I have recently come across two totally different approaches to virtual trade shows – but both of them work in their respective contexts quite well.
On the one hand side I met Dr. Ajay Kakar, Secretary of the International Academy of Periodontology, based in Mumbai. Ajay has set up a virtual trade show that targets the Indian market for dentistry products. He organizes real-life trade shows, but his exhibitors urged him to provide them with additional target groups, not always the same people. Hence, he developed the concept of a virtual trade show in addition to the others.
The challenge was to reach out to the rural areas in India, and you cannot do that with a technology that is too sophisticated – you just don’t have the bandwidth you need for such endeavours. So he came up with a simple, yet fully functional concept for a virtual show and conference. The event will take place 1-3 July 2011. Click on the image to get access to their website.
On the other hand, you have quite elaborate requirements when you talk about virtual events for big corporations like SAP, BASF, Microsoft and the like. These companies want to have their branding all over the place, and their presentation standards are quite high. I have seen the solutions that the Germany-based company UBIVENT provide for them, and I have met their Managing Director Dr. Michael Geisser. They have started out with virtual events purely for big corporations, now they expand into the conference and trade show sector as well. Very impressive solution, as you will be able to see in the video below (in German language, though).
Having seen the BASF virtual job fair for students and pupils, I believe that the potential for virtual trade shows in this sector is immense. The young audience are used to network via online channels, they don’t have the money to travel, but they have time to attend virtual shows like these. I guess we’ll see more of this soon.