The Lookout #8: Flying clubs, panning mistakes, “the good, bad and the ugly”
Hey there, welcome back to a new edition of The Lookout! It’s been a huge week for the event world, opening with the splashy launch of the entirely online version of the Consumer Electronics Show. The virtual CES has pushed the boundaries of what is possible with online events, and opened up more eyes to their potential.
However, the week also saw the sad news announcing the cancellation of IMEX in Frankfurt, one of the most important events for the B2B event world. Last year, IMEX’s cancellation was a huge hit to the industry, but they successfully pivoted to an online event– with some really important learnings (see more here Interview: How Imex CEO Carina Bauer moved two global exhibitions online). I have no doubt that they’ll be able to create something special online in the meantime.
Even though the event industry has been hit hard by coronavirus, I’m so impressed to see how the sector is pulling together to slow the pandemic. In Germany and in the UK, event venues are assisting with vaccination efforts. With any hope the virus will be slowed soon.
With being said, let’s have a look into what happened this week!
Online event takeaway of the week: Tech check? Sound check.
I couldn’t believe my ears this week while attending a hotly anticipated, and very much hyped event for online event professionals. As I settled down for the keynote, and as the speakers took the stage, something was off. One of the speakers’ volumes was slightly more quiet than the other, but there was something else. What was that? A slight ringing? An echo? As I listened closer it hit me: the audio panning was reversed. The right channel was broadcasting through the left channel and vice versa. The sound made the content nearly impossible to understand. And it seemed like the organizers had no idea.
Panning mistakes can be easily overlooked, especially when utilizing a studio setup. Make sure it’s something you check for in your sound checks, and that you’re aware of what a reversed pan sounds like. Poor sound quality is one of the biggest reasons for audience drop off and it’s an easy thing to fix if you do it beforehand. Be sure to have personnel on video and audio for each of your streams, at all times.
Impressions from CES:
When one of the world’s most important trade shows moves online, it is worth a bit extra attention. We’ve been following the event this week, and there are a ton of takeaways for organizers here. Visually, the studio setup looks incredible (behind the scenes peek here) and it appears to be something many online event organizers will aspire to.
Last year, the CES had over 170,000 in person attendees and over 4,000 exhibitors.
In the digital version, Exhibitor numbers are down to 1,800 so I’m not sure if it was a failure to communicate the value proposition here or what, because potentially the numbers of exhibitors in the online environment is not nearly as constrained as it is for a physical venue.
However, for those exhibitors that have signed up it appears that they’ve received even more focus on their launches due to less competition. Exhibitors are treated to some very nice feature pages, that can be shared publicly online, for those that are not attending the event itself.
And something that many online event organizers can relate to is that it seems like the tech hasn’t always run particularly smoothly. Not sure if the cases I’ve seen on social media are representative, or if the faults are down to the user, rather than the organizer. But in any case, if there’s a mistake, it’s the organizer ultimately that takes responsibility.
Overall it’s been fascinating to watch how this event has pivoted into digital, it’s really set the bar for many fairs and tradeshows in 2021. But just how have they recreated the afterparty atmosphere at CES? When things move online, the sky is really the limit, literally, for the event’s “virtual floating club” (How one CES 2021 party is moving to a virtual floating club: CNet).
- UK event booking platform Feast It bags £1.7M funding, witnesses growth in virtual events (UK Tech News): Feast It, one of the UK’s leading event booking marketplaces has raised a new round of investment to support their growth in digital, the article further details some of the latest funding rounds in #eventtech.
- Airmeet – interaktive Plattform für virtuelle Events, Messen & Co.(MICEstens Digital): Airmeet is becoming an incredibly popular alternative to Zoom, especially in the European Market. MICEstens Digital takes an inside look.
- Panasonic will help create immersive entertainment spectacles in Illuminariums (VentureBeat): Announced at CES, a completely new virtual reality experience, without goggles for live events and experiences. Laser projection will take attendees to unique locations, digitally.
- 8 Innovative New Tech Tools You Should Know About This Month (BizBash): We really love this regular segment from BizBash on some of the latest in the growing landscape of Event tech tools on the market. Something for everyone here.
Not to be missed:
- 3 Thesen, warum Corona für die Eventbranche ein Segen war (Xing): In this take, Dominik Deubner shares how Covid was a blessing in disguise for the event industry, requiring the entire sector to improve their product offering and their value for attendees, sponsors and exhibitors.
- Event Pros Share Their Visions for a Biden Presidential Inauguration (BizBash): One of the world’s most viewed live events goes largely virtual in 2021, and this take from some of the leading lights in the event industry suggest how you can bring a little sparkle to your online events this year.
- The Origins of Video-Chat Voice (The New Yorker): Why do we hate the sound of ourselves on video calls? And what event organizers can do to prepare speakers for maximum sound quality.
- Can Art Basel Survive Without the Parties? (BizBash): One of the world’s most beloved events for the movers and shakers of the art world, an inside look on how organizers will recreate the social aspect in an online setting.
- 6 Tips to Make Virtual Events a Success in the New Year and Beyond (Martech Series): Some excellent tips to keep in mind when planning out events for 2021, don’t miss those tiny details when it comes to pulling off a polished virtual event.
- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Conferences and Meetings World): The shift to online events highlights a lot of compelling benefits for organizations, but it’s important to avoid the pitfalls. Opinion piece by Event expert Angie Harms.
That’s it for this edition of The Lookout!
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 remote, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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Thanks for reading!