Despite the move to level 1, many companies might prefer to embark on virtual events. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all events, public gatherings, schools, offices, conferences and exhibitions but there is a silver lining. This pandemic has also forced us to be creative and find new methods to interact with each other.“Lockdown propelled us 5 years forward by pushing us to embrace the internet and virtual platforms to facilitate connectivity. Not only are we seeing musicians livestream their performances and brides broadcast their weddings but businesses, big and small, are also moving their engagements online. The feedback from corporates is that the value of hosting events online is too great to walk away from…virtual events are here to stay. The way the human race connects is forever changed,” says Emily Sloan, Partner of Virtual Event Organisers (VEO).
Virtual Business and Events
Virtual events, and virtual office parks, bring global corporations and companies together in a transformative and engaging way that leaves little to no carbon footprintWith the Covid-19 infections spreading across South Africa, innovative event planners have taken it upon themselves to find different and pioneering solutions to host events whilst still abiding by social distancing regulations and exceeding the expectations of Clients and attendees alike.Studies have shown that technology has actually boosted the attendance rate by 20% and overall productivity by 27%2. The cost of events has also decreased by as much as 30%2.Some other advantages of virtual events include4:Scalability Accessibility Precise analytics to understand how the audience engagement No wardrobe stresses Safety “The demand for virtual events has skyrocketed and will continue to do so. Corporates recognise that whist it may have been acceptable to simply stream a ‘live event’ via an online platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams at the beginning of lockdown, they now need to completely change the way they present content and engage with audiences.
EVERYTHING we do is now online, so simply sharing info online is not enough…we need audiences to feel the same excitement around attending a virtual event as they used to feel about leaving the office and attending an event at a beautiful venue. This requires a keen understanding of how to combine both digital eventing and traditional eventing know how,” explains Melanie Motto-Ros Partner at VEO.Virtual Event Organisers specialises in a range of services from platform guidance (from video meetings to 3D worlds) to staging (including 3D green screen mapping) and delegate engagement (i.e. entertainment, interactions, gifts etc).Virtual Event Organisers mission is to aid and navigate corporate companies in creating their unique virtual eventing brand in a way that captivates audiences and not only keeps their attention during the event but also ensures they clear their diary for the next event too.Virtual Event Organisers is 1 of 4 agencies chosen by a UK team of developers to aid in co-ordinating and co-creating 3D virtual events.“3D worlds are where Global communities come to life in a virtual environment. Here the virtually impossible REALLY becomes possible virtually as we take the best of the real world, including learnings from interior designers and feng shui specialists, and mix it with the limitless possibilities of working on a blank digital canvas. We curate beautiful spaces where colleagues, partners and customers come together from around the world to meet and co-create…its’ so inspiring,” says Sloan.
Motto-Ros explains that “a 3D virtual event is different from other virtual experiences as it’s like stepping into a video game”. As a delegate, you register and immediately personalise your virtual avatar by selecting you sex, skin colour, hair colour, clothing etc. You then drop into a completely immersive 3D world where you can hear footsteps, background music and conversations of colleagues within a 2m radius. You are also able to see everyone else in the ‘room’ and even identity ‘hot leads’ as they are made to stand out in the crowd. 3D events can range from: Conferences, exhibitions, social events, live music shows, and business meetings. The client can completely customise the look and feel of the space according to their brand. In conclusion, the future is here, it’s fun, exciting, the possibilities are endless and corporates around the world are seeing the value of taking their events virtual.An example of a 3D Mapping studio: https://youtu.be/InF0HpHsKz8
Virtual events terminology:
Webinars A webinar allows the speaker and their presentations to share information similar to how they would in a workshop or classroom, as the speaker takes the centre stage3. Guests who watch the webinar can engage through Q&A’s, surveys and polls.
Video Conferences This is the virtual version of a live conference and is preferred for bigger companies hosting to a larger scale of guests and multiple sessions3. This allows various speakers and session to occurs over multiple days3. There are various virtual platforms that can be used for online meetings. These virtual platforms differ in functionality therefore it is important to establish which would work the best for your needs. Some of these virtual platforms include Zoom and CrowdCast, each which are unique to the event requirements.
3D Virtual Events A 3D event is where the virtually impossible becomes possible over the internet. It takes place in an online world that is customisable and immersive5.
Virtual Office Parks With all this in mind, the target audience for 3D virtual events and virtual office parks is geared toward big corporates, global corporates, events/marketing heads, strategists and global advertising companies. The idea is to create a global office park which will minimise the need to go into a real-life office park when a virtual one is created and set in place6. It functions much like a 3D event as the office plays off in a virtual, online and immersive world. If you miss going into the office, this is certainly the solution for you. A virtual business and event world awaits you. The same sentiments relate for virtual events. https://virtualeventorganisers.co.za/
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Ref 1 - https://virtualeventorganisers.co.za/ Accessed on 28 August 2020.
Ref 2 - https://afriten.co.za/technology-innovation-digital-ideas-trends-at-events-conferences-south-africa/ Accessed on 28 August 2020.
Ref 3 - https://thinkbusinessevents.com.au/portfolio-items/whats-the-difference-between-a-webinar-and-a-virtual-conference/ Accessed on 7 September 2020.
Ref 4- https://www.communicateonline.me/digital/virtual-events-the-pros-and-cons/ Accessed on 1 September 2020.
Ref 5 - https://www.virtwayevents.com/solutions/ Accessed 7 September 2020.Ref 6 - https://www.instantoffices.com/blog/featured/what-is-a-virtual-office/ Accessed 7 September 2020.