Human nature has always been designed to adapt to changing events in the environment. The advancement in technology has allowed the human race to adapt more quickly than ever. With the current ongoing pandemic, many of the conferences and events which have been scheduled for the coming months, have all come to a standstill. But some have been quick to adapt and utilize live streaming technology to host virtual events. Microsoft’s Build developer event and the Adobe Summit are just a few examples.
By basic definition, a virtual event is an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment rather than a physical location. There are different subsets under virtual events but the one that’s been most popular among brands and corporations is the virtual conference format. These conferences are conducted by hosting a virtual lobby where attendees can choose sessions and streams to attend by various thought leaders. For brands that have events scheduled for later this year and are still pondering on whether to postpone the event or host it virtually, Communicate has listed down the pros and cons in order to get a better understanding of how the format works.
- Cost-effective – A brick and mortar event comes with a wide range of costs and expenses the host has to account for, such as food and beverages, accommodations for speakers, venue insurance, etc. Virtual events literally cut all these costs out of the picture. The only costs the host has to consider is finding a suitable platform that is able to host all the attendees, ensure seamless network communications, speakers and entry fees.
- Scalable – Physical venues tend to pose a limit as to the number of people they can accommodate. Virtual events enable you to scale and host even more people for a fraction of the cost.
- Accessible – Purchasing an entry fee for an online conference enables users to revisit the portal with the same login details and rewatch some of the sessions later on. It also gives a chance for attendees to catch other interesting sessions which they might’ve initially missed.
- Precise Data – Virtual events help organizers acquire insightful data from the attendees without the need to email a post-event survey. The data acquired can help organizers fine-tune the content of the event for future editions.
- No wardrobe stress – Depending on the conference, one would have to decide whether to go fully formal or semi-formal. With virtual events, no need to think twice, kick back in pajamas and enjoy the show.
- No face-face networking – Networking is one of the key aspects of conferences, but virtual conferences pose a huge limitation, as attendees don’t really get an opportunity to have one on one discussions with each another.
- Distractions – Attending conferences from the comforts of one’s home can also expose him/her to a lot of distractions, whether it’s the internet, pets, etc.
- Ineffective sponsorships – Brands fail to make real connections with their target audience through sponsorships, as there is no face to face interaction with the attendees to leave an impact on them.
- Less Excitement – Compared to the grandeur which is promised at live events, a virtual event is just another browser opened on a laptop. Many people today are skilled at multitasking, so while simultaneously attending the event, they’re also shopping online.
While virtual events do pose certain limitations, brands and corporations can take advantage of the rapid onset of virtual reality technology to minimize risks and produce more engaging and interactive conferences from the comfort of one’s own home. As time passes, more and more people are beginning to get accustomed to the idea of attending online conferences, so one begs to ask- Will virtual events be the future of the events industry?