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  • Writer's pictureElisa Tuijnder

COVID spurs: From Live to Digital to Hybrid?

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

It’s a tumultuous time to be an event professional, but the future of meetings and knowledge sharing is becoming more exciting every day. The events industry has hailed an Uber moment and the way we run events and the technology we employ is changing at lightning speed.

From March 2020 a rapid switch to digital events salvaged some of our carefully planned conferences. But according to experts our future is hybrid. Hybrid events are not new, the willingness of people to adopt them and invest in them however is. A trend initiated by an economic downturn and serious concerns about the environment has now been accelerated by a pandemic affecting all corners of business and society.

Hybrid events will strive to deliver the best of both worlds. It is up to the event professional to create event tracks for its onsite and online attendees that are equally valuable. Creating spaces and touchpoints for these different participants to interact and engage with your content and each other. Merely live tweeting or live streaming will not suffice for the online attendant. Some creative out-of-the-box thinking (and good technology!) will be necessary for successful complex hybrid events.

How will it look concretely? That will depend entirely on the type of event and its resources. Twitch, a live streaming service for gamers created an empire on live engagement with fans. Cisco Systems was creating multi hubs conferences, even before the pandemic. Conferences that have VR components, studios, brand ambassadors, and news reporters’ onsite were just some of the ideas that were being floated before the industry came to a grinding halt. What is certain, is that even when we return to face to face conferences, it will need a digital engagement strategy.

Producers will become imperative for a major conference, a great technology partner will be essential, and your event manager will continue to operate under an even greater number of hats. They will act like an orchestra conductor; from ensuring a flow of canapés to your onsite participants to creating birds of a feather networking groups and exercise breaks for those spending hours behind their workstations at home. All of these different moving parts of your event will have to come together as one harmonious piece of music.

A mammoth task, but the rewards will be vast, unlike traditional events you will be creating spaces that are no longer bound geographically or in time. Networking will start long before the event has started and can continue well after the last keynote has spoken. Platforms can be revived, without content lost. They can become continuous spaces for knowledge sharing, networking, and brand building. Imagine a world where people are able to participate in conversations, regardless of their circumstances, travel abilities, or place of residence. All while the environment benefits.

This blog post was based on take aways from the Hybrid Revolution Summit, organised by EventMB.

Do you have an idea for a hybrid event? Get in touch with us today, we are happy to brainstorm with you:


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