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What is a Virtual Event?

< 29 May 2020 >

What is a virtual event?

In these unusual times that have been brought upon us so quickly, the opposite question may seem more relevant right now.

With lockdowns in place all over the world, live events in the real world can sometimes feel like some distant memory from a place we used to know.

From suffering through yet another boring meeting at work to having a glass of wine on a terrace at the end of the long day, the day-to-day we took for granted feels a long way away.

Unfortunately, things are probably not going to get back to normal any time soon. We are now entering a new normal, and it is here where virtual events will start to come into their own.

A paradigm shift

The internet has become our most direct connection to the life we used to live pre-Coronavirus. Zoom has firmly established itself as the official substitute for family gatherings all over the world and the working environment as we knew it has changed forever, or at least for the foreseeable future.

While the rise of Zoom into the collective consciousness is very much of this weird time, virtual events have been around for much longer than the last few months.

The first virtual event occurred in 1993 when a live stream beamed out to the world the unbearable tension of a coffee maker in mid-drip.

Things have advanced rapidly since 1993.

Today, almost any kind of event that you can remember having attended or being a part of in the past could be recreated and prove to be equally valuable in its virtual form.

Cutting out the real world

A virtual event can deliver to an equally high level as a real-world event. And virtual events can have many advantages over real-world events as they are inherently more accessible to a broader audience.

This increased accessibility is true in terms of capacity, but also in that those previously excluded from real-world events because of geographical or financial barriers can now take part too.

The economic benefits can apply for the organisers of the event as much as to its potential audience. The costs involved in hosting a virtual event are much lower than those involved in live events. Still, the opportunities a virtual event can generate can be equally or even more beneficial.

A perception change

Webinars and live-streamed conferences are one thing, but virtual events can also be much more interactive affairs. Virtual events don’t have to be purely informative or educational.

Trade fairs, expositions, conferences, and other large-scale events can all be successfully brought into the virtual world if done correctly.

From the simplicity of an Instagram live AskMeAnything to the complex organisation of superstar-artist music festivals all performed from the luxury of the performers’ own homes, virtual events can be as low-key or as grand as you imagine them.

With little alternative right now, this is the perfect moment to embrace and capitalise on the exciting new possibilities that virtual events can bring

Written by Simon Fletcher 

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