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SEES/hub launched a permanent home for virtual events in India, VCCI (Virtual Convention Centre India). VCCI has already served conferences, ranging from meetings, workshops and seminars to even large congresses, for both the corporate and association worlds.
VCCI/SEES has now come on board as ‘Host Venue & Technology Partner’ for Event Show Asia (ESA) 2020. ESA’s ‘Back to Events | Virtual Expo’ will be hosted online from 9th to 11th September, with the objective of preparing the industry for the post-pandemic world.
In this e-mailed interview, Nitin Sharma, Chief Ideator & Co-Founder, Strategic Engagement & Event Solutions (SEES), tells us more about the full-support solution platform, virtual event technology, trends and his expectations from ESA 2020.
VCCI is the Tech Partner for ESA. How did the association come through?
VCCI is brought to the meeting-planners community in India by SEES/hub, a pioneering company dedicated to making meetings effective. SEES/hub and EVENTFAQS Media have shared a long-standing association and indeed for Event Show Asia (ESA) as well, in the past years. ESA organizing team’s search for an avant-garde virtual events platform that guarantees quality, stands above the clutter, with a proven capability and a complementing experienced team, led them to SEES/hub. An existing mutual trust factor sealed the deal.
Tell us how the ESA experience will be enhanced for delegates by VCCI and the technology you will be using for the event.
Networking has often rated amongst the top reasons why people attend conferences, besides business exchange and education. With the current absence of in-person events, what’s missing is the energy of a ‘live’ event. A better part of this energy comes from people, the attendees! Their hellos, conversations, recognising someone, smiling, make the corridors and aisles bustling with positivity. VCCI aims to make virtual ESA a very engaging affair wherein there is an opportunity to network, interact, make your voice heard and make the virtual venue a breeding ground for ideas, at all the spaces within the virtual venue!
Will these (the technology) be different from what is currently used in the industry?
VCCI has not been developed in 2020 when the pandemic hit the world and India. It is an enterprise-level solution, already successfully delivering events of different types and scales successfully for the past five years in mature markets. In fact, its robustness as a proven solution makes it stand tall in the sudden upsurge of virtual events software, many of them cheap copies or make-shift jugaad solutions in the Indian market.
These are what make us stand strongly apart from the crowd:
- An extremely intuitive, easy-to-navigate, international, aesthetically designed UI
- A strong analytics dashboard and tracking
- Ability to be malleable not just in design but features and functionality
- An India-centric flexible and transparent pricing policy and
- A comfy back-end allowing agencies and PCOs to opt-in for a DIY model, to continue to make themselves more relevant and employment generating even in the new normal
Has the Covid-19 crisis accelerated adoption of technology by the live event industry? Could you name some new adoptions?
Absolutely! I personally have been talking about virtualising events using a hybrid approach for the last four years. I have been part of discussions and knowledge sharing on hybrid events since the last eight years. But clients have been hesitant to try and include virtual components in their existing spends and plans around experiential marketing. Why just the clients, actually, the meeting planner community, in my opinion, has been equally guilty of not educating themselves and giving it the required push over these years, fearing ‘new’ learning and investment of time, money and energy there! Today, that is not an option and our community has finally woken up and embraced the new normal! Virtual venues, augmented reality are two shining examples of some early adoptions.
Which are the trends / new norms that are likely to stay beyond the pandemic?
The future for live meetings and events undoubtedly is hybrid. Having tasted success and being exposed to many benefits of virtual events, clients will be woken to the hitherto missing elements in purely in-person events. For example; limited reach, lack of analytics, etc. Add in the clear cost-saving benefits, and it is clear that virtual events are a winner! However, humans are intrinsically social beings and face-to-face events foster deeper connections and lead to long-standing trade relations. So business events will be back as soon as the pandemic loses its grip and relaxations are announced, albeit with a mandatory virtual component, thus hybrid!
What are your expectations from ESA 2020 as a part of the industry?
Our expectations from ESA are to provide a level playing field for industry buyers in terms of being exposed to a showcase of different types of solution providers (exhibitors) available in the local market today. The offerings would encompass primary and secondary virtual events solutions, the latter being the ones that focus on engagement building solutions in a virtual events scenario. There is also a pressing need to educate customers on how virtual events are conducted, what goes behind the scenes, what level of expertise and planning is required, what is the role of the agency/meeting planner/PCO, the value that virtual events bring for clients and most importantly on how not to organise virtual events. I hope these questions will be answered in the education sessions held as part of the event.
“We are happy to partner with EVENTFAQS Media for delivering the first-ever virtual ESA, that has quickly become the cornerstone of all things new vis-à-vis EventTech in the Indian meetings and events community. At this crucial juncture when the Industry is emerging from an existential crisis and fast-tracking educating itself around virtual events, we are happy to bring to India, VCCI, a permanent home for bespoke virtual events,” said Nitin Sharma, Chief Ideator & Co-Founder, Strategic Engagement & Event Solutions Pvt Ltd (SEES).