(Updated December 2020)
Ok, so 2020 has been a crazy year for everyone.
It’s been a roller coaster of emotions, highs and lows but most importantly, it's been the year that's changed event tech.
Shortly into the year 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic brought all of our lives to a screeching halt. In various parts of the world, physical gatherings were outlawed, and the majority of events were cancelled. Sucks for the events industry, right?
Wrong. It was a bumpy ride, but we’ve nearly come out the other side (fingers crossed!) stronger than ever.
Of course, maybe organisations unfortunately struggled amidst the state of lockdown, but maybe organisations have used this to realign their business strategy and utilise event tech to keep their business afloat. According to V Fairs, the global industry was valued at $1,100 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow at a rate of 10.3% to reach $2,300 billion by 2026 - impressive, right? After a sudden disruption to their plans, so many organisations have announced this year that they will be hosting their events online due to the convenience and cost-effectiveness. Not only this, of course organisations need to stay engaging with their consumers or quite frankly, they’ll lose them to their competitors.
Views from industry professionals
Having spoken to many industry professionals, one thing is certain - everyone is slowly adapting to this new norm. Adam Parry, Director of Event Tech Live has certainly adapted to this new norm of online events, as the world's leading event technology expo made the big pivot to virtual this year and was a great success. Adam has said that ‘as an industry we are being forced to unlearn and relearn news skills and mindsets. One of the most challenging aspects of using event tech to deliver online or digital events is the speed in which we must understand and learn new platforms.’ It is safe to say he has adapted to the change and has managed to relearn the new skills and mindsets as his event was a great success within the industry!
Sabrina Meyers, social media strategist, online content creator (and!) an event professional from Two Social Media Chicks has certainly had to adapt her role due to the requirement for event tech. Sabrina has found that 2020 has been the year of the discovery of event technology and adoption for event professionals across the board. She has mentioned that ‘it has been incredible to see how the virtual event landscape has not only changed but also how it has evolved the global event industry.’ As an online content creator in the events space, it's safe to say that event tech is a much required resource after the year we’ve all had with the pandemic.
Jessica Duxbury, Digital Producer of Aztec Live has mentioned how she has "learnt to be discerning between promises and deliverability - a lot of tech early on in the pandemic period promised to solve all of your event issues but completely missed the mark. It's arguably more damaging when remote technology fails as you can't see that technician running around a theatre to fix it; it makes clients and attendees panic significantly more. " A really interesting view, as it shows the beginning of event tech was difficult, and challenging for everyone - it is certainly on the rise, and therefore will be improving within time.
When speaking to professionals from the event technology side, the main thing mentioned was that their role had changed or developed in some way, shape or form. Chetan Shah, CEO of Micebook discussed that although his team were remote working already and was geared up for this environment, it meant their team was no longer able to go to networking events and meetings in person. However, although networking was interrupted, it certainly didn’t stop Micebook as they have introduced both a new podcast and weekly Micebook Talks when this barrier hit - pretty incredible! Micebook have coped amazingly well during this crisis, their content has grown and they now have an audience reach of over 1000 people. Due to the pandemic, Micebook decided to think out of the box and take initiative, and created a virtual sectors directory, which means their site is a one stop shop for all things virtual if you’re looking to plan your next event!
Vanessa Lovatt had the scary (but very exciting) move to a new role during this rollercoaster of a pandemic, as she secured a role at Glisser as the Chief Evangelist. and it was really interesting to hear her side of how 2020 is the year that changed event tech. Vanessa discussed that when she joined Glisser, they were all in ‘hybrid mode’ - planning to rely on hybrid during this crisis and ‘actively gearing’ towards this side of events. As with many companies, they began to realise that virtual is the way forward as they began to budget for virtual with hybrid as their long term plan and to see what options were available. Vanessa also mentioned that the “events sector needed a big shake up” and believes this “will strengthen the sector in the long run.”
There is certainly a feeling that virtual events have saved the events industry this year, and although event technology has been around for years, 2020 was its year to shine. It has been interesting to find from research that 91% of organisers of virtual events have been keeping their members connected as a primary goal of their event and in 2020 the number of companies planning virtual events doubled. Samaaro has estimated that the global virtual events market size is expected to be valued at $774 billion by 2030 - so I think virtual events are here to stay as there are so many positives to them.
