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‘The future’s made of virtual insanity’ — Jamiroquai wasn’t so far off when they penned that line, especially when you consider the meetings and events industry. Virtual integration has always been on the horizon for live events, but mostly as a novelty (e.g. Live-feed VIP cameo, VR headsets, etc). However, our recent dependency on virtual has made a big impact on our perceptions.

While we’ve all had more than our fair share of online meetings and the thought of one more is enough to make you seriously consider going off-grid, the truth is that we have been developing our virtual comfort level throughout. Gone is the awkwardness we felt at having our faces on screen, and at maintaining confidence through ‘muted’ reactions. We know how to do virtual now, and we’ve had time to process new ideas about the future of live events — and yes, it will be virtual insanity, in a good way!

To be sure, live, face-to-face events will always be the focus. Now, however, virtual programming will integrate more naturally into the live space, and in creative ways. Some of this integration will be necessary as recovering businesses manage costs, travel and logistical limitations. No matter the reason, the door is open for a slew of cost-effective and highly engaging virtual content for the future of meetings and events. How will this affect your events? Here are a few areas to consider:



No longer faces in the crowd, attendees will feel more comfortable being seen and actively taking part in the conversation. This will mean more opportunities to spotlight attendees, to create greater interaction via mobile devices, and to give virtual attendees a more meaningful experience.



The traditional role of the host is to maintain engagement while keeping the program moving smoothly. Getting the perfect host, however, has historically been an exercise in cost and logistics management. Our growing comfort level with virtual means that you can remote-in a charismatic host or even an A-List celebrity at a fraction of the cost. Virtual also opens the doors for a wide variety of supporting material such as special guest appearances, remote musical segments, and interactive look-ins for global events.



While entertainers have certainly had to adapt during these challenging times, entertainment has been a mainstay at getting us through — virtual concerts and festivals have boomed and audiences enjoy seeing candid, stripped-down performances by their most beloved artists. While nothing quite replaces the experience of being in the room with a band, we have certainly grown more comfortable with the two-dimensional version. Artists are more open to virtual opportunities as well. With cost and logistical challenges to consider, virtual entertainment is a realistic solution, especially if your event includes a large number of virtual attendees.


Our growing comfort level with virtual platforms means that virtual integration into live meetings & events will be much more focused and inspired than ever before. As live meetings and events begin to make their triumphant return, chances are pretty good that we’ll see some creative uses of virtual programming sprinkled in.


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