What is the thought behind a virtual event platform?
I was part of many trade shows where we had a stall and people would come and visit the store. Sometimes they would give you a visiting card, sometimes they would not. Sometimes they would just see and walk away. Right now, if I have to create that handing over a visiting card experience on a virtual stroll, I easily can. It’s just a click of a button away and my business card will be there with the visitors. But I can still get a lot of data about people who did not give me their business cards. How do I do that? Because every engagement on a virtual platform is measurable, so I know who came to my stall, how much time they spent there and what brochures they downloaded. That’s the power of virtual event platforms.
Could virtual events prove a challenge?
Virtual events are only a challenge for people trying to copy physical events into virtual events. We think of a virtual event as a digital-first experience. As many as 85 per cent of planned events are already hosted on hybrid platforms. This is where 200 people will come for a five-hour agenda and ten speakers will be available through the day and people will be joining in from across the globe.
Are virtual events more cost-effective?
Virtual events allow engagement between more people from all around the globe. We can access the data, see the engagement, what products they are interested in, etc. So, while I would love to shake hands with people, as the organizer of a virtual event I would get more data about the people who are interested in my product, as well as those who are not. Cost-effectiveness for virtual events goes up by 65 per cent to 75 per cent because people are spending so much more money to go abroad. Now, you won’t have to do that anymore. Those not attending will pay less for tickets than the physical ones and engagement could be higher.
What are the future prospects of Almond Virtex?
The top events of five per cent of the industry will continue to happen in the physical space. About 15 per cent depends on the prevailing ecosystem, but there is a huge probability that 75 or 80 per cent of the business that used to depend on mid-scale events, will go into the virtual event space. These will be phygital events – platforms where we can amplify the engagement as well – so the future is quite different here. You can easily connect physical exhibitors with physical attendees, but how do you connect physical exhibitors with a virtual attendee? And that’s the kind of ecosystem that the future is looking towards.
What is the way forward?
Virtual pass is one of the new products that we are launching soon. It will allow you to engage event agencies as well as with companies, to create virtual passes for your physical events.
Tech companies you look up to?
Tesla. Elon Musk has taught the world that you can be a rocket scientist. I believe his vision of the future is way ahead of ours