The advent of hybrid events

We’ve been hearing more and more about hybrid events in the events world, in particular their ability to engage remote audiences and include guests that are unable to attend a live event. Even if this type of event becomes an industry standard, one of the concerns remains how to keep hybrid events relatable to all types of attendees.

This challenge might seem easy for modern event organisers who are generally up-to-date with new technologies and understand varying needs. The challenge is being able to consider the divergent expectations of a multicultural group of attendees.

Events are poised for an evolutionary shift, moving away from ‘how’ and towards ‘why’, pushing the structure of event design to be more oriented on a variety of needs. For planners that want to do this, 3D immersive technology is likely to be a ‘format’ most able to tick all the boxes, including attendees from both generations X and Y demographics.

Characterised as ‘digital natives’ generation Y has ready expectations of tech at events, and they use it to acquire context, build contacts and gain knowledge of extraneous aspects of the event. Generation X is likely to prefer face-to face engagement and networking opportunities to learn more about a product. What both generations X and Y have in common is a desire to have a say in an event, placing value on interaction and both have expectations for instant results.

Incorporating new technologies to events, but using them in more people-related ways, is one way of bringing together the expectations of both generations. For example, by creating a means of interaction between virtual and in-person attendees, making use of 3D technology like holograms, hybrid events pave the path to a new way of networking, such as through virtual access to remote attendees or speakers and in-person participants creating face-to-face experiences through virtual means.

In the end hybrid events are part of a bigger conversation that will continue evolving. But for event organisers that want to take on new technologies there is a tremendous range for all tastes that can be incorporated no matter where delegates come from or if they are participating in a live or a remote way.

Yamilette MCano is project director and partner of Maya Events.

For more on the future of hybrid events, see here.

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