Until a couple of years ago, virtual conference was not taken seriously. It seemed that one would miss out on the main benefits that you have during face-to-face conferences – networking, meeting new people and enjoying the exhibit hall browsing experience. But now the scenario has changed. In the past, hosting major conferences was a luxury typically affordable to only large corporations and businesses with deep pockets. Today, organizations of all sizes are empowered by the Web and the reduction in production costs to host their own conferences – virtually. Virtual conferences are not only an amazing marketing tool, but also a great networking and learning experience for audiences attending them. They are actually fun and engaging, and are environmentally friendly.
Remote teams and virtual conferences have become synonymous not only with the IT sector, but across verticals. In a post-recessionary scenario, virtual conferences are a popular means to justify budget-cuts and reduce executive-travel to the extent possible. Sophisticated video-conferencing facilities and uninterrupted connectivity have helped to create the same impact of face-to-face meetings. The most important advantage of virtual conferences is the time saved, apart from costs. There is a drastic reduction in business travel and professionals feel comfortable to work across time-zones. Decision-making tends to be quick. People have never found it easy to work with counterparts from different regions of the globe. Sometimes, there are flaws in communication while interacting with cross-cultural teams. There is an intangible benefit of virtual conferences that often goes unnoticed. Corporate managements are equally happy about the dip in travel budgets and the fact that work gets done much more efficiently and quickly. Virtual conferences are an excellent option to restore work-life balance of employees. Constant travel increases the time spent in offices and work-related issues.
Virtual Conferences are here to stay for many reasons:
Easy and cost effective for organizers and participants. The main cost associated with a virtual conference is that of producing the content for the conference and delivering such content in an engaging and interactive way.
Anywhere, anytime. People can attend virtual events from anywhere in the world, and if they can’t make the live event, they can still benefit from the VOD content later.
Networking made easy. With a virtual conference, these physical barriers are stripped away. Attendees have immediate access to fellow attendees, as well as speakers and exhibitors, with just a few clicks of the mouse..
Accelerates pipeline deals. Having access to the peers, results in a faster decision.
Environmentally friendly. A virtual conference does not involve travel. Additionally, all collateral (brochures, data-sheets, and give-aways) are virtual, hence avoiding all printed material in conferences that anyhow gets trashed later on.
As businesses look for new ways to engage audiences and push branded content, virtual conferences will undoubtedly become more popular and will help transform the way we do business in our increasingly global village for years to come.
Indira School of Communication