organization.
- Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Working With Speakers [Associations Now] Good compendium of resources for working with speakers especially at online events– how to prepare them properly and what to keep in mind while presenting effectively in a digital or hybrid environment.
Don’t Miss it:
- How Little Cinema, Veritmatrix Launched Secure Virtual-Theater Events [Variety] The entertainment industry is just one of many that turned to virtual events during the pandemic. However, thanks to the success of streaming services over lockdown, it looks like they are here to stay, with in-person event producers creating innovative remote experiences for premieres and fan events that bring audiences closer to the action than ever before.
- Untersuchung: Virtuelle Ausstellungen senken CO2-Emissionen um 99 % [Open PR] Yet another report highlighting the environmental benefits of online events– which remains a highly significant rationale for continuing to invest in robust virtual solutions for bringing participants together.
That’s all for this week’s edition of The Lookout! It’s a pleasure to return to the office (and this newsletter) after a week of complete digital detox. It was long overdue.
With the amount of change and disruption to the event industry since the beginning of the pandemic, it has really felt impossible to get away. Just sifting through the many developments that happen each week to put this newsletter together highlights how much the industry continues to change and how important it is to keep up. I thank you for reading and following along.
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, in-person or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
If you know someone who might be interested in reading The Lookout, please share it with them!
Until next Friday!
The Lookout Newsletter #44
PIRATEx Managing Director