The new technology will give the events industry the business, reach and mileage, that so far have been enjoyed only by sports and awards events industry
By Atul Todi
Covid-19 has made life uncertain for all of us. Within a matter of a few months, some of the biggest events around the world had to be cancelled. Olympics, IIFA 2020, conferences, trade shows, and everything that required gathering of a large number of people at a place was wrapped up without any future projections. Almost 6 months into the pandemic, things don’t see to be changing. With rising numbers and lack of clarity on policies, the swift recovery that was expected looks like a far-fetched dream.
Covid-19 outbreak has broken the back of an industry that had been able to withstand many downturns in the past . It has literally, switched off the limelight associated with it for an indefinite time. However, the true nature of this industry is that of problem solving and delivering seamless experience. To survive, it needs to move past the disruption caused by the virus, take into consideration the limitation of no physical handshakes and hugs, and reimagine the future.
The value-added by the event industry is beyond just handshakes, high tea, coffee-table conversations, and post-event drinks. With three billion knowledge workers around the world, this is the time to re-imagine a future for over a billion audience.
Winds of Change
The industry has been quick to adjust to the new normal. Microsoft recently announced that all of its upcoming events and conferences will be digital-only until 2021. Facebook, too, has cancelled all physical conferences and events by June 2021, and will be hosting them in a digital format. Closer to our home, Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi has decided to call off its ground-launch events in New Delhi. Instead, it announced that it will be live-streaming the event across its social media platforms.
The rise of a new industry
Crises, big and small, change life forever. Covid-19 pandemic is likely to leave an indelible mark on the way events are organized. While in-person events will definitely make a comeback, they will never be the same again. The use of technology by events players will open up a new revenue stream and it will give the events industry the business, the reach and mileage, that so far have been enjoyed only by sports and awards events industry.
For instance, in a virtual event, organisers will be able to get participation from attendees from around the world. In the traditional events format, where networking was dependent on an individual’s skills to network can be changed to be more productive. With the help of technology, the organizers can take the game to the next level with more custom matchmaking, background checking to ensure higher relevance for each participant.
Another benefit of following the hybrid model by the industry stakeholders would be in the form of having meaningful engagements that could be measured with the help of the technology. The event organisers can offer personal chat rooms for the participants to take the business discussions forward, that can be helpful in initiating or closing deals.
The sponsors and exhibitors will have more reasons to spend money on such big-ticket events as their shelf-life could be increased with the availability of recorded content.
To conclude, it would be important for all the stakeholders of the events industry to understand the fast-changing reality of the world. While it’s difficult to predict the time when we would be able to live our normal lives, what can be said for sure, is that whenever that time comes, our industry would have changed forever.
The author is CEO and co-founder of 10Times