– Paras Lohani , Founder and CEO, B2B Sales Arrow
The pandemic’s occurrence in the year 2020 indeed disrupted our lives and the working of businesses across sectors. While on one hand, it brought about major changes, on the other hand, it also led to the introduction of innovations across industries and organizations to thrive and survive in the competing market.
However, one of the most notable innovations due to the pandemic is the acceleration of digital adoption and its increased acceptance at both the industrial and organizational levels. Firms are increasingly investing their time, efforts, and finances to incorporate state-of-the-art technological solutions into their systems and upscale their operations. A similar trend was stated in the McKinsey Global Survey of Executives 2020 wherein the respondents agreed that their companies had accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply chain interactions as well as their internal operations three to four years ahead as was anticipated. The survey also states that the coronavirus scares also led to a major shift in the consumers’ preferences, and they now rely heavily on the digital medium.
World pivoting towards Virtual Events
Every industry resorted to the virtual medium for the continuance of its business and to ensure its survival and revival in the market. The event industry has been no exception and has witnessed the emergence of virtual events both at domestic and global levels. The pandemic paved the way for the digital era and the event industry focused on evolving to cope up with the changing times and hence virtual events came into the picture. As per the Virtual Events Market report by Technavio, the virtual events market of North America, South America, APAC, Europe, and the Middle East Asia regions are exhibiting a tremendous growth in the year 2021 and will continue to proliferate significantly by the end of 2025.
As per industry estimates of a global software company, Wild Apricots, the virtual events indeed doubled in 2020 and successfully replaced the traditional variants. They have now emerged as the ‘new normal of the events industry’ and this is where the future lies for the sector. Virtual events have become the one-stop solution for brands to interact and engage with their customer base and improve their awareness. Be it small organizations or brands, everyone has adopted the contactless route of online events owing to their reduced costs and labor requirements and considering that the coronavirus is here to stay.
Evolving Virtual and Engagement Technology
Virtual events have broken the shackles of their traditional version and have become more modern, creative, and interactive. Real-time query resolution, backstage interaction, quirky emojis, polling, chats, forums, Live Q&A, surveys, and other varied formats of content are incorporated to enhance the quality of the event experience.
Additionally, the inculcation of technology and right tools have enabled us to boost the engagement of the virtual events and ensure that the audience receives a high-end experience similar to the traditional in person events. It is the rapid change in this engagement technology that has bolstered the adoption rate of virtual event platforms. The virtual event platforms are tech-savvy and flexible solutions that help manage and host diverse types of online events. They make use of the engagement technology in the form of integration with webinar software, built-in webcasting experiences, or both and help facilitate the extension of high-end digital experiences to the audiences. Furthermore, the usage of Software-as-a-Solution (SaaS) in online events has further helped in shaping up the present and future of the virtual events industry. They have made the events engaging and the audience experience smooth by offering features of instant messaging, podcasting, and live streaming.
The future of Virtual Events
The future of the virtual events sector indeed seems promising. The report by Grand View Search points out a similar trend and states that the global virtual events market size stood at $77.98 billion in 2019 and is projected to hit the $404 billion-plus mark and will grow at a CAGR of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027. By the end of 2030, it is also anticipated that the virtual event industry will be valued at $774 billion. As per the report, the introduction of the pandemic was one of the major factors responsible for the surge in the demand of virtual events.
The increased adoption of cutting-edge technological solutions will further upscale the market in the coming times. Artificial Intelligence and AI-driven bots will rule the virtual events space and will help in making the event experience even more personalized and customized by gathering real-time data of the attendees and enabling the event organizers to modify their content as per their needs and preferences. Machine Learning technology will enable the bots to observe and capture the audience’s behavioral pattern and will then transform into a virtual personal concierge for them. Furthermore, the inculcation of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, holograms, 3D video storytelling, and virtual avatars will make the virtual events experience tech-savvy, intriguing, and immersive.
To provide a high-end experience to the audience and to ensure the events are of top-notch quality, event organizers will increasingly prefer roping in third-party solutions providers. These event aggregators will be a blessing in disguise for the virtual events and will help the planners extend state-of-the-art and techie virtual events experience to the audiences.
Ranging from product launches, concerts to webinars, conferences; every kind of corporate, social, or personal event now happens virtually. With their time saving, cost-efficacy, convenience, flexible, customizable, and engaging features, the organizations, and event planners have resorted to virtual events during pandemic times. The virtual events platforms will in turn increasingly depend on the virtual event planners, aggregators, and technology for their growth and seem to have a progressive future.