'Virtual isn’t a short term fix for our industry'

Inconnection predicts that the sudden demand for virtual will create more demand for hybrid and satellite events.

James Scholefield is an account director at Inconnection.

There’s no doubt the events industry is facing one of its toughest challenges yet. For many of us, live events aren’t just about the conference or the sales kick-off but people coming together, sharing experiences and above all else, building relationships. 

We’ve always seen face-to-face communication as an absolute cornerstone of business but as things become more difficult and more uncertain, we’re pushed to think further outside the box. As an industry built on creativity and problem solving, it’s not something we’re shy of and if anything, we’re ready to step up to the challenge. 

Times of crisis have led to some of the world’s biggest breakthroughs and we’re predicting big things for the events industry.

The obvious answer, is of course, virtual. Virtual conferences, video meetings, even virtual product launches. Virtual isn’t new, nor is it the last resort in the situation we find ourselves in today but it is quickly becoming the new norm. 

Right now, we’re perhaps only thinking about the weeks and months ahead. How can I turn this conference digital? Or how can I live stream my product launch? These questions are real and valid but there are even bigger opportunities to be had for those companies looking to embrace change and move forwards with their event strategy. 

So how do we turn the ‘virtual crisis response’ of today into a long-term event solution that adds value to the experiences we already know?

Hybrid events, or satellite events, bridge the gap between purely virtual events and the invaluable in-person experience by using event technology to bring together and centralise a series of smaller events in different places. 

Companies can still capitalise on the power of face-to-face communication, but the virtual aspect makes attendees feel like they are part of something much bigger.  We’re seeing people’s attitudes towards digital and virtual technology changing every day at the moment.

The events industry is adaptable and resilient, and if anything the urgency for companies to adopt digital now is paving the way for a new future where the virtual and in-person experience co-exist to create something even bigger and more powerful. 

This article was written by James Scholefield of Inconnection. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of C&IT Magazine.

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