Metaverse events in 2022: our takeaways
If you’re looking for a good metaphor for the events industry in 2022, you’ll try hard to find a better example than this week’s Samsung Unpacked. Samsung’s regular flagship event brought their audience to the metaverse for an experience some have called, “rushed and incomplete” and plagued with “tech troubles”. Frustrated attendees took to Twitter venting over payment processing hiccups, and difficulties finding the virtual venue inside the metaverse platform itself.
Samsung’s events tend to be polished and professional affairs. I last wrote about Samsung’s online events after the last Unpacked in August 2021, where I pointed out some of that event’s standout features– from the international voices presenting the company’s global identity to building a connection with viewers by putting the brand’s own employees on stage. The slick presentation of continual movement, compelling graphics, and bright colors was visually appealing, keeping viewers tuned in to the show. Most importantly, the show didn’t detract from the products on offer. It was a great presentation, but if I hadn’t written about it then, I doubt it would have made a lasting impression. That result might have been preferable to what happened when Samsung welcomed users into 837X, their virtual world inside the Decentraland metaverse.
Or would it?
Despite the difficulties experienced by some at Samsung’s event, it was a media bonanza, generating considerable buzz before and after the event. And Samsung didn’t ditch the winning formula from their previous all virtual event (they still put on a great video production), the metaverse was an extra bonus. It encourages me to think about what we can learn from this event. Here are some of my takeaways about metaverse events:
- Don’t panic. The metaverse is not replacing the physical and virtual events we’ve come to familiarize ourselves with anytime soon. For now, metaverse events will complement, rather than compete with more established event types.
- Your first event won’t be perfect. Don’t set too high expectations initially for metaverse events. Instead, take the time to learn and explore.
- Don’t consider the metaverse as a place to host your physical event, digitally. It’s not a replacement for “reality”. Instead, build a unique concept that harnesses this new venue’s strengths. Metaverse events are something new where you can get creative.
- Even though big business is being done in the metaverse, for many, the metaverse is not yet a “serious” place. Use that to your advantage. Consider crafting experiences that incorporate play and creative elements to give participants a new type of experience with your organization. Those a great ideas for metaverse events.
- Metaverse events are great for generating media attention (especially if you ascribe to the “all news is good news” philosophy).
- The metaverse is not ready for everyone. There are some big questions to work out when it comes to safety and harassment in the metaverse right now. Don’t jump in unknowingly. Familiarize yourself with the downsides of these platforms.
- The amount of money that’s been invested (and lost) in the metaverse indicates that metaverse environments will be a feature of the future. It’s time to start exploring these spaces and beginning to learn about what type of experiences can be created there.
There’s still a lot to learn when it comes to metaverse platforms, technologies and use cases. PIRATEx will soon be bringing out a new series of metaverse events to give you a taste of the metaverse, so stay tuned!
Here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week:
The events industry:
- Event providers worldwide frustrated by lack of progress on reopening [CBC, NL Times] Canadian event suppliers push the government for answers and relief, and in the Netherlands, the event sector plans to open up on March 11, 2022, with or without government approval to do so.
- Messen im März 2022: geplant, verschoben, abgesagt [AUMA] 28 trade fairs are planned for next month in Germany, down from 63 originally scheduled. 17 events were canceled entirely and 21 were postponed. Eastern Germany is particularly impacted by the cancellations, as the Leipzig Book Fair, Manga-Comic-Con, Leipzig reads and the Antiquarian Bookfair announced their cancellations this week, with no online activities.
- Mobile World Congress hopes for bigger bash as Spain eases restrictions [Reuters] The prevailing narrative looming over last year’s MWC was the pullout of major sponsors right before the event went ahead. This year, the mood is many times brighter as the event looks to attract 50,000 visitors to Barcelona later this month. Sponsors Samsung and Huawei will be returning in person, joining 1,500 registered exhibitors.
- Messe Frankfurt “fights for survival” [FNP] Fair organizer Messe Frankfurt is struggling after continued cancellations and the departure of several shows recently to Berlin. A loan of 150million euros provided to Messe Frankfurt by its shareholders in 2021 aimed at financing the venue “well into 2022” may soon be running out, encouraging operators to mull another 200m loan for continued survival.
- Virtual events platform Airmeet lands $35M [VentureBeat] All in one virtual event platform Airmeet raises $35 million in its latest investment round. The company, founded just before the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic has seen explosive growth. In 2021, 120,000 event organizers streamed 150 million minutes of video airtime on the platform.
- SXSW Selects Grip as the Event Technology Partner for Its First In-Person Event Since 2019 [Martech Series] Austin event chooses Grip as their technology partner for their return to in-person events this year. This year’s SXSW event is reinvented and Grip was chosen in an effort to help build connections between exhibitors, sponsors and attendees online and offline.
- Events Software Startup Swoogo Lures Bain Capital Investment [Dot.la] Swoogo, a digital event management solution has just raised $20million in growth funding to expand into a full scale solution for hybrid and virtual events.
- New Event Tech Tools for February 2022 [BizBash] BizBash’s regular roundup on event technology focuses on some new innovations this month, including event marketing platform Splash’s new Splash Studio, transforming the company into an “all in one” event technology provider, as well as the launch of Expo by Zoom events, allowing Zoom event customers to quickly launch virtual exhibitions.
- Ticketpass Partners with What3Words [Access All Areas] Focusing on summer’s return to physical events, ethical event ticketing company Ticketpass connects with placemaker What3Words to help visitors navigate physical venues with ease. The solution will help users orient themselves in large halls and can guide attendees to very specific points and locations using What3Words mapping system.
- Pitti Filati steps into metaverse with digital product production [Fashion United] Italian trade fair producers Pitti Filati turn to the metaverse to create digital product presentations for their exhibitors. Their new venture, Pitti Studios shows a unique adaptation to the hybrid fair model with a particularly beautiful result.
- World of Concrete Safety and Sustainability Efforts [BizBash] Last year’s World of Concrete was the first show to return to Las Vegas after the onset of the pandemic. At the time, some felt the move was premature and coincided with increased rates of local Covid infections. The event returned this year with new safety measures including indoor masks for everyone, increased air circulation and cleaning frequency.
- Together in Electric Dreams [Access All Areas] When Lucid Creates’ event business was hit by the pandemic, they decided to make lemonade out of lemons. The company pivoted to focus on building large-scale visual art concepts and installations that are now catching the attention of a new category of clients.
Don’t miss it:
- Industry Survey Finds Greater Certainty Despite Omicron [MeetingsNet] Most recent report by Meeting Professionals International finds that event planners and suppliers are more optimistic about the future of in-person events than at any time before the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. 75% feel hopeful about the return to live events in 2022, however, 60% report difficulty in finding qualified event staff.
- Million-Dollar Question For Event Industry: Is Virtual A Permanent Disruption? [Publishing Insider] This opinion piece features a conversation with Joel Davis of JD events on the resumption of physical tradeshows after Covid. He argues there is no support for the theory that virtual events have disrupted the traditional, in-person trade fair model.
- ‘Going virtual’ sees international conference cut carbon emissions by 425 tons [EurekAlert!] One of the first peer-reviewed studies on the environmental impact of online events is out and it is astounding. The switch to virtual events during the pandemic has made an incredible impact on the carbon emissions of international conferences. The biggest figure to cutting carbon? Attendees international air travel.
That’s all for this edition of The Lookout! If you’re looking for some more great content, don’t miss the PIRATEx Event Resources Hub. If you’d like to be featured there, just reach out!
In the meantime, 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 online, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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Until next Friday!
The Lookout Newsletter #55
PIRATEx Managing Director