Monday, July 25, 2011

Make Mine Virtual?

For all the buzz about virtual and hybrid events, the rate of adoption seems to have slowed a bit. While some organizations have dipped their toes in the water, others don’t want to touch this area. So says a new study by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, with collaboration from the Center for Exhibition Industry research, and consulting companies Relate and Tagoras. The survey group consisted of executives at organizations that produce events, including for-profit and not-for-profit.

One of the findings struck a chord with me.

It seems that, although attendees say that live streaming content is their favorite type of virtual (so is mine), a lot of organizers are reluctant to go that direction. Why? Resource and technology concerns . Issues include staff time needed to execute a virtual event, cost, quality of experience, complexity of the technology and inadequate interest from attendees, exhibitors or sponsors.

That’s really too bad, but I understand their feelings. Live streaming can be cool, but also fraught with problems. How many times have you logged onto a live event, and either couldn’t see or hear what’s happening? Or you couldn’t see the slides that are being discussed? Or maybe the talent just doesn’t understand how to engage a virtual audience.

Don’t get me wrong. I think as we keep working on this, it will get better. And there will be multiple benefits for all. But I’m not sure we’re quite there yet.

What do you think?