How to plan important events online?
Henry Hall, CrowdComms Head of Business Development, will present 'Events and the Carbon Footprint Conundrum'
Henry Hall, Head of Business Development at CrowdComms, will present a Knowledge Program session at IBTM World entitled 'Events and the Carbon Footprint Conundrum', delving into the world of hybrid events in an interactive session packed with exclusive information and tangible examples, with the aim of informing the choices of event planners. Here, Henry looks at how online events have evolved, how to make online events meaningful, and what events of the future might look like.
How can you build meaningful communities in an online environment?
Technology has allowed humanity to connect for thousands of years. For example, the invention of fire went hand in hand with the growth of human civilization. Creating a space for people to come together, communicate and share is, in concept, no different today in the digital sphere than it was then for our hunter-gatherer predecessors. The first step is to create the space, the second is to foster acceptance and adoption, and finally, to increase the contribution and participation of members to extract meaning from the environment.
These conceptual foundations are good pillars to structure your methodology when creating an online community. Instead of a rack of ribs to congregate with, your users need quality content, instead of grunting and pointing, they need 1:1 video calls and push notifications. We can lead and encourage user behaviors by embracing technology and using it to influence activities, whether it be networking, content sharing, or content creation. The technology you choose to build your community must have the functionality to act as a conduit for communication and participation.
What does a 360 degree event mean?
The lines between work and home life have blurred since the pandemic, as has the notion of a single, stand-alone event. Live events are a great time to connect with old connections and develop new ones. The 360 event is a never-ending event, where conversation can happen outside of the initial experience, with regular touchpoints to incentivize future engagement and on-demand content while marketing other opportunities targeting similar communities. The digital transformation in home and work life that we are experiencing is a testament to the change in our behaviors and serves as a prime example of how our concepts of an event will change.
Some people thrive in remote work and networking situations, while others are less enthusiastic. How can event planners support both types of users?
It is no surprise that this digital revolution of which we are a part presents many challenges for us. From digital fatigue and the absence of a familiar human connection to a lack of engaging content and a poor user experience, many of us feel resilient, challenged, and downright bored with the virtual networking environment. Others see the accessibility and sustainability benefits of having ten meetings a day in the comfort of a pair of sweatpants. Understanding these user group benefits and challenges is essential when developing a remote network tool.
CrowdComms is focused on finding solutions to these challenges, which involves creative thinking about how we can tweak functionality to make it more appealing. Smart Sessions, which we launched in 2022, is a great example of this. We were tired of watching content alone in a virtual plenary room, so we enabled our software to encourage viewing parties and spontaneous networking. We are always thinking about what new tools we can develop to increase meaningful connections and how we can advise clients to prepare their communities for future technological developments.
What do you see on the horizon for the future of event technology?
There are many exciting technological developments in the pipeline for both live and virtual events. Every week I hear about a new technology designed to enhance the event experience. I think biometrics will become more common in the physical environment, as well as trends towards immersive rooms and live digital spaces to connect different user groups. Then there's the Metaverse, and what a dystopian but truly liberating concept that is! Statistics show that the average 18-24 year old in the UK spends over 50% of their waking hours on a computer, already participating in the metaverse (with poor graphics) that is today's Internet.