The successful move to virtual presentations for London Tech Week Connects, back in June, inspired September’s London Tech Week to go ahead as a fully virtual event.
In June, when the country was still locked-down due to the pandemic, London Tech Connects was able to be held as an entirely virtual event over 4 days. Running from 9 June to 12 June it served as a confidence-boosting example that this month’s London Tech Week could be held the same way, despite the many challenges.
London Tech Connects used Zoom calls for each of the events and used the event management platform from ‘Grip’ support the even. This allows the asking of questions, polling and networking.
Grip’s event management (networking) platform uses AI to match attendee profiles against every event participant. It replaces business cards with an engagement and networking solution.
Leading on from the example set in June, this month’s London Tech Week again used Zoom. This time Swapcard provided the networking and matchmaking.
Technology and events commentators have noted that because of the effects of the pandemic, the events industry is unlikely to be the same again. With huge numbers of people now signed-up to (and being familiar with) Zoom due to the lockdown, virtual events, such as London Tech week, can now expect plenty of attendees. For example, for June’s event, 8,000 attendees registered. Other important reasons why virtual events may be advantageous in the future are that:
- Attendees can network with more people.
- Speakers do not have to be physically present at a virtual event. It becomes more convenient, less hassle and less expensive for the speaker (no long flights and hotel bookings required). This could also mean that some higher profile speakers may be available.
However, it is important to remember that large virtual events still require a great deal of organisation and incur many costs e.g. for productions crews, moderators, speakers and more.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
The need to communicate, collaborate, meet, and work virtually during the lockdown, and the realisation that it can be done virtually, appears to have accelerated digital transformation. In the post-pandemic uncertainty, it is likely that events will have at least some virtual elements to them.
Holding a virtual event can be beneficial to businesses and exhibitors because it allows for more networking and does not require the expense time lost in travel. This, however, does not benefit hotels and other bricks and mortar businesses that would normally benefit from big events.
For exhibitors and organisers, virtual events allow them to get more attendees from around the world, book high profile guest speakers, and gather more data about attendees. It is likely, therefore, that as businesses and whole sectors that used to rely on attracting large physical crowds to a single location try to find new ways to survive and progress, digital and virtual solutions will provide some way forward.
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