David Merrell’s Thoughts on exVo, Allseated’s Virtual Event Platform
Are you in the real world or the virtual? The new exVo platform creates parallel worlds that are hard to tell apart! The recent hype over exVo is real and with good reason.
exVo is the next generation of Expos, Meetings, and Events, tailor-made for today’s reality with both in-person and virtual attendance. It’s an incredibly immersive experience that allows attendees to be fully interactive.
In this article, David Merrell of AOO Events takes us in-depth as he shares his thoughts on exVo including how and why the industry benefits from virtual event options, even as live events make a return.
What were your initial thoughts on exVo when you first experienced the platform?
LOL. The first thing I thought when I started going through the demo was, “damn, they are quick”!
We were literally talking about this not more than six months earlier when COVID started. Allseated has already created a working model that is head and shoulders above the platforms we (AOO Events) have been researching and/or working with. THIS is a testament to the foresight that Allseated has to react to what the industry needs. It is also a testament to Allseated for the talented team of virtual developers and programmers they have on staff!
Secondly, I was surprised at how easy it was to immediately navigate in exVo and move around to speak with other attendees. You don’t want to be spending time on how to use a platform, you want attendees to be able to focus on content and contacts. The ease of navigation allows everyone involved to focus firmly on the virtual event experience.
Third, Let me “geek” out for a second. It felt like an action RPG video game! It was fun to participate as an attendee. That unique functionality truly incentivizes the attendees to explore thoroughly and truly see all that is offered within this virtual world.
Finally, I am super impressed with the flexibility. You can either pick from any of the templates for stages, exhibit booths, and the virtual “brick and mortar” locations, but you can custom build anything you want beyond that. Branding is easy. Customization is simple.
How do you envision exVo being used for your segment of the industry?
As I have mentioned before, virtual events will not be going away. It will have a place next to live events when the industry does return. I can see this being an alternative for those who cannot attend conventions, thereby increasing the audience and overall reach of an event.
What benefits do you feel virtual platforms bring to the live event industry?
Interesting framing of the question. . .I think there are a lot of benefits to the live events industry. However, I believe there is even more benefit to the hosts/clients. And that translates into another stream of business revenue for Live Event producers.
Let me break them down quickly with bullet points.
Benefits For Clients:
- The ability to reach more folks virtually increases your audience. Because of that, marketing plans in the future should always, at least consider, a virtual component.
- Clients cannot look at a virtual event with the same lens, nor the same parameters, as a live event. The number of days, length of events and sessions, etc. must be considered. Time savings is always an important factor for international audiences and VIP’s with little time on their hands. Less time is needed for travel and although in-person conventions may take up an entire day, virtual events offer a time-saving solution.
- While virtual productions are not cheap, and in fact, in some cases, it is necessary to increase the AV budgets, the savings on hotel, food, airfare will more than compensate. So overall, a complete change to virtual events will ultimately save a lot of money.
- Most virtual platforms have full analytical capabilities. Anyone attending can be tracked on EVERYTHING they do. Who did they talk to? What exhibits/events did they attend? How long did they stay? This valuable set of analytical tools are not easily available for live events and will help understand the audience more and what they want.
For the Live Events Industry:
- If the same live event can have a virtual component to it (hybrid), then audiences can be substantially increased for pennies on the dollar. This translates into more business, so it’s important to know enough about it and partner with someone.
- Virtual will not go away now. The technology was already developed, and now because of COVID, we are learning more ways to integrate it.
- Whether it is virtual or live, the intent for events is still the same. . . celebration, connection, transformation, information . . . . the Live Events Industry is all about that. This is just another tool in our tool belt to accomplish it.