Covid 19 has changed the world of events and with conference venues not allowed to reopen until October at the earliest here in the UK, we need to adapt to a new way of staying connected. The team at Venuefind have been working with clients to find solutions to continue to facilitate conference and events…but virtually. We have reviewed and shared our opinions on some of the solutions available today.
1. Communique Conferencing
Pros: Communique offers an incredibly customisable 3D virtual conference platform where participants can visit & engage with exhibitor booths as well as take part in live, interactive sessions, Utilize polls, live Q&A sessions, webinars and other attendee engagement features. This gives your participants that face-to-face experience that many online events make the mistake of leaving out. They have a variety of package options from virtual theatres for webinars to networking lounges for attendees. A great option for event organisers who may host multiple events each year and are used to using zoom.
- Setup process is very easy and the user interface is simple.
- Performance data is accessible.
- It has attendance features where attendees can engage with others.
Cons: Many of the advanced features are not available. If you are tired of Zoom it’s the next-best option.
Overall: It makes meetings and webinars easy to go virtual and hybrid. Our personal favourite is the attendance features – attendees can engage and network with sponsors, event hosts and each other.
Pros: If you host a lot of (offline) events and are looking for a platform where you can manage everything (except the event itself), Hopin is your cup of tea. Once the event is live you can add different stages or booths. This is one of the best features in our opinion. A delegate could join the conference at a distance too. They don’t have to be in your venue. They could create a dedicated booth to livestream from and answer questions from participants exclusively via the livestream.
Cons: The pay as you go plan is great if you host a onetime event in the future. But If you organise an event every month with at least 50 to 100 attendees it can get very pricey. Also, they charge a 7% fee if you sell tickets through the platform
Overall: Hopin is a hybrid & virtual conference platform that aims to replicate the experience of a physical event, providing the opportunity for attendees to learn, interact and network. Users can choose modules to create online event experiences including event staging, event meetings, booths and registration to name a few. The Key features that were very useful include ‘sessions’ that allows users to join gatherings with others, raise their hand and ask questions, and ‘networking’ that provide the opportunity for organisers to put groups together depending on who they would like to network with.
Pros: Remo helps provide an in-person networking experience – online, easy to use and set up only takes 15 seconds (no software to download, get started in your browser). Unique key features include:
- Offering strategic brand placement opportunities.
- Allowing the sponsor to capture email addresses that click on their sponsor booth for them to network with.
- attendees can view LinkedIn profiles and book meetings during conversations.
Cons: To enjoy the full Remo experience, you will have to use Google Chrome. There is also no mobile app for the platform and no option to record live events without using third party software. Also, you can’t directly charge for events on the platform unless via other software’s like Eventbrite.
Overall: Remo creates an authentic, fun experience with all the benefits of a face-to-face conference at a fraction of cost and time. A basic plan costs as little as $50 per month. Attendees can interact with one another in real time, by joining one of the many tables in the virtual conference space and even features sofa areas to facilitate more informal conversations. We found that I was able to have a live Q&A session to maximise attendee engagement and host a chat function that allows participants to ask questions or vote in real time, during speaker presentations. This means presenters on the platform can engage with their attendees immediately.
4. Virtway Events Technology
Pros: Virtwey Events Technology is a Spanish Hybrid and Virtual Platform. A conference organised in a 3D virtual environment to create a game-like platform in which you could walk/explore exactly as if you were in a real conference. 3D avatars and 3D VOIP technology allow attendees to interact with one another in a natural way – being able to talk, react and move around as they would in the physical world. For instance, should two attendees wish to discuss an issue in private, they’ll be able to break away from a larger group to find an appropriate location out of earshot of other participants; something which isn’t easily done when video conferencing. We found a major positive of this platform is that you can access the it not only from tablets and computers, but also from a mobile phone.
Cons: We had a few crashes on IOS, or platform-specific problems on a Mac (Virtway currently only works on Catalina on the Mac; it also works on PC and promises to work on VR headsets soon)
Overall: Using the most advanced 3D technology in the world, Virtway Events can place your virtual avatar in the same room as your colleagues, your profile is accessible via your avatar, and you can include your LinkedIn/professional bio and photo as well. Delegates, or exhibition attendees can converse face-to-face and interact, even though you are seated at your computer in your home office.
You will be able to walk around the virtual event space to your heart’s content, interacting with other users and surroundings, whether you are attending a small meeting or a massive career fair; it is a completely unique 3D experience in the hybrid & virtual events sector and the options are endless.
Pros: vFairs is a virtual & Hybrid events platform that helps organisations of all sizes to take their events online and connect & engage audiences at scale using tools like live webinars, group chat, private 1:1 chat & digital content. vFairs delivers a visually rich experience with an online environment that mimics a physical event. It powers events like virtual job fairs, online conferences/summits, trade shows, exhibitions, university open days, onboarding fairs & much more…
vFairs is not just a software, it’s a service. Their reps will walk you through all the steps for the creation of an online event. We most liked their speed and accuracy – any time we needed to change something, even during our event, they would have it done within minutes. It was also incredibly great value for money, and they even give you a discount on your next event if you refer another company.
Cons: Participants names still appear present even if they leave a room by clicking to another room. It makes it confusing for the booth operator to know who is actually still in their room. A few of the online features were a little limited – such as the chatroom functionality which made a sound to indicate when a new person was chatting but lacked the ability to see where the new conversation was taking place (we had several chat streams running at once which made this a little tricky).
Overall: vFairs allowed us to have a very successful conference and expo online as part of a team building strategy. It was the first internal conference, and the first virtual expo experience. Highly recommended. The staff are a great help and they reacted quickly to any problem we had with the software and found a solution.
If you would like to know more about these solutions or are interested in impementing them for your own event, get in touch.