The sudden and total collapse of the events sector has left many industry professionals wondering where this leaves the future of live events. Whilst virtual event technologies have been around for some time and are predictably seeing an increase in demand, nothing can replace the power of face to face experiences to facilitate learning, connection and emotional investment in a subject. We believe that, far from replacing live events, virtual technologies can help us chart a way out of this crisis. They can expand the audiences of live events in the future, improving reach and accessibility. Hybrid event technologies can enhance the attendee experience, allowing them to catch up on missed sessions and tailor their event package to the content they most want to see.
We believe that the shift from live to virtual is temporary and a first step in a process to make live events viable again. As lockdowns ease and conditions improve, hybrid formats will allow a gradual return to life for the sector, offering the industry an exit strategy and a route out of paralysis. As event organisers realise the power of hybrid technologies to enhance event experiences, manage risk, generate new revenue streams and expand audiences, we could see them become a mainstay of the industry, and indispensable to live events of the future.
Remote team building experiences, such as virtual pub quizzes and escape rooms, offer a short-term fix for team morale, but are not a long-term solution. Fully virtual conferences and exhibitions have been around for some time, but again lack the power of personal interaction and relationship building that face-to-face events provide. This where the need for hybrid events lies. Hybrid technologies, alongside social distancing measures and other changes in behaviour and event planning, could be the path out of this crisis for the events industry.