SOLVING FOR TECH
 
VIRTUAL EVENTS GROUP
 
VEG’ers are not just sitting around twiddling their digits. The pandemic has not ended events. Instead, and very quickly, it has evolved them. Here is this week’s news in the world of events, brought to you by the VEG.
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 21 | 3PM EST
 
Next VEG Group Meetup
 
Guests include Andrew Morris of Fintech Agenda on managing multi-session conferences and Amit Bhambi’s 30Friends social networking tool. Plus the unveiling of our new website for all things VEG.
 
RSVP
 
 
Got a feeling '21
Is going to be a good year
Especially if you and me
See it in together

The Who wrote those words about the year 1921 in their 1969 rock opera Tommy. Turns out the year was not so great for poor Tommy or his mother. But The Who must be feeling good about 2021, because they’re heading out on tour this March. What about the rest of you?

For us at the VEG, we’re a little more cautious about 2021’s touring outlook. In the immortal words of Richard and Mimi Farina, “been down so long it looks like up to me.”
 
 
 
What VEG Believes the Next Two Years will Look Like
 
  • Cleanliness and distancing will remain part of our lives. That includes mask wearing, disinfecting and staying more apart than together.
  • You’ll need a digital health passport, a certification that you’ve been vaccinated, to go anywhere.
  • IRL events will be smaller, with people paying a premium price for an in-person experience. Of course that is going to lead to an event divide where the 1% will attend and the 99% will observe. Sort of like a world-wide TED conference.
  • A good portion of the money that event planners spent on pivoting to virtual will be redistributed to making physical fun again. Look for temperature checking stations to phase out as onsite realtime Covid testing gets more affordable, and robotic cleaning and disinfecting, contactless payments and contact tracing will be a part of any event in 2021.
  • Singapore stands a good chance at becoming the new Vegas.
  • B2B events will get better. We talked ourselves silly in 2020 but but in 2021 we will be back to order taking. More platforms will incorporate business transactions.
  • Every event company will need to know how to run virtual and IRL events simultaneously. No whining about it. We come from the world of print publishing where one day you were publishing a printed magazine and the next day you had to get it out on DVDs, and the day after that it was online. That’s just the cost of doing business.
  • Look for AR, VR, holograms and other immersive environments to enter the arena. As Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, said at this year’s Web Summit (and I paraphrase), you’re going to want to smell the coffee and feel the shake of a hand in your video conferences and we’re working on that.

We heard this from author Robin Jones Gunn and it resonated as a great 2021 event’s slogan. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. "

 
 
 
Quick Takes
 
 
 

Our favorite events story of the year came to us from The Hustle about how a magician transforms his art into the world of Zoom. Read how David Chan, Silicon Valley’s favorite magician, reimagined his bag of tricks for the Hollywood squares world. 

 
 
 

Please invite the folks at AdAge to your next event. They’re so lonesome for human interaction and probably have a healthy budget too.


Quartz created a nice multipart series on how to do a conference reboot. 


Tools to Watch: I’ve joined a ton of social communities so that you don’t have to. This week it’s Preciate Social. It replicates the old-fashioned social with mixers, games, a 3D space, and simultaneous video conversations with guests. Coolest feature? It’s the one where the audio changes volume depending on how near you are to a person.


Microsoft Teams vs Zoom: Microsoft Teams is coming on aggressively in 2021. Since Microsoft won the contract to produce this year’s all digital (never say virtual) CES 2021 I’ve had the chance to use it quite a bit. The down and dirty truth is that Teams is fuller-featured (to a fault), difficult to log onto (thanks to various legacy versions of every piece of Microsoft software you’ve ever owned), and has a larger footprint. But because it combines Zoom-like videoconferencing with telephony and messaging (think Slack), it’s a robust enterprise solution.


Zoom is easier to use, easier to join and for corporations, it’s got a simple licensing plan. It’s easier to invite “mixed crowds” using different platforms to participate.


Microsoft’s Trojan horse is that Teams is pre-packaged with Microsoft 365 and that translates to a lot of users. PC Magazine said that Teams will be most appreciated in Microsoft shops.

 
 
 
2021’s New Realities
 

By this time next year VR and AR will have had a significant impact on events, if only to make them a bit more novel. Friend of VEG Ori Inbar of AWE (whose next event is scheduled live in November) summed up the VR milestones of 2020 like this (edited for brevity):

  1. XR saved lives during the pandemic. (CNN, ARPost)
  2. Culture went virtual, with many museums, opera houses, fairs, and other cultural institutions using the tech to connect with patrons in lockdown. (TheGuardian)
  3. XR offered workplaces a way to collaborate in a more immersive environment than a video call. (TechDemand, ARInsider)
  4. Virtual conferences allowed people to gather and exchange ideas while staying safely in quarantine. (Forbes)
  5. XR helped reduce social isolation for seniors during pandemic. (McKnights)
  6. AR and VR became a force for social change. (CameraIQ, Cablecast)
  7. This teacher used the VR game 'Half Life: Alyx' to teach math during school closures. (IGN)
  8. Mobile AR reached 600+ Million users and 19% of U.S. adults have tried VR. (ARInsider, ARInsider)
  9. XR creators exploded: Snapchat reported over 1 million lenses created and a trillion user views! (ARInsider)
  10. AR contact lenses got real. (VentureBeat)
  11. Live music events got their time to shine...virtually. (HelloBeauMonde)
  12. XR became safer with XRSI privacy and security guidelines (VentureBeat, XRSI) and more open with OpenXR certification of hardware and software products. (RoadtoVR)
  13. The "hero device" that boosts VR adoption to the mainstream has arrived (Quest 2), along with other fantastic VR headsets. (ARInsider)
  14. With COVID-19 shutting down in-person shopping across the globe, AR shopping has stepped up (HarvardBusinesReview), with data indicating that AR boosts conversion for online retailers (ARInsider).
 
 
Did you miss our last VEG meetup?
 
It was a holiday party to explore how to build community in a virtual world and featured Felix Zeltner’s WorkAwesome community as well as Sherry Huss’s bold new venture into the arts, Decameron Row. Catch the re-rerun online.
 
 
WATCH HERE
 
 
 
Our next event includes Andrew Morris founder of the Fintech Agenda speaking about organizing large fintech virtual events. And a networking interlude sponsored by thirtyfriends.com.
 
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Send any tips and thoughts you have about virtual events. contact Robin Raskin,
Founder, Solving For Tech
201.564.7900 | 917.215.3160
robin@robinraskin.com | @robinr