Tag Archives: virtual trade show

Virtual events: 2 recent case studies, totally different concepts

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.

Review: ICCA Association Experts Seminar, Frankfurt, 21-23 May 2011

Last weekend, I had the pleasure to attend the ICCA Association Experts Seminar in Frankfurt. I had been to an ICCA event before, so I knew that not only are those events brilliantly organized, but they also deliver great value for an event organizer and association executive.

It is ICCA’s intention to intensify the dialogue between association meeting planners and convention bureaus and other suppliers. Such a seminar is beneficial for both sides, because it helps to improve the understanding for the needs of each party. On top of that, ICCA manage to deliver great content about trends in the meeting industry, and we even tried some quite interesting interactive meeting and event techniques (e.g. a fishbowl discussion) which are a source of inspiration of our own meeting planning.

The meeting in Frankfurt was very professionally facilitated by Gary Grimmer from Melbourne. Nikki Walker with MCI gave a presentation about the art and science of new media for association communities, a topic that most of associations are struggling with quite a bit currently. One of the take-aways was her suggestion to encourage multilingual comments on Facebook, because with Google translate, those comments can be of value and understandable for other users.

Next on the agenda was Dr. Ajay Kakar from India. This gentleman is not only the Secretary of the International Academy of Periodontology, he is also a dentist, a Cobalt programmer, a designer of his own virtual trade show tailored to the Indian market (!), an extremely nice person and a magician, too, as we could experience over the dinner 😉

We had a very good time together, and it was very interesting to share his experience about virtual events that really work. When setting the event up, he found the biggest problem was to get the exhibitors to deliver the right content in the right format. That should not be underestimated when planning a virtual or hybrid event. The main reason for him to test a virtual show at all was that his exhibitors were actually demanding it. They were pushing him to limit the number of real-life events to a reasonable amount, while at the same time offering the opportunity to reach out to an audience also in remote places in India. Ultimately, he had to take into account the limited bandwidth in rural India, and develop a system that was not too flashy and would work in those places, too. What he presented was a straight-forward, easy-to-use and easy-to-setup tool that serves the purposes in his market ideally. I’ll be curious to follow the success of this venture!

The second day featured a presentation by Elling Hamso, European Event ROI Institute. He presented the Event ROI pyramid, which is based on the concept that an event can only be successful, financially or otherwise, if it actually motivates the participants to DO something differently after the event, to apply what they’ve learned and to change behavior. Elling suggested some ways to measure this impact that are easy to implement, really. I am sure I’ll go through my event and trade show surveys to modify them accordingly! I particularly liked the stylish way how Elling sent everyone of us an email after the event with 10 recommendations how we could maximize the networking and learning experience from the seminar.

The afternoon of the second day was dedicated to interactive sessions about what meeting planners require from destinations, and what destination suppliers really want from planners to improve cooperation.

For the third day, a self-propelled session was planned, so the late afternoon on Sunday was used to prepare this. Elling came up with the great idea to create a fishbowl session, and a suitable topic for this was quickly identified: What do events have to look and feel like in the future in order to attract “Gen Y”, a totally networked and tech-savvy generation? It was great to be part of this experience, not only because it delivered great results, but also because it proved once more that these kind of interactive, un-conference-style events really work. Click on the video below to see Bruce Redor from Gary’s team explain how it works.

All in all, this weekend was a wonderful experience that I had the pleasure to share with a bunch of nice, professional and very dedicated people from the worldwide ICCA community -I look forward to taking part again in 2012! Thanks to ICCA for facilitating this exchange.

Virtual Events: A feature from Certain Events Management Software

The company Certain Events just launched a service called Certain Virtual. Clearly, it shows in which direction the technology’s heading: It will not be a big deal in the future to set up virtual trade shows and conferences, at least it won’t be from a technology point of view.

Now, is that a good or a bad thing for us event organizers and marketers? Hard to say. But I do believe it is wise to pursue the track of hybrid events, whereever it makes sense.

You can find a previous blog post about virtual technology, and another one on some interesting virtual events statistics.

================= Deutsche Version ======================

Die Firma Certain Events hat gerade einen neuen Service namens Certain Virtual vorgestellt. Das zeigt ganz klar, wohin die Reise in Sachen Technologie geht: Künftig wird es keine große Sache mehr sein, eine virtuelle Messe oder Konferenz zu organisieren, zumindest nicht was die Technologie angeht.

Ist das jetzt gut oder schlecht für uns Veranstalter und Event-Vermarketer? Schwer zu sagen. Ich glaube aber, dass man das Thema Hybrid-Events durchaus verfolgen sollte, wo auch immer es Sinn macht.

Hier findest Ihr einen früheren Blogeintrag von mir über Technologie für virtuelle Events. Und ein paar interessante statistische Daten zur Entwicklung virtueller Veranstaltungen.

Virtual trade shows: Where are we today?

Honestly, I am not a big fan of virtual trade shows. I am
convinced they will not replace face-to-face meetings. Still, it makes sense to check
out where the technology for virtualization of trade shows stands today.

By the way, in January 2009, the US-based magazine “Editor & Publisher” launched
their Newspaper Industry Virtual Expo. The
setup and look-and-feel was quite impressive, however, they
discontinued eventually. They used a white label solution and
customized it.

============ Deutsche Version ==============

Ich bin ehrlich gesagt kein großer Fan von virtuellen Messen. Und
ich bin überzeugt, dass sie den persönlichen Kontakt nicht ersetzen
werden. Dennoch lohnt es sich zu verfolgen, wo die Technik für die Virtualisierung von Messen heute steht.

Im Januar 2009 organisierte übrigens das US-Fachmagazin “Editor & Publisher” die
Newspaper Industry Virtual Expo. Das
sah recht beeindruckend aus, aber sie haben das Projekt schließlich
eingestellt. Es wurde eine White-Label Lösung verwendet und im
Look-and-Feel angepasst.