With COVID-19 pandemic continuing to grow, leading to extended lockdown all over the country, businesses have witnessed massive disruptions. Companies are forced to rethink their business strategies as well as the ways to communicate with their employees and customers. One of the worst-hit areas has been industry events and tech conferences where the majority of the businesses have cancelled their events due to the pandemic. These massive cancellations of events and conferences have indeed impacted the bottom line of the companies. Therefore, businesses are now turning towards organising virtual conferences and online events following the norms of social distancing.
Several tech giants like AWS, IBM, NVIDIA, Apple have digitised their events in ways that can be suitable for attendees in the current times and beyond. Microsoft has also recently moved its developer’s conference online, alongside Google has digitised its Cloud Next event. Not only virtual conferencing comes with reduced cost but also provides opportunities for attendees and speakers to network with a broad range of audience. Joining the trend, Analytics India Magazine has also recently launched their one-of-a-kind virtual conference — plugin, for data science professionals where they are bringing in the best minds of the analytics and AI industry to talk about cutting-edge innovations in a distinctive virtual setting.
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With work from home becoming the new norm, virtual conferences provide the ability to attend conferences and events at the comfort of home, and therefore, have gained massive traction among attendees. Although it might lack a few features of in-person events, with more businesses are moving towards digitisation, this trend of the virtual conference will continue to grow even after the pandemic fades.
Virtual conferences a new era of events
This pandemic, although created several challenges for businesses but indeed forced them to rethink the way their business has been operating. Studies have revealed that by the end of this year, 80% of internet traffic would be from virtual conferencing. Nobody can ignore the potential benefits of virtual conferences like plugin — not only it allows attendees to learn from the best minds from the comfort of their home but also eliminates costs related to travel and accommodation.
This enforced lockdown has also led to the cancellation of major tech events, which, in turn, has impacted the bottom line of the businesses. According to a report, the direct economic loss from the cancellation of significant tech conferences like Google I/O, Facebook’s F8 event, Mobile World Congress, to name a few, due to the pandemic, has surpassed $1.1 billion. Post the pandemic; businesses would concentrate on cutting down costs along with keeping their relevance in the industry, and therefore, businesses would likely opt for virtual conferences to keep their finances stable. Cutting down the in-person costs will also allow organisers to invest more on speakers and panellists, which will, in turn, provide comprehensive learning for attendees.
Alongside, virtual conferences like plugin provide a global exposure to attendees, which means that attendees are able to connect with a larger cohort of professionals, speakers and panellists from all over the world with the help of the online platform. Going back to normal, it is difficult to accept that attendees would only be interested in attending local in-person events where people need to be physically present. Also, in-person events come with restrictions in the number of attendees, however going virtual will have no such restrictions. This again can gain traction among businesses that are continuously looking to host a maximum number of people in their tech conferences.
Another important aspect of virtual conferencing that can help businesses in the post-pandemic world is the collected data that can be analysed to understand the performance of your conference. This valuable data can help businesses to track their attendees better to understand how each presentation and talks have been viewed, and can significantly make the virtual conference more engaging for their guests. Some of the other minor benefits of virtual conferring would include the ability to record sessions which provide opportunities for attendees to replay sessions anytime to reinforce their learning.
Besides, with passing time, people are getting more environmentally conscious, and therefore, people are reducing their corporate travel in order to decrease their carbon footprints. And that’s where remote conferencing tools come into picture which helps organisations in creating a virtual environment for attendees to potentially network and learn from the best minds.
Although there are several features of in-person events that can’t be replicated in virtual conferences, this trend indeed offers distinct opportunities that could be beneficial for both organisations as well as attendees over the long run. In the post-COVID world, with social distancing becoming a part of day-to-day life, virtual conferences will definitely become the norm in the future, if planned with proper strategies.
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