How hybrid platforms are the future of the events industry in the GCC.
As the Covid-19 raged, digital and/or hybrid event platforms have been the focus of much attention. Launched in July 2020, Eve is one such platform with the particularity of coming in immersive 3D. CEO & Founder Mohammed Tayem, a serial entrepreneur from Jordan, discusses Eve, the events industry in the GCC, and where it's headed in the new year.
Where do you position yourself within the event ecosystem and how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
We launched Eve as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Basically, when we designed the platform, we thought of building a full event environment with all the touchpoints, but virtually. What differentiates Eve today is the strong knowledge of the product designers who built the platform with 3D environments and technology integration to cater to all the needs of both event organizers and attendees. Our 3D platform can help the organizer control the stage and the backstage from the platform itself, which no other platform across the globe is offering. Eve is fully integrated with an e-commerce back end that allows the exhibitors to display and sell within the platform, without leaving the environment.
How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted your business? What did you learn from this experience and what measures have you put in place to address these changes?
Covid-19 was a game-changer for us. Eve was born during the pandemic as a response to keep people connected and help them execute their events while they are sitting at home. Also, Eve was a response to this pandemic to spread hope, create a new era for the event industry, and replicate the success of hybrid media by taking hybrid events into the future. From the moment we launched Eve back in July 2020, we saw an immediate positive response from the industry for the virtual platform and an acceptance of the fact that the events industry is changing forever. Our region has a big focus on the events industry which plays a major role in the GDP of GCC countries as these big events attract millions of visitors every year and generate millions of dollars in return as well as international publicity that comes with the events. So, accepting the fact that our audiences on the international and local levels are willing to accept the new direction was astounding.
The industry is increasingly realizing that customers prefer hybrid events, with some physical elements, rather than full digital events. How are you addressing this insight?
As mentioned earlier, we have seen in this region many big conferences with big production around them; so, the audiences are expecting to see and experience exceptional things when they attend the events. The fact that hybrid will continue to be the future of our event industry is the new driver of all our activities. I take an example from our partner agency Entourage; they developed a hybrid model for the international conferences of G20, whereby a full studio set up was built in Riyadh and the same was simulated on Eve as a full 3D virtual environment. So, the people present physically and virtually were living the same experience.
How do you see the event industry going next and what major trends can you foresee?
Looking back at the past around 2010, when digital advertising slightly started taking budgets from offline advertising, no one expected such a massive shift in digital advertising vs offline advertising behavior. I think we will be living another shift, but this time in the events industry. This is just the tip of the iceberg. By 2022 we will see more hybrid events. But I believe the virtual events industry will grow rapidly, especially as there is a lot more that can be done virtually than physically, as it is more cost-effective with a much bigger reach. But that doesn’t mean that people will change their behavior completely and stop organizing big events, because this industry in specific is based on human interaction as one of the most powerful marketing tools.