Reporting Standards for Digital Events (RSDE) launched as industry-wide initiative

What started as creating a solution for a virtual event to earn UFI Approved Event status has, nearly a year later, morphed into the launch of a much larger initiative for the events industry – Reporting Standards for Digital Events (RSDE).

Designed to benefit organisers, exhibitors and digital event platform (DEP) vendors, RSDE represents a standardised set of 17 data tables and glossary terms. It was created by a working group made up of representatives from 15 organisations across the events industry, representing trade show organisers, exhibitors, data analysts, and digital platforms, all under the leadership of BPA Worldwide, the global assurance provider.

“The goal for these standards is to serve as a guide for digital platforms to adopt to help organisers accurately and efficiently report on metrics,” explained Glenn Hansen, BPA’s president and CEO, announcing the launch.

“With RSDE, event organisers, exhibitors, digital event platforms and data analysts now have the tools to bring more trust and transparency into the digital event marketplace,” Hansen said.

One major industry roadblock that RSDE aims to eradicate is the misunderstanding of data sets by organisers and exhibitors. “With the move over to digital events, people were excited that they were going to have all this data, and have a much better picture of what was happening within their events,” said David Richardson, principal at Cogknition. “When they received the reports from the event platforms, not only did they lack confidence they understood what was happening at their event, but they weren't really sure they understood what the report was trying to say. With RSDE, they get a much better understanding of what they are seeing.”

“RSDE will provide organisers and exhibitors with the information they need (and have been eagerly awaiting) to understand and evaluate the impact of digital events, ultimately driving a cycle of continuous improvement,” noted Robyn Davis, owner at Exhibitors WINH LLC, and a member of the RSDE working group.

Hansen added BPA will begin certifying DEPs to the RSDE standards immediately. Event data provided by verified DEPs will be “pre-audited” by BPA for inclusion in applications for UFI Approved Event status or for inclusion in any organisers’ event marketing materials and BPA Brand Reports. RSDE includes a number of components to assist all aspects of the digital event marketplace, including a glossary of terms; 17 tables of data format to provide the user what is typically required; sample CSV file for DEPs to follow; request for proposal (RFP) template for organisers to use when shopping for a DEP; contract terms and conditions template to address data ownership and privacy protection compliance, and three separate User’s Guides for organisers, exhibitors and DEPs.

All of the RSDE components can be downloaded here

Another key element of RSDE, Richardson added, “will be guidance to organisers and exhibit professionals to ensure they understand not just what the standards require, but also how to ask vendors for compliance with the standards and how to check that their platform is providing compliant data so that they know that they can use the data that comes to them.”

RSDE has collaborated with VSef (Virtual Standard Export Format), a data standard for digital events and communities based in Europe. VSef has been developed by Explori in collaboration with event organisers and digital event platforms worldwide. As well as including VSef in its entirety, RSDE offers broader content including recommended data ownership terms and an RFP template for shopping digital event technology.

The two industry initiatives will work in partnership such that they remained aligned. Digital event platforms being certified to RSDE will, by default, be certified to be compliant with VSef.