Outsourced Events would like to present our ‘In Focus’ series in which we will take the time to reflect on our experience with virtual event platforms*, specific tools and technologies available. We hope that these articles will provide you with some more information about technologies and us as a company. In this third article we will focus on the platform vFairs.
vFairs In Focus
In April 2020 we were delighted to be awarded the contract to take the Citrix EMEA Work Summit 2021 virtual. Citrix delivers technology that creates a work-from-anywhere experience – a topic that could not be more crucial in the current climate. With the primary content focussed on remote working, resilience and re-inventing the future of how we all work, the final choice of platform was crucial. It needed to engage the audience and deliver a fully immersive experience whilst representing the brand’s core values. We also needed to feel confident that we could trust that the live day would go technically without a hitch.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the use of virtual event platforms was very much in its infancy. Whilst many agencies had filmed or livestreamed an element of their agenda in the face-to-face environment, the fully virtual event platform was only really seen for recruitment fairs and large internal global meet-ups – until COVID-19 accelerated the move to online.
Our team reviewed 15 potential platforms to produce a final shortlist of 3 for consideration for the project. It was decided to move forward with vFairs for the key reasons below:
- The platform allowed for extensive customisation and branding.
- It was visually very engaging – replicating the feel of a live event venue making it very intuitive to navigate; it also makes use of avatars that help bring the environment to life.
- The exhibition offered sponsors the chance to take a virtual booth with direct chat, promotional video, document uploads and “swag bag” functionality as well as full data analytics.
- vFairs has been a virtual platform in its’ own right for 6 years having launched in 2016 predominantly servicing the careers and job fair marketplace – it was therefore tried and tested with a history of success.
- Guaranteed SLAs were in place for up to 3000 users on the platform concurrently – critical given the size of the anticipated audience for the Summit.
- The pricing was very clear from the start allowing us to budget without the risk of running over.
The event took place on 3 February 2021 so was a full 9 months in the planning which, given the complexity of the programme, with 46 sessions and 52 speakers, was needed. To fully enhance the overall quality of the delivery a technical briefing was given to each speaker, kits sent out where required and a 3-week lead-time was planned for any post-recording editing and sub-titling. The final presentations were further enhanced with the inclusion of animated stings incorporating the latest Citrix branding to recreate the high production values that you would normally see in a live event.
Adapting to the platform
There were a few elements that were not instantly available within the vFairs platform – these included a “build your own agenda” function, a simple “agenda at a glance” view of the programme so our team had to create “work-arounds”. Whilst this was challenging, the final solutions ensured that the functionality was in place and the experience was seamless to the audience which showed in the many comments on the day itself. For example, one journalist took to the platform chat saying “Just received feedback from one of my Austrian journalists who is attending: he is very impressed about the conference tool/platform we are using. He is saying it is almost the feeling of an official ‘live-event’.
To view the snapshot highlights video on Youtube, please click here.
So, in summary, vFairs proved to be a very reliable and visually stunning platform for a large conference and sponsor experience. It was robust and reasonably priced for the value that it delivered. There were a few challenges that we did experience along the way, both from a functionality perspective, and with regards to responsiveness from the technical support teams during the build out. However, putting aside these challenges, the final overall event experience from both a delegate and sponsor perspective was outstanding so we would happily use again for similar events. Working alongside the Vfairs team we also saw their full roadmap of additional functions the platform are planning to introduce for 2021; which includes personalised agenda, meeting tool and enhanced networking function.
If you are considering vFairs for your event and would like to chat further with one of our project team, please do reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0)330 460 6007 – we would love the opportunity to apply our experience gained to your event.
*Disclaimer: This article was not paid for and is not a full review of the platform, but our opinion of the platform based on our experience as an organiser.