Virtual events are quickly becoming a consistent part of our lives, in the corporate world, in events, in universities, and more. Many people worldwide, from small companies to big corporations, are integrating virtual events into their everyday way of working.
And this isn’t simply to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and the face-to-face restrictions, either. Virtual events have been on the rise since 2019, with the sector estimated to have already been worth $78 billion at the time. These statistics only continue to rise through to 2022 and beyond.
The industry is now estimated to have a 23.2% growth rate until 2027. 88% of event organizers state they have held a virtual event within the last year, and 81% of organizers say that these virtual events provided opportunities they would not have had without them.
How’s that for a successful industry?
Given the current success rate with virtual events, it is a given that more and more companies are looking for a slice of the action. More and more of us are looking to virtual events software to help us bring our workplaces, institutions, and companies truly into the 21st century. We are looking for virtual events software to help us bring real-life interaction, communication, and work into the online sphere.
So how do we do that?
It’s much more than simply bringing people together via video call. Zoom calls aren’t cutting it anymore. Virtual events are bringing something new to the table of online communication entirely, and that is the aspect of “realness” brought to said communication. It isn’t people talking through a screen; people are brought together in a digital space that mimics how we communicate and interact in real life.
The most important question we have to look at is how do we make virtual events feel real?
Translation of Real Life Space
Zoom and Skype calls can only do so much to bring people together, and sometimes, as research and feedback are now suggesting, they can also be a force in making people feel more distant from each other and, indeed, lonelier.
The nature of picture to picture video calls is still very two-dimensional, which doesn’t represent our three-dimensional world.
The beauty of virtual events is that they can translate real-life space and movement within that space into the digital world.
For example, using virtual technology as an event platform for large corporate events allows you to use a fully functional event space that mimics how it would work in real life. With virtual technology such as PandaMR, you can have a virtual expo tool that allows you to organize an expo event within a multipurpose virtual space. You have access to an Expo Hall, Conference Room, Party Zone, multiple meeting rooms, and monetization zones. You have everything that you would have in a real-life expo setting.
This separation of zones allows for a more natural flow of movement and communication between participants. This feels much more “real” for everyone involved than it would if it were a more basic system of a main Zoom room and a couple of breakout rooms.
Translation of real-life space into digital space with virtual technology is changing the game entirely for digital communication.
People talk to and approach each other as individual and unique human beings in real life. Everyone has a constructed sense of self that is important to how they operate with others. Taking away any sense of identity is harmful to the quality of communication and interaction.
If we are stripped of our identity when we talk to others online, it won’t be the same experience as communicating with others in real life. We can easily feel isolated and distanced from each other. In fact, depersonalization as a mental health concern has even risen over the time period of COVID-19.
With virtual technology, online participants in events, meetings, and expos are given the power over their presenting identity back. You can have a little fun with it and even personalize your own avatar.
Virtual technology brings the personalization aspect of real-life into the virtual world. It helps people still feel that human aspect of communication that we all crave and need, even when it comes to large corporate event ideas. It isn’t a case of anonymous bots talking to each other; it is a case of our real-life identities readily translated and adapted for the virtual world.
Personalization can also refer to branding and putting your company stamp on things. Just as you would in the real world, with virtual technology, you can create your own stand design and concept to show to all your guests and visitors in the events you host.
Adding your own flair to things helps keep things consistent with the real world and allows you to continue with branding and marketing opportunities that you would have in the physical, brick and mortar world. With virtual technology, you aren’t missing any opportunities for connection or profit despite the new form and medium. Everything you need from the real world can come with you to the virtual world through the potential of a free virtual event platform.
Multiple Layers of Virtual Interaction
Virtual events are made real by including multiple layers of interaction and communication between participants. There isn’t only one stream of communication between two people at a time; there is a multi-source river of communication that can accommodate multiple layers of interaction at any given time.
In the world, we don’t only talk to each other in one-on-one conversations, and we don’t sit and watch other people have direct conversations while we stand in silence—especially not when we meet in groups and workspaces.
This aspect of conference calls makes it quite difficult for some people to actively participate in conversations for many reasons, some being the lack of visual cues and the need for more assertiveness than usual. Some people get left behind when we use conference calls, and the medium doesn’t allow each type of person to communicate and interact to their fullest potential.
Virtual events are entirely different from conferences and video calls. They more aptly reflect how humans communicate in real life, allowing for more active and balanced interaction between all participants. This is one of the main and important pros in a list of virtual events pros and cons.
Having a mix of live voice, text messaging, and video call features inside a larger context of meetings, webinars, panel discussions, private conversations, and more allow for a range of mixed and nuanced levels of communication between lots of different people. Just as there are multiple layers of real interaction in workplaces, corporate events, and expo events, there are equal opportunities for the same layers in virtual events.
Suppose we want people to communicate well and thrive in virtual environments. In that case, it is all about creating the same, equal level of opportunity for multi-faceted communication and interaction that exists in the real world. Anything flat or 2D just won’t cut it, and we will find our colleagues uninterested and distant.
If you have had a three-hour Zoom call or a breakout room where no one turns their camera on before, you will know exactly what I mean by that.
Feel Real Yet?
The need to make virtual events feel real is, well, real. We’ve seen from feedback and studies across the world that working from home, attending events from home, and learning from home needs to be managed in a specific way so that virtual events can remain akin to real-world communication and interaction.
We know that if virtual meetings are left flat, dull, and 2D, they simply don’t work. They don’t engage people, don’t make sales, and don’t encourage users to interact in the all-important ways they do in the real outside world.
Virtual technology such as PandaMR’s hybrid event platform is the way forward for bringing the real world home with us. Its translation of real-life space into virtual space helps us navigate virtual meetings in a way that feels authentic and vibrant. Its ability to allow users to personalize their virtual appearance and identity helps people feel connected to the human aspect of communication even while using technology. And its multitude of layers of interaction helps virtual events feel as complex and diverse as physical work, event, and study spaces.
It is a new era of technology, and it is rewriting how we communicate with each other on all sorts of stages, and that seems to be something that we globally need.