Virtual Events: Reality or Hype?
There has been a lot of buzz about virtual tradeshows and events lately. With a lot of folks speculating on whether they are ‘here to stay’ or ‘only result of the current economic state’. Check out these five reasons on why I am on the ‘here to stay’ side of this fence.
1) Virtual events will only get more immersive as we move forward and better tools for collaboration and immersion will create different ways of training and interacting. Which means attendees will stay longer at your event and engage more with each other, sponsor participants and your virtual event staff. For example, Cisco is hosting our monthly Cisco Live in Second Life TechChat on Cisco EnergyWise on April 14 but this time there is an immersive twist. In addition to the discussion based event format we always have at our TechChats this time the speakers will also include a virtual conceptualization of a day in an office using green technologies. After the event you can interact with the demo yourself so if you do not have a Second Life account yet you should register now and download the client so you can interact directly.2) We are all responsible for this planet and we need to consider this when making event choices. This does not mean all physical events should be scrapped but when planning an event one should look at whether a virtual extension or virtual only option makes sense or is viable as there are many ways there are many ways these approaches can help green the globe. For example reduced or no hotel stay needed for virtual event extensions or virtual only events which means less water down the pipe…or reducing the carbon impression associated with shipping booth materials and staffers around the globe; just to name a couple. 3) Event reach can be expanded considerably if a virtual option is included. This is not only good for the globe but good for the bottom line as well. Being able to reach potential attendees based anywhere in the globe with a broadband connection and a computer makes possible reducing/eliminating the overall number of physical events being created/managed without impacting the company’s overall reach and messaging to their global audience. 4) Virtual events encompass so many different mediums that there will soon be a very viable option for all types of event experiences and audiences. With tools like webcasts, WebEx meetings, TelePresence, virtual trade shows, and virtual world immersive events at an event planners disposal reaching event audiences including CIO, consumer, B2B, vertical industries and more does not seem out of the realm of possibility.5) Extending real life into virtual life will get easier with technology. Imagine your speaker goes on stage and that automatically triggers their avatar to walk onto the virtual stage at the same time…then the lights dim and the spotlight comes up on your speaker. ‘Show time!’, with the show starting in both spaces simultaneously and without human intervention because a smart network at the theater in real life sends signals to the virtual theater to follow its lead and start the show. Your speaker steps up to the podium and utters their first words. The podium is tricked out with an infra red camera which scans the facial as well as body movements of the speaker enabling real time expressions and movements to be synched with the speakers avatar. You get the picture by now I think.So which side of the fence are you on?