This summer, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg shared that his social networking company is positioning itself to become a “Metaverse company”. The announcement was met with both criticism and acclaim. Far more responded in bewilderment. What is the “metaverse” anyway? [This might help]
But the more observers uncovered, the more they realized that many of us already may be living somewhat in the metaverse– where the physical blends with the virtual. In short, the metaverse illustrates the next evolution of online experiences, where one becomes present inside the internet, rather than looking in from the outside.
This turn has huge implications for the event industry. We’ve seen examples already, where the opportunities created by the blending of the physical and the digital have created event experiences like nothing seen before– from the concert that was attended digitally 33 million times, to the first Metaverse Fashion Week, Comicon to retail events and more. For events, the impact is profound.
In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen more and more event companies turning in this direction– building avatars and developing metaverse-like experiences. In fact, I share two big funding rounds for companies doing just this– Rooom and Oddessy that have been announced this week. Big players such as Zoom and Facebook appear all in. The market for virtual and augmented reality is expected to boost the global economy up to US$1.5 trillion by 2030. Investors are piling on. In many ways, in Asia it appears that the merged digital future is now.
Just because there is big money behind it, does that mean it’s inevitable? And what does it do to our definition of “events”?
Outside the tech press, for the event industry at large, the craving to return to physical events seems to conflict somewhat with the metaverse dreams of Zuckerberg and others. As restrictions have lowered, the demand for in-person events is as strong as ever. In many cases, there’s just as big of an investment in the return to physical, as there is to digital. Despite sharing compelling immersive VR event experiences to clients, there remains a hesitation of many to jump entirely into this new virtual future. There remains a desire for the human element of the event experience, that no digital space can quite touch yet.
The metaverse is coming, but it remains up to event organizers to decide just how far off it is.
What do you think? When do you expect to be hosting events in the metaverse?
But now, here are my top reads from the week:
- Online events platform Delegate Connect gets $10M AUD led by AirTree [TechCrunch] Delegate Connect is another all-in-one online event platform to have raised funding this year. The company plans to grow it’s team to more than 100 by the end of December. Delegate Connect is based in Melbourne, Australia with offices in London and Norway.
- Rooom raises $7M for multifaceted 3D virtual events platform [VentureBeat] 3D world and immersive event platform Rooom has raised a new funding round to bring events closer to the “metaverse”. The German company integrates gamification elements into their virtual events platform, is known for bringing 200,000 virtual attendees to IFA in 2020. Rooom supports VR headsets but maintains that it best experienced through the browser as the company believes in “democratizing 3D to the widest possible audience”.
- New Game+ Launches Odyssey For Spatially Immersive And Engaging [Live Design] New Game+ has launched Odyssey, a 3-D and virtual immersive event experience with a look and feel that really stands out. Requiring no downloads, just a wi-fi connection, with cloud-based streaming, Odyssey stands out for its graphics and visual appearance. Participants explore with avatars, and are able to screencast, share documents, videos and presentations in the virtual world. It looks very innovative and immersive– the only challenge now is to get event organizers the courage to try these virtual worlds.
- Certain Launches Touchpoint Stream to Virtual and Hybrid Events [Martech Series] Certain, a event marketing and management solution has launched a new product to help event professionals deliver more interactive experiences for their virtual audiences. The “Touchpoint Stream” appears to be a content management system that allows attendees to access an event’s media and engage together before and during the event.
- 10 Platforms that are redefining virtual events solutions [PC Quest] With so many different product launches in the event technology industry over the past year, it can be difficult to keep up. PC Quest shares some of their picks of the platforms, including some we’ve never heard of before– including ExpoBurg (for Industrial Exhibitions) and Xporium, another virtual exhibition platform.
- Five9 Investors Told to Reject Zoom Acquisition [UC Today] Are things cooling down at Zoom? Zoom’s proposed acquisition takeover of Five9 has been called into question, as a key advisory firm has told Five9’s shareholders to reject the offer.
How to do it:
- Professional speaker secrets: How to give world-class virtual presentations [Zdnet] Even the most seasoned conference speaker has had to tailor their approach when it comes to effective virtual presentations. Longtime event industry and virtual event specialist Alfred Poor shares what it takes speak most effectively in a virtual setting.
- How to Boost the ROI of Your Next Virtual or Hybrid Event [Business 2 Community] Just how much marketing has changed since the beginning of the pandemic when it comes to online events is striking when we take our recent experience producing PIRATE Live earlier this month. There is more noise, and more distractions than ever before. To be effective, you’ll need to get started early and you can’t let your marketing activities end once your event begins. You’ll be marketing your production throughout it’s entire duration.
- How experiential marketers are navigating a new wave of COVID-19 cases [Digiday] Many event producers believed they would be back fully in person by this fall. However, outbreak infections have tempered the audience expectations for many events this autumn season. But it has also led to some incredible creativity when it comes to developing memorable experiences.
- 7 Ways to Create Serendipity for Virtual-Event Attendees [MeetingsNet] The loss of serendipity is one of the most cited reasons event organizers claim when describing the inefficiency of online events. However, by thinking ahead, organizers can create valuable opportunities for spontaneous connection.
Don’t Miss it:
- Is the future of online events in the metaverse? [Tech Radar] Expect “Metaverse” to be one of the key trends of the event industry– and beyond — in 2022. Its origins are much deeper though, dating back to the 1980s. This piece explores what’s on the horizon, and what it will take to get us there.
- EventBuilder misconfiguration exposes Microsoft event registrant data [Bleeping Computer] A massive data breach that leaves your attendees personal details accessible to all over the public internet = an event professional worst nightmare. But for some Microsoft EventBuilder users, this has been the reality for the past several months. A vulnerability with Microsoft’s software has left “hundreds of thousands of participants’ personal information potentially vulnerable on the public web. Microsoft fixed the software issue swiftly, however, not after thousands of records were plastered all over the internet.
- State of the event industry: the perspective of tech conference organizers and developers [JetBrains] A new survey and research project of event attendees and organizers shows some of the fundamental changes to the industry after the pandemic. As a surprise to no one– the industry has become more creative and interactive, in adjusting to change, and adopting digital solutions for the long term. Online media formats show a growing significance, and will continue long after it is safe to meet in person.
- Zoom Announces New VR Whiteboard, Translation Features [Gizmodo] I can’t really summarize better than author Florence Ion does here: “You’ll be able to take Zoom calls with avatars of your colleagues in your Facebook VR headset while the whole meeting is transcribed live.” Is this what we are looking for when it comes to the future of online events? Zoom calls are getting bigger and bigger, but does bigger = better here?
That’s all for this week’s edition of The Lookout! Speaking of getting back to physical– I’ll be taking a little digital detox next week for my vacation. So I’ll be taking a week break, and you can expect The Lookout to be back on October 8th. See you then!
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.
If you know someone who might be interested in reading The Lookout, please share it with them!
Until next Friday!