You have been attending virtual events or webinars over the last couple of months, and engaging in online events more often than before.
This seems to be the new way of meeting, but do you know when the first virtual event was invented? I did some research to find out this and it is very interesting as you will find out.
April, 1993. The first virtual event took place in April 1993 in a presentation to investors at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, United States. This was the first ‘virtual tradeshow’ and was presented by Alan Saperstein and Randy Selman from Visual Data Corporation. This company is today known as Onstream Media.
The company was videotaping trade show exhibitors booths and then attaching the videos to HTML floor maps.
Although ‘ConventionView’ was met with some early success the company closed it down returning to the market with a multimedia virtual tradeshow platform called MarketPlace365 in November 2010.
A virtual event is an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment on the web, rather than meeting in a physical location.
Virtual events are typically multi-session online events that often feature webinars and webcasts. They are highly interactive, often aiming to create as similar an experience as possible to their physical counterparts.
How does a first virtual event work?
In short, a virtual event like the Oil and Gas Virtual Summit replicates a ‘physical’ location-based event, but online. It allows you to host a global conference, trade show, product launch or recruitment fair from the comfort of your home or office, using only a laptop or mobile and an internet connection.
6 Tips for hosting your first virtual event
The use of virtual event platforms is on the rise as more companies adapt to the idea of hosting their events online. Here are a few tips you can use when hosting virtual events.
- Create a game plan. Whether big or small, offline or online, every event should have a strategy.
- Choose the right time.
- Promote the event.
- Prepare for tech troubles.
- Make it inclusive.
- Encourage engagement.
During these extraordinary times, it is worth shifting to virtual events to generate revenue and keep your organization going, even if the shift will be temporary.
And even if you have never hosted a virtual event before, you can easily adapt and make the most of the current situation.
Virtual events are just as powerful as physical events.
The global events industry was valued at over $1,100 billion in 2018. The switch is necessary to not only prevent massive financial loss, but transform and adapt to uncertain times.
This is one of the reasons why the oil and gas virtual decided to host a virtual event in place of a physical conference. The event adjusted the offering to fit the virtual space, using content like:
- Speaker recorded sessions
- Virtual product demonstrations
- Virtual networking sessions
If you are to compare now with when the first event was invented, a lot has changed and there is great deal of solutions to enable smooth virtual event experience.
How to Launch Your First Virtual Event
When was the first virtual event invented? This is the question you started with and as get an answer to it, you should also learn how to launch your first virtual event. Here are some ideas;
Virtual Event Planning.
It is very important that you begin your process of pivoting to a virtual event by having a clear plan for the event.
You should think through every aspect of the event from sessions, speakers, topics and technology. This would ensure that you provide valuable content.
Take into account the time, especially if your speakers and attendees are on different time-zones. This would determine when you would have live sessions to ensure you have the highest number of attendees.
When it comes to recruiting your event speakers, provide them the best experience possible. In your outreach, recommended specific sessions that prospective speakers would be a great fit for based on their interests, expertise, and feedback.
Investing in Virtual Event Production Equipments
It is important that you consider investing in virtual event production tools and equipments.
This can range from such resources as cameras, microphones and lighting systems to ensure that your virtual experience is great to the customer.
If you intend to play pre-recorded videos, or to provide other content during your virtual event, this investment would prove very useful.
You can include intro videos before each session, play some music in-between sessions, and weave recorded questions submitted by your attendees directly into live sessions with speakers.
Leverage Technology for Your Virtual Events
Using the right technology to execute your event is of the utmost importance. You want to not only ensure that your audience has a great experience, but also make the process as smooth and seamless behind the scenes.
You need to look or use a platform that provides the best virtual experience, and that is practical for your virtual event.
It is also important to have a virtual platform that is easy to use and accessible to many people.
There are several solutions you can use to host virtual events or meetings. They include zoom. In fact, I had a chance to use zoom platform to host a number of sessions during the oil and gas virtual summit.
Increase Networking Opportunities
Audience experience is very critical for success of your first virtual event.
You should focus your efforts to ensure or to provide valuable networking and engagement opportunities.
There are several ways in which you can ensure that attendees connect and network throughout the event. For example, you can set up an event app to take care of this.
Extend and Expand Your Reach with First Virtual Event.
Hosting a virtual event is actually a learning opportunity for you. I can confirm this because when I hosted the oil and gas virtual summit, I learned so much from the event.
You will be able to increase the reach of your audience. It is likely that you will be able to tap into business industries and regions that you would not have had access to without a virtual event.
The process of producing a multi-session virtual event punctuated by various ways for attendees to engage, connect, network, and learn is incredibly inspiring.
While you might be afraid of trying new things, fearful of the virtual unknowns, you will be able to make it.
Recognize that we are all in the same boat and all learning together. The amount of support from the event community during this time is amazing, humbling, and energizing.
When was the first virtual event invented? As we conclude answering this question, it is good to note those virtual events are now part of our new normal.
While it might be impossible to meet in person, virtual events provide an opportunity for you to continue holding your business events and workshops. You can use a virtual event platform as a temporary solution to host your event virtually.