Overall positives of event tech and virtual events
Having spoke to Chetan and Vanessa, the overall positives of virtual events were the points below:
Future of event tech and virtual events
It was interesting to hear what the professionals thought the future held for event tech. Glisser is hybrid ready (and has been for a while!) they believe everyone should be finding a hybrid platform and they see hybrid as an addition to live events. Vanessa mentioned that although there may be lots of physical locations for events, you will be able to create and serve a more scalable audience by designing hybrid events, they are much more sustainable. She believes that in the future people may only go to ⅔ live events and the rest will be virtual.
Chetan also agreed that event tech and virtual events are here to stay, but there is also a bigger and brighter future for it. He believes live events will always be ‘king’ as networking can be harder online, but there is a future for event tech. There’s room for improvement and 2020 gave event tech the chance to improve and adjust to this sudden supply and demand for it.
Top online events of 2020
There have been many events this year which were forced to turn virtual, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s great to see the power of virtual being used to create successful events despite the global pandemic. Below are our favourites we have attended or will be attending:
Event Tech Live Monday 2nd - Friday 6th November
This week-long event was great and included so much insight into the industry, and showed that virtual events are certainly on the rise. On the EventMind blog, we recently uploaded a write up of the event which you can read here. At ETL 2020, a very clever software was used so there was a live Q&A section, and you were able to organise and schedule the panels you wished to attend.
Since the event has taken place, Event Tech Live have released a webinar on demand which you can access here or by watching below. A really interesting watch as Adam Parry discusses with Laura Davidson, Director of Tag Digital how he found pivoting to virtual in such a difficult time. He mentions the challenges that they faced, and the successes which came out of it. It’s great to see such a renowned event have huge success since going virtual!
Adam discussed that even though Event Tech Live is a event technology company, they had never delivered a virtual event before so they had to start from scratch. He mentions “in some ways they were ahead of the curve” as they were ahead of the industry and had already been using some event technology aspects in their physical events.
A massive congratulations to the team at Event Tech Live for pulling off such a great first virtual event - we hope to see more!
Event MB The State of the Event Industry Monday 18th November
This event was packed full of information, results were presented from a study that was based on over 1000 event professionals from what they believe the future of events looks like. Some of the topics covered included a timeline for the comeback of meetings and events, the impact of Covid-19 on the industry, and the role of virtual events. There were expert panels where you were able to discuss any questions you had.
IBTM Tuesday 8th - Thursday 10th December
IBTM is coming up very shortly, and we are so excited to attend. IBTM will be virtual this year meaning their new interactive platform will be used in full force - very different to their usual in person event! This event aims to focus on connecting people within the industry, which can adapt your business and help you thrive in this new online world. There will be live conference sessions tackling the issues that the industry is facing. Stay tuned on the EventMind website for a write up of the event!
Top event platforms of 2020
With over 100 event tech platforms on the market now, here is a round up of our favourites from 2020.
It goes without saying, Hopin deserves a round of applause! They’ve had a smashing year, having been a start up at the beginning of this year, they have recently raised $125 million at a $2.1 billion valuation! They were the first all-in-one live online events platform, so they provide everything you need to host a successful online event. This platform is built for all shapes and sizes, whether it's a small gathering to a massive conference with hundreds of thousands of attendees.
Shocklogic is another event management software which is performing incredibly well this year. Having recently won the people's choice award - Favourite Event Technology Supplier at The Event Tech Live Awards. Shocklogic has been supporting the event industry since 1997, with a history of event technology words since 2015. They have a team of experts with over 50 years experience, and the platform offers an extensive suits of online event management technology services including roomlogic, scanlogic and eventlogic.
InEvent is a virtual and hybrid event platform, which offers worldwide support and offers a custom branded scalable platform. They are a High Performer on the Virtual Event Software Space, and are certainly on the rise with the whole world turning virtual. InEvent have recently been selected as the best worldwide event start up and has been recognised in the industry on several occasions across the globe.
With 2020 being the year that changed event tech, who knows what 2021 has to offer?
EventMind does not endorse any particular virtual event platform or software. We review the platforms available on the market monthly (through a combination of client feedback, test events and demos). If you're looking to make online events simple, or want trusted and unbiased advice, then contact the team today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0330 133 3485.