Technology is transforming the way we are doing events and will continue to evolve in the events industry. In the past decade, we have all seen a major shift and dependency on various event technology tools and software. the latest of all was the tectonic shift to the virtual event platform!
With the rise of virtual events, digital literacy skills are under the spotlight for those who weren’t equipped with the new tech and trends. Hence, the importance of being digitally literate is quite essential.
And hence, we chose this topic for our new podcast episode #EventTalks Ep6 with our guest speaker Pauline Kwasniak.
Pauline is an Internationally celebrated public speaker and entrepreneur. She is also a digital marketing strategist and a content producer for the MICE industry for quite a long time.
Having founded female event planners agency, Pauline has been putting a great emphasis on narrating the stories of female event planners in the industry
In this episode, we got a chance to learn a great deal about digital literacy skills and how are virtual events driving those skills.
So our first question to Pauline was, With the onset of the pandemic we saw a great rise in virtual events, so how have virtual events helped people become digitally smarter or skilled?
Statistically speaking if we look at the figures of Zoom users in 2017 there were a million users and fast-forwarding to March 2020 the figure was at 200 million users.
This showcases how many people are using technology and have become tech-savvy in order to meet, talk, and present. Digital literacy skill isn't just about how you use the technology but about how you find the information, select the information, ensure security and safety, building the relationships online & most of all fitting in the digital culture i,e, having a social understanding of how the digital works.
People who have never participated in online events before or have to download an app to attend an event or never collaborated on social media would lack these digital literacy skills.
Next we moved on to our next question i.e. How can event organizers make UI and UX user friendly and create an experience which is inclusive for all kinds of attendees.
User experience is an utmost essential element when it comes to the digital or virtual event experience. You have to understand that an online event starts with a landing page, an invitation, a registration page which then progresses to the payment page. So this entire process has to be simplified and it has to has a good user flow.
Even for the pre-event UX experience should be easy and flowy. I think the right solution is to use one event technology provider which could provide you with the various add-ons you require to successfully execute a virtual conference and create an amazing online experience.
With the UX we have to remember that Exhaustion can also be seen as a disability meaning that when we are exhausted, we all experience frustration. 15% of people globally are some who have some disability, so that’s also important not to exclude them from the UX experience.
Better the UX, better attraction it gets your event!
Jumping onto the next question, how will it take for people to become totally tech-savvy as far as virtual events are concerned?
So when it comes to virtual events, we are always going to need experts. If you want to have a really amazing virtual and hybrid event, and you have to streamline it on youtube, Instagram live, etc) but if you are doing a corporate event, you are going to need tech experts.
So there’s a difference in being technically savvy and digital savvy and there’s a difference between experts and AV experts and we need them for virtual tech events.
In terms of embracing online and digital, that change has happened very quickly since it’s consumer led. So whatever comes from the customers we take and embrace it very easily and quickly.
When it comes to technology, we have already spoken about what is the next big thing be, but there are still people that lack digital literacy skills, so it is very important to include the education and treat this as language teaching step by step.
Moving on, Hybrid events are said to be the next big thing in 2021. For people who have finally become aware of digital technology, what will their transition to hybrid events be like
Hybrid events are harder than fully digital events. Because you have 2 components, one is your physical audience and the other is the widely virtual audience.
And then comes the difficult part to engage with both the audiences. I truly believe all the corporate events, company events, sales events moving forward are going to be hybrid.
Looking at the pandemic, clients are generally preferring to opt for Virtual Events, so the need for digitalisation comes from the customers. Corporate event planners are upgrading themselves in terms of technology due to this
It’s a necessity to reach out to more people but at the same time it is difficult you need experts, you need better technology and you have to be very mindful of how you look and act.
I honestly believe that sound is more important than visual. If you have good sound even if the visual breaks, the audience is still going to be engaged.
The last question of the podcast was, what will be the future of the events industry in terms of technology?
I 100% believe that the next step is virtual and augmented reality when it comes to the events industry. If you are having a huge high scale conference with speakers who are unable to fly to the destination, VR and AR augment the virtual conference for them to make feel they are present in a real event. This can also be quite useful for medical conferences to showcase the 3D models of a new breakthrough or human body and medical training.
We still have a long way to go but I think that’s the next normal.
Hybrid Events is a necessity for future, you can reach more audience but at the same time it is difficult, it has to be practiced, you have to be very mindful of how you act and present
Stay tuned with us for more such informational and educative episodes with industry experts.
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