Could Virtual Events Replace Physical Events Permanently In The Tech Industry?
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, people had to reduce physical contact to minimise the risk of infections, thus, leading to sporadic growth in remote working and virtual events. There were also many other impacts of the pandemic on the tech sector like economic strain and massive layoffs.
However, in every situation, there is likely an opportunity. Identifying and taking advantage of these opportunities is what is important. In this article, we will explore how the tech industry can focus more on virtual events.
First, it is important to understand that virtual events can be loosely used to categorise all events that are not physical. Events that people can attend remotely. Thus, it is not limited to video conferences and such things as large group chats and podcasts can fall under this category.
Before the pandemic that turned 2020 around, virtual events have always existed. Many companies host regular webinars which are great substitutes for physical events. Also, people who could not be at physical events were allowed to stream them from various locations. An example is when Samsung invited participants to take a virtual tour of its CES 2019 Booth. Countless other events have been streamed live for more people to participate.
The examples above have undoubtedly yielded good results. More people were able to enjoy events and participate. Financial, geographical and other physical barriers like ill health were easily overcome. Yet, it is true that virtual events have their limits.
Limits of virtual events
The limitations on virtual events have to do with the fact that humans usually prefer the sensation that comes with touching. Truly, getting a hands-on experience of a gadget at a launch surely beats seeing images and listening to or reading reviews. Also, the chance to physically meet tech idols and big names would be defeated. This is an aspect of events that people really look forward to.
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There are also some challenges that bad or poor network connection could cause. If a broadcaster is streaming with a superfast network, like an advanced 4G LTE or 5G, listeners from other parts of the world using a poorer connection may not enjoy the event. Images and sounds may lag and not give an overall good experience.
Also, there is the possibility that an unplanned surge of listeners streaming at the same time could stress the servers. We have seen cases where companies’ servers crashed like Epic Games and even Facebook complained about this happening to its own.
Yet, there are possible solutions to these limitations on virtual events. They may take longer to achieve but some of them are:
— 3D technology that gives an almost physical feel.
— Deploying good network infrastructures worldwide (this may require laying more optical fibres and building network towers).
— Improving internet servers and also grouping streamers to reduce surge and strain.
Virtual events possibilities and advantages in the tech industry
The advantages of a more virtual event-inclined tech world are endless. Barriers that exist at this time would be lifted effortlessly and more people would be receiving the same information at the same time. Costs of physical events like space rentals, ticket prices, logistics and so on would be cut greatly. There would be lesser risks of spreading infectious diseases, even when they are still unknown.
Speed is of the essence in the tech industry and virtual events would be achievable in lesser time than physical events take. So, organisations will be hosting events more frequently than before. It is likely that if the tech industry leads with focusing on virtual events, other sectors would be willing to follow suit. Reducing physical events to the barest minimum may not be enticing but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
All that tech firms leading the industry have to do is gradually replace the annual conferences with virtual versions. They could also reduce the number of physical attendees with the same gradual process. People would begin to adapt and see why virtual events are better.
This could open up a whole new industry for people who will specialise in ensuring that virtual events run smoothly. Thus, another avenue to employ people.
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