Hybrid events? What’s that and how does it work?

Wowing customers in the new normal – with virtual show formats

If you can’t have in-person contact, trade shows, or press conferences, you have to find new solutions. Solutions like hybrid shows – highly effective live events that combine the real and virtual in real time.

What can you do when trade shows are suspended and in-person interactions at booths are no longer possible? Create a virtual copy of the trade show booth and make it available online for the customer to click through? That’s one possibility. But you lose out on the real-time aspects, the interactions and direct contact, presentations with an emotional impact and, above all, dialoging with customers. Hybrid shows and events make all this possible. They offer your target group a comprehensive experience and create a virtual framework with the same opportunities as a real space.

Real and virtual become one

What’s so advantageous about hybrid shows is that they combine real and virtual images in real time right on the set. Film, photos, and 3D computer graphics merge into one entirely new medium. Presenters are free to move around in the virtual space or stand on a computer-generated stage. They can interact with virtual backdrops and explain content consisting of 3D objects and graphics suspended in the room. Speakers can see how the finished scene will look on a special preview screen. Dialog with participants is also an integral part of hybrid shows. If desired, questions from a live chat can be passed to the show directly and answered live.

Supplementary web platforms

But in itself, a virtual event isn’t enough. Even the best virtual event is of little benefit if the technical conditions aren’t right, if the connection fails, if logging in is too complicated, or if users have to download a separate tool. These are all obstacles to a virtual event. That’s why we need integrated solutions where events are seamlessly connected to a web platform. We’ve just designed this type of platform, the “virtual ballroom.” It’s a kind of virtual stage that bundles together all of an event’s activities. Participants can log in to the event, chat live, access workshop areas, and retrieve more information. This can include webcasts, clips, podcasts, and tutorials as well as presentations and images. All communications involved in the event are concentrated on this central web platform.

Success in practice

The future of events will definitely be more virtual, even after COVID-19. For some companies, hybrid shows are already an integral part of their digital communication. For example, Siemens Mobility CEOs Sabrina Soussan and Michael Peter and CFO Karl Blaim presented the company’s new corporate vision, including the new motto “Moving beyond,” at two virtual events. The board members addressed employees, journalists, and influencers in two impressive hybrid shows. The new normal has just begun – with hybrid shows that combine the real and the virtual and that follow custom communication formats and scripts.

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