When you hear the term “virtual event,” what springs to mind?
For some, it might simply be a series of webinars that they can attend by logging in to a portal. For others, it could be watching a curated stream like a tv production online, perhaps with a virtual stage, whilst someone else may envisage an exhibition recreated in the digital realm.
As experts in virtual events here at Gravit8 , we’d be inclined to say that all of those examples count as virtual events – as well as everything else in between!
However, our decades of event experience, as well as recent market research findings, have indicated that there are three particular kinds of platforms that brands should consider for their upcoming events because of what they can offer:
- Webinar and video room software
- Streaming and stream curation
- Whole Event Platforms (2 or 3D)
While each have their own benefits and usages, the important question you will need to ask yourself is: which of these is the best platform for my virtual event?
Read on to find out...
3 types of virtual event platform that brands need to consider:
1. Webinar software
Some of the simpler/least costly virtual events that brands can hold are simple Webinars, which are essentially made up of two basic components (video meetings and streamed speakers). These are mainly used for lectures, presentations and workshops, and where budget is a constraint, or engagement/excitement is not necessarily required.
- Typically inexpensive.
- Allows for passive presentations, and other live streaming.
- Allows for post-presentation Q&A sessions.
- Can provide opportunities for interaction with other people.
- Often a very poor representation of the “wow” of real live physical events.
- Not really an “event” as such, but more a collection of zoom calls and non-produced/curated streams.
- Generally, the platforms are flat, plain 2D websites which are often only tailored to the brand/event by a single logo. This can often make the event feel very dull /flat/un-inspired/off the shelf, and is for from the engaging vibrant events we all know and love from the physical world.
- Whilst they can be a “cost effective” solution for some minor events, they can often look and feel very boring; particularly once you’ve attended more than one! Research has shown that Zoom fatigue is very much real, and most standalone webinar platforms do very little to combat that feeling.
- No opportunity to differentiate, no use of design, architecture or graphics to differentiate your brand, or immerse audiences in your brand/event.
2. Streaming and stream curation
A fully produced stream can be a great option for businesses who just want to deliver live or pre-recorded video content to their audience at their event.
Stream production/curation provides these streams with the professionalism of a TV production. Curated streams make for more interesting visual presentations than simply a person presenting from their own webcam, with the support of elements like overlaid stats and graphics, virtual stages and backdrops and the ability to switch between locations and presenters.
However, streams only really cater for delivering video information at your event. By itself, a stream is not really an “event.” Streams do not include any interaction (apart from perhaps a simple poll), and by their nature they are a passive, one-way medium.
- Great for presentations or keynotes.
- High quality streams make for more engaging content delivery than simply watching a presentation from someone on their own webcam.
- Ability to put in (passive) branding.
- Not an “event” as much as a video/presentation.
- Standalone, it does not provide networking/communication opportunities, so little/no interaction with other people.
- No graphics or virtual spaces available to create an immersive or interactive experience for the brands or their audiences.
- Can be costly.
3. 2D/3D Whole Event Platforms
2D/3D platforms are generally graphics led. These can be made to look just like a full-scale event venue with reception desks, booths, exhibition stands and more, that can be explored through a computer, tablet or smartphone.
Generally, however, they do not have integrated live embedded meeting room functionality that can be dropped into at any time for one or more participants, or the means to host any professional streaming production.
- Can include the two event types above within its remit, as well as cater for much more: Trade shows/exhibitions/demo rooms/experience centres/showrooms/retail spaces etc.
- “Feels” far more like an IRL (in real life) event for the visitors (people and event/brand staff are available to interact with, physical spaces are there to explore, there is content to engage with and so on).
- Proven to be more engaging, dynamic and interesting than “another flat 2D website or webinar.”
- Allows full and bespoke branding for your event, including content, architecture and graphics (size and scale) to differentiate from the “digital noise.”
- Allows for visitors and organisers to communicate and network.
- A myriad of opportunities for takeaway content, analytics and data on all interactions and more.
- Not many suppliers/platforms provide complete solutions, which means they can be tricky to find.
- There are very few suppliers who actually know the IRL events worlds that they are trying to replicate/digitise.
- Can be costly, and difficult to spec up or define a price for.
- Can have a longer lead time, as they are specifically tailored to your brand/event and customised to your needs.
… Why not all three?
As outlined above, each of the first two types of online “events” have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the third can not only include and combines the first two event types, but also provides so much more as a whole.
The best platform for virtual events will allow you to create an incredible experience that is not simply read or watched and goes as far as possible to replicating – and in many ways surpass – the IRL event medium!
The solution? Gravit8!
Gravit8's virtual event platform solution is designed and built by events people, for events people and brands that want to communicate in a refreshing and vibrant way online, as they did in the physical realm.
It not only allows the benefits of both streaming and webinars, but adds staffing and customer/staff interaction, allows for showroom and retail spaces as well as trade shows, exhibitions, seminars, or meetings.
It provides “physical spaces” online, with fully bespoke branding and around a proven toolset for brand communications. In fact (as far as we know), Gravit8 Software currently the only solution available that does so!
Just some of these elements include:
- a full-blown, branded 3D experience that visitors can explore like a physical show
- events or showrooms that can be staffed live by your employees
- private meeting rooms where exhibitors and delegates can network
- live conferencing with Q&A opportunities
- peer-to-Peer networking and “business speed dating” functions
- fully flexible streaming and stream production (by the same in-house team)
- live, real-time analytics for organizers and exhibitors
- scalability to suit your event goals and budget, whether for a single event or your whole global programme
… and much more.
Looking for the best virtual event platform for your upcoming events?
If you think that Gravit8 might just tick all the boxes for your virtual event needs, be sure to get in touch and we’ll be glad to arrange a free demonstration of the platform with you!