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To Change is to Evolve: Akshay Chawla, Managing Director, ThinkXQ Marcom

The immediate present belongs to technology which has already become the lifeline of the events industry, writes Chawla.

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After the unfortunate breakout of the virus early this year and many moons later, a bold and roaring industry still remains masked in uncertainties. Though our industry is brave, enduring and quick to accommodate the otherwise abnormalities of the new normal, we are still in search of perfecting the change or as I may say, an evolution. With many organisations already having declared that most of their events and conferences will be digital, at least in the next two quarters, hope stays afloat but the challenges multiply.

SO, IS A NEW INDUSTRY RISING?

Events in their usual format will definitely make a comeback but with several cautions and checkpoints to adhere to. May we say, they will never be the same again. In the meantime, technology will spread its offerings to open up new possibilities in creating newer expressions and experiences. This in turn will open up alternate revenue streams. In all probability, this will provide the much-needed buoyancy and as well as the impetus to the industry. Hopefully, this trend will bring business into the industry, giving it the reach and mileage, which were so far being enjoyed only by the awards and sports events industry.

WHAT MAKES 100% VIRTUAL WORTHWHILE?

Over the past few months, most events have gone virtual. Be it meetings, conferences, product launches or for that matter even award ceremonies. Organisations have opted for a complete virtual makeover over, compelling the event experts to focus on innovating and improvising their service offerings. Using cloud-hosted live-streaming and broadcasting solutions tailored for each event, the setting of a physical event has been shifted to a virtual venue. In the present scheme of things, this option has emerged as an effective alternative for event-planners as well as event-goers to be part of events but not by risking their and their neighbour’s health.

Though being a make-shift setup, this new virtual world has made organisers and participants realize one major aspect: The online ecosystem eliminates geographical boundaries for all, from anywhere across the world when it comes to interacting with each other in real-time. In this way, organisers can use the right combination of technologies to execute virtual events while reaching out to a wider attendee-base that they would have in a traditional physical setting. Moreover, the meeting takes place on the virtual platform, the costs attached to traditional events such as venue rental, staffing and catering services, etc. are also done away with. Hence, this alternative is also highly cost-efficient.

HABITUATING THE HYBRID HAPPILY

As we know events are all about meticulous planning and execution to perfection. Given the situation that the virus would take some more time to relieve us, organisers are enthusiastically exploring the idea of going hybrid: by mixing physical and virtual components to execute events. A format that facilitates a larger number of non-local members to remotely participate in an event that is happening at a physical location. This innovative alternative offers added benefits for organisers apart from those of the purely virtual option. Not only do organisers not lose on any advantage of a virtual event by using the hybrid model but they also stand to attract sponsors and delegates who may not be inclined to be a part of a live event.

NOW TO FUTURESCAPE

The immediate present belongs to technology which has already become the lifeline of the events industry. Why just today and now, under the given circumstances, it will likely continue to be a mainstay in the events and experiential paradigm in the post-pandemic world as well. While some organisers have proactively begun their journey towards the tech-led transformation, some are just waking up to the possibilities. Industry players can consider adopting the hybrid model to tide through the pandemic. At the same time, when the crisis is over and physical events are back on track, the added virtual dimension can function as a critical revenue generation supplement. Until then, organisers who are thinking of cancelling or postponing their events can instead consider virtual or hybrid models as viable alternatives. Doing so will allow the audience to still achieve what one needs at meeting prospective buyers and sellers, speakers and opinion leaders, employees and teams, communities and cultural counterparts.



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