The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for event organizers and businesses that hold events. While this had initially been a challenge, it is now considered a catalyst for innovation.

However, digitalization goes beyond simply holding events on a digital platform. Engagement remains to be the key driver of a successful event. Without it, an event will end up going digital just for the sake of it, without fully taking advantage of the benefits that digital or hybrid events can provide.

“While the shift from traditional to virtual event formats has been underway for a long time, the pandemic has put everything into hyperdrive,” says Vaibhav Jain, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hubilo.

“Hubilo, the leading platform for virtual and hybrid events, seeks to be the architect of future events by reimagining the present events landscape and taking it several steps further to foster real human connections, and give immersive and exciting experiences, no matter the distance.”

A winner at the Startup Awards – Internet Solutions category at the ORIGIN Innovation Awards in 2021, Hubilo is a hybrid event platform built for engagement and event excellence. Its team of experts and platform of technological innovation help event planners and organizations across the world reimagine the future of events and navigate the ever-changing event landscape.

Hubilo provides a virtual venue for organizations to provide an engaging and interactive event experience to their global audience and transform the way people connect, interact, and host events.

In this TechNode Global Q&A with Vaibhav Jain, we learn how engagement remains to be the key driver of success for events, whether online, offline, or hybrid. He shares with us that the pandemic may have significantly changed the business of doing events, but on a positive note by harnessing technology toward enhancing engagement.

Vaibhav Jain, Founder and CEO, Hubilo

What are the trends driving innovation in the Asia Pacific region today, particularly relevant to solutions being provided for businesses or end-users?

The events industry was brought to its knees in 2020 when in-person events could no longer take place due to safe distancing measures and the grounding of travel. As a result, events began adopting the virtual format, largely via video conferencing platforms.

However, this year, people fully immersed themselves in the technology pool; instead of just dipping their toes in. Users bid farewell to monotonous, one-way interactions, which had caused several cases of “video fatigue” in 2020. Moreover, as virtual, hybrid, and immersive event platforms like Hubilo proliferated in 2021, people were able to access more engaging and unique experiences.

Indeed, 2021 was the year virtual events became mainstream.

An increasing number of event organizers have realized the benefits of digital transformation. Enhanced ROI, reach, and savings are just a few of the benefits we can list resulting from virtual events; every virtual event generates at least 10x value for event organizers.

An increasing number of event organisers have realised the benefits of digital transformation. Enhanced ROI, reach, and savings are just a few of the benefits we can list resulting from virtual events …

Furthermore, the advent of data analytics has made it possible to create a personalized event experience for attendees, allowing them to choose the sessions they attend and connect with like-minded peers. As with real-world platforms, virtual and hybrid ones build and cultivate relationships by enabling people to foster connections instead of consuming content alone.

What are three key challenges that businesses are facing, and how is Hubilo helping your clients/partners navigate these challenges?

Businesses are facing three key challenges in the event landscape that are interconnected. These include:

  • Fostering real connections and driving deeper engagement in an all-remote world;
  • Event organizers do not know what they do not know; and
  • Once they have organized a virtual event or a hybrid event, what’s next for them?

Engagement is the key to a successful event. As leaders in virtual and hybrid events, we think that having the right features makes all the difference. Nearly all virtual events and meetings are designed mainly for people to attend events and not for engaging them. At the same time, Hubilo focuses on connecting people, and its technology platform makes it possible for anyone to plan and attend flawless events from anywhere.

Exhibitors and participants can engage with each other virtually in booths and lounges outside live-in sessions on our platform, eliminating physical distance and providing multiple touchpoints for meaningful connections. In fact, our platform is also built with a matchmaking algorithm that is designed to connect buyers and sellers and lead to meaningful engagements.

We incorporated gamification features to drive greater engagement across all event participants, such as leaderboards. Attendees can take part in activity-focused engagement tools, such as live polls and Q&As, as well as use Hubilo’s refreshing interface to post comments, reactions, and emojis. Meetings can even be scheduled right from the chat room with ease.

Completely revamped networking lounges and demo rooms include virtual booth chats, polls, and Q&As to allow seamless interaction between attendees. With a revamped onboarding experience for attendees, they will be able to share their information with event organizers so they can tailor the experience to their preferences within the platform.

