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Why Immersive Engagement is the Future of Eventsby@sarahevans
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Why Immersive Engagement is the Future of Events

by sarahevansFebruary 16th, 2022
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Two years into a global pandemic and there’s no slowing the virtual events market. The space is expected to reach $500 billion by 2028 and the desire to better engage as a new remote society is just at the tip of the iceberg. In-person events were hit hard by the pandemic, resulting in a huge shift to virtual. In 2022, we’ll see more attention to design detail that allows for additional flexibility in virtual spaces. An end-to-end customization experience in the virtual world provides event managers with several benefits.

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Hybrid events are predicted to dominate 2022

Two years into a global pandemic and there’s no slowing the virtual events market. The space is expected to reach $500 billion by 2028 and the desire to better engage as a new remote society is just at the tip of the iceberg.

In-person events were hit hard by the pandemic, resulting in a huge shift to virtual and, ultimately, a need to innovate the user experience. Engagement is among the most critical factors to elevate the user experience from good to great and is widely regarded by marketers as the most important ingredient for a successful event. Despite this fact, engagement solutions are few and far between.  

Amidst the pandemic, event organizers tapped into software solutions like Zoom to stay afloat but, after a while, it left little to be inspired. As the permanency of remote life sinks in, industry leaders are naturally reevaluating how they remotely engage with audiences as event attendees demand more from virtual events in our new decentralized world. Now, new-to-market event platforms are offering features that cater to specific event types. 

One company leading the space (and recent Series B announcement) is event-led engagement platform Airmeet. I met with their team to find out more about how they are leveraging virtual spaces to elevate the digital experience for multi-format events such as virtual webinars, hybrid large-scale conferences, trade shows, workshops, and more. In fact, their immersive engagement suite enabled over 120,000 event organizers to stream 150 million minutes of video to audiences around the globe in 2021. 

“Customer engagement has been fast evolving into a space that needs to go beyond the traditional channels. Brands have to start conversations and engage with customers without losing their human touch in the virtual space”

Lalit Mangal, co-founder of Airmeet.

Platforms specializing in engagement capabilities that can maximize the opportunity between virtual, IRL, and hybrid events are on the frontier in realizing what actually makes an event successful: conversation, connection, and customization. 

So how can anyone at any level or any organization use events in 2022?

REPLICATED VIRTUAL WORLDS

There are obvious challenges when it comes to navigating a virtual event like an in-person one. 

Advanced features that help replicate the physical format such as 1:1 interactions and immersive booths promote a seamless and interactive event-attendee experience. In 2022, we’ll see more attention to design detail that allows for additional flexibility in virtual spaces.

PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCES

An end-to-end customization experience in the virtual world provides event managers with several benefits. Personalization will be key from booth branding to monitoring attendee behaviour for targeted marketing segmentation. 

AI-POWERED CONNECTIONS

The end goal of events is often networking and building relationships. 

AI-driven technologies have the ability to customize networking sessions that prioritize attendees' matches for more efficient connections. It's a key differentiator to immersive experiences and making long-term connections.

The growth of remote collaboration and our decentralized world will only fuel the demand for more immersive, engaging and interactive experiences. As the event management community gears up for another year of virtual vs. hybrid vs. IRL, we’ll see immersive engagement emerge more intentionally as an industry focus area.