Duncan Custerson – International Confex Event Director comments on Virtual and Hybrid Events as Mash Media announces its support for EVOLVE – The virtual event for event planners.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly expedited the speed of evolution to virtual and hybrid events. There is, arguably, a naïve fear from some organisers that virtual is a threat to physical events, but the simple fact is that, we as humans are never going to stop networking in face to face environments. It is human nature to gather. Homo sapiens emerged some 200,000 years ago, yet according to evolutionary psychology (so I read), people today still seek those traits that made survival possible back then, and this makes perfect sense to me! This innate instinct to fight furiously when threatened, and drive to trade information and share secrets. Human beings are, in other words, hardwired.
As we sit here today in lockdown and long before this point an impressive level of technology exists, it's all around us, so as organisers during this crisis it offers us all an opportunity to evolve and fight back with an alternative solution in the short term. But, should we not have already been collaborating wherever possible to evolve our fundamental offering in the longer term. I think we can be forgiven for sticking to what works but it sometimes takes a disaster to make sense checks and put us back on our toes. We should be exploring all options to extend our reach by embracing the innovative services around us as our new landscape will contain the same people, hungry to gather, learn and share. In other words - we still have stone age traits but with brand new techy toys!
When we can get together once again, virtual event technology continues to offer a new way to share information further to those unable to fulfil their hardwired desire to connect in the physical. In my view, International Confex has a duty to offer a platform for sharing innovation, so the events industry can cherry pick it’s tools to survive > evolve > flourish.
Virtual should not just be seen as a knee jerk fix during these time but an opportunity to dry run platforms that can be beneficial to our new normal in future years. The support of EVOLVE on the 12-14 of May is our way of keeping the event community in the conversation until we can meet again.
It's really shaping up to be a who’s who of the events industry – join here.