Virtual events first appeared back in the 90s. At that time, they were in the nascent stage of development. And over the period of long time and continuous evolution of technology, they are what today we see today. Their journey began with an online meeting. And as time progressed, they transformed and were capable of hosting a sophisticated and full-scale event.
In the last few years, the popularity of the virtual event was growing. But it was still not something with which masses were familiar. However, things turned in 2020, when the pandemic halted every activity around the world. And people were not allowed to gather. As a result, all the live events had to be cancelled. And here came virtual events for the rescue of the event industry. So what we saw was the slew of virtual events. Some of these events are virtual conferences, virtual trade shows, virtual award shows, virtual fest and virtual fairs etc. And these events quickly became a part of our life. Also, virtual events nearly replaced live events.
Since our dependence on technology is increasing daily. As a result, we are seeing continuous improvement in technology. And this is true for virtual events also.
If you have attended a virtual event recently, you would have noticed tons of features are available. And this because of the increasing use of technology to improve virtual events. These tools can be categorised into three categories- engagement tools, networking tools and interface tools. Let’s look at each of these tools.
1. Engagement Tools
A leaderboard is a tool that displays the points earned by each participant. This tool is quite helpful in engaging the audience at virtual events. When people see the points table, they tend to become more interested in scoring higher points. This results in a high energy level in the events. And active involvement of attendees in the event.
A social wall acts as a screen that displays the social media posts about the event. This includes photos, videos and comments about the event. And it has multiple benefits. First, you can create excitement in the event. And secondly, you can see what the audience is thinking about the event. Thirdly, this feature encourages the attendees to post something on social media. This acts as social media marketing. And your events become visible to more social media users.
This tool helps the attendees to get the event as the background in their photos. Many people like to share pictures of the event they attend on social media. And this can be due to different reasons. Either they want to share it with friends. Or simply wants to share their opinion on the event. So, use this tool to engage the audience. And help the audience to create UGC (User Generated Content). This content acts as the customer testimonial and helps in the promotion of the event.
An emoticon is a tool that helps in personalisation. People use emoticons daily while texting. And find it easy to express themselves using an emoticon. In virtual events, an emoticon can help in making the attendee feel comfortable. And assist them in expressing their thoughts. Also, it makes the speaker feel good when people react with an emoticon.
As the name suggests, this tool mimics the sound of a clap. The attendees in an online session can use this feature to appreciate the speaker.
Just like clap sound, hooting does a similar job. The audience can use hooting to express their emotions like excitement or happiness. This tool is designed for providing an immersive experience to both audience and speakers of the event.
2. Networking tools
This tool helps in effective networking. AI Matchmaking uses Artificial Intelligence to connect with the most relevant people. It analyses the interest of attendees and exhibitors. And display the list of those people whose interest matches with yours. And you can connect with that person. This saves a lot of time and facilitates networking.
Networking lounges are dedicated spaces where an attendee or group of attendees can meet with speakers, guests or exhibitors. And they can communicate with them, exchange contact numbers or discuss ideas. This is one of the most effective networking tools.
Live Chats (1:1 or group)
This tool makes networking significantly easy. Oftentimes people are not comfortable meeting new people. Or they struggle to start a conversation. And the whole experience was awkward. However, with the option of live chats, it becomes easier to communicate with new people. This feature allows text, audio and video chats. Also, it offers the flexibility of 1:1 chat or group chat.
B2B Meeting Scheduler
A B2B Meeting scheduler lets you schedule meetings even before the event has started. Attendees who want to connect the speakers, guests or exhibitors can schedule meetings in advance. So that they don’t forget to contact people whom they find interesting. Also, this tool makes the process quicker and saves time.
As the name suggests, this tool notifies people about the event, online sessions and the exhibition booth. So that people don’t forget to attend or visit them. The user will get a notification about the event before the event begins. And during the event, these notifications will remind the attendees to attend his/her online session or exhibitor’s booth for which they were anticipating.
3. Tools for interface
This tool is designed for the exhibitors in the virtual event. And it is part of the interface. With this tool, an exhibitor can select various colours, banners, functionality, icons, symbols along with video recordings, pictures, or even PDF. This tool provides freedom to the exhibitor to customise their booth according to their choice. Many brands prefer to use the colours, logos and design associated with the image of their brand. So with the help of this tool, even these brands can make a customised booth.
Unlike physical events, there is less space in a virtual event for promotion. However, this tool solves this problem. It enables you to display multiple brands at the same place simultaneously. This is quite helpful especially, in getting sponsorship. And help in promoting the sponsors to a broader set of audience.
These are just a few of the tools that are possible because of technology. You can find many tools in different virtual event platforms. Tell us about your thoughts on the role of technology in virtual events.