The chatter coming from my leaders and colleagues here at Hubilo has asked a tough and even controversial question about virtual events. Are they even working? And the answers are all over the place. From data demonstrating there’s definitely a problem to industry peers who declare “it depends” on many factors, the question remains: should virtual events work like in-person experiences?
As the events director for Hubilo, I’m finally speaking out. After watching and waiting behind the scenes as all this debate flies back and forth, I’ve had an insider look into our answer - the answer - to the question of if virtual events can work. The time has come for me to let the secret out, which is…
I think the best way to do this tell-all about how Hubilo’s new Enhanced Sessions are built for you to feel like you’re at an in-person event is to think through how our attendees experience events. Let’s kick things off by imagining that we’re walking up to a set of doors where a sign shows up that we’re in the right place for the next item on our agenda.
As you walk through the doors into a room set up for an event session, you see a sea of tables spread around. There are many open seats, and all you need to do is select one with a good view of the stage.
In Hubilo’s Immersive Layout, as you enter the virtual session you’ll find the central content screen surrounded by illustrated tables (just like in real life!). Based on your profile and preferences, you’ll be rapidly placed at one of the tables where you and everyone else can spot your avatar clearly as the action on stage begins.
Now that you’ve settled into your space, it’s time to find a friendly face (or two, or several)! At an in-person event, now’s the part where you scan the room to see if you recognize anyone or, if you’re the outgoing type, you may spot someone looking for a place to sit and beckon them over to sit with you. You stand, raise your hand in a gentle wave, and call out to get their attention.
Table Interactions in Hubilo’s Enhanced Sessions lets you make these same connections virtually! As you spot an attendee, use the chat panel to @ mention them to grab their attention. Your mention will appear over your avatar at your Hubilo table, as well as in the chat, so your new buddy can easily find you and join you at your table.
In addition to chats, your reactions to the session content will also hover over your avatar so others can see how you’re responding and join in.
In a traditional in-person event session, Q&A portions of the agenda are set up with either a wandering or static microphone in the audience. Attendees can approach and ask a prepared question for the room to hear and for the speaker or panel to answer.
This same effect happens in Hubilo’s Enhanced Sessions with pinned comments and questions. Event hosts and organizers can pin your words right on the screen, whether you post it in the chat or on the Q&A tab. Your insight or query is amplified for the whole session’s attention, and you become part of the content!
You know that every attendee has their own way of focusing on event content. Some tables in your sessions are chattering way about the speakers and slides, while others are quieter with audience members zeroed in on what they’re hearing and seeing from the stage. The important part is that each person can craft their own experience.
With Theater Mode, Hubilo event attendees can immediately bring the session content into full focus and move the chats, tables, and other activities to the hidden side panel. With the click or tap of the screen, when the attendee wants to see how the rest of the room is responding to the content they can easily expand the global side bar to catch the action or change back to normal mode.
Can you see why I was so excited to spill the beans about what is now possible for Hubilo events? But this is all talk, and I want to show you how these features can make your attendees feel in your events.
Just as Hubilo’s current customers are now able to use these Enhanced Session features for their events, you have my special invitation to give them a spin on October 20 at NEXT. Here, let me show you.