With virtual and hybrid events platforms, organisers have access to a wealth of strategic event engagement data, which can be utilised to create a uniquely personal experience for attendees.

Hubilo offers a complete customer success team there to support you, your planning, your day-of-event activation, help you understand the complete execution of the event operations, your transition to hybrid, your understanding and storytelling of post-event success, and learnings. And if all these innovative features seem overwhelming to event organizers? Don’t stress — we have a dedicated 24/7 support team and not just an alias for contacting us when you want to schedule a consultation.

Many virtual event organizers wonder what to do next after hosting a successful event, so we give them a simple piece of advice: go where the data tells you to go.

With virtual and hybrid events platforms, organizers have access to a wealth of strategic event engagement data, which can be utilized to create a uniquely personal experience for attendees. Post-event, this data remains valuable, as organizers can use it to plan their future event strategies.

What are your bold predictions in terms of tech in the medium term? How about the long-term?

As the pandemic unfolded in 2020, we have seen profound changes in the digital space. The rise of virtual and hybrid events has enabled innovative solutions for connecting attendees no matter the geographic distance in the events industry.

Events won’t–and will never–be what it once was. The combination of new variants, new tech, and changing behavioral shifts means that jumping back all in and head-first into physical events might not be a good idea.

In the medium term, as we embrace the virtual, traditional boundaries of time and place will melt away, and asynchronous working models will be the way forward. The concept of a perfect time to host an event no longer exists since more and more people are able to choose where and when they want to work.

Therefore, the demand for digital, always-on content and smaller, bite-sized experiences will grow. There will be more businesses with media platforms that allow employees and customers to network in real-time, eliminating the need to engage attendees for hours at a time.

While many assume the Metaverse is a distant, over-hyped reality, we predict that the metaverse will begin impacting our lives as early as next year. The metaverse will continue to shape the events landscape and change audience expectations, particularly among tech-savvy generations. Events will have to become less about chronology and speakers and more about exploration and interaction.

The demand for digital, always-on content and smaller, bite-sized experiences will grow.

It will also encourage event organizers to embrace DIY events with gamification and deeper engagement. This will also remove the monotonous, one-way interactions that attendees typically avoid.

Social activism will see a growing digital foothold, looking far ahead into the longer term. The younger generation will continue to encompass the future workforce and will become increasingly eager to leverage virtual event tech’s broad reach to build communities with shared interests and values.

Can you share some interesting data or case studies from your portfolio or partners that are a good example of how technology can bring about impactful change amid today’s business environment?

Since the pivot in April 2020, Hubilo has serviced 900+ clients, hosted 12,500+ events that + 1M+ attendees have participated in. We had numerous clients that have successfully hosted their events on the Hubilo platform, but we have a few clients who made a remarkable difference.

Annual Children’s Mental Health Symposium, organized by the Institute of Child Psychology (ICP)

The Institute of Child Psychology (ICP), a Canada-based organization promoting psychological and emotional wellness in children and adolescents, has used Hubilo’s virtual event platform to educate over 2,000 parents and professionals on mental health issues. With Hubilo’s user-friendly interface, end-to-end customization options, and trailblazing networking capabilities, ICP has been able to reach out to people across the globe. The deep engagement achieved shows that physical distance is no barrier when it comes to raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

Through Hubilo’s virtual events platform, ICP was able to deliver a visually appealing, streamlined, and riveting conference. An easy onboarding process, real-time gamification, and seamless session streaming helped ensure that attendees were deeply engaged, as was evidenced by the consistently high attendance throughout the three-day event. Live attendance and on-demand viewing made potentially life-saving insight into young people’s mental health easily accessible to all.

TechCon 2021, organized by Chicago Booth

Chicago Booth is one of the leading business schools in the United States. Having canceled its annual student-led Booth TechCon in 2020, the organizing team did not want to postpone this enterprising conference yet again.

Hubilo’s platform ensured seamless streaming of the keynote session and interactive panel discussion. Featuring a variety of interactive sessions and a networking arena to facilitate in-person interactions, the long-awaited event was a great success amongst the 250+ students, alumni, and dignitaries in attendance.

Hubilo served as a completely customizable one-stop shop for all the sessions. In Chicago Booth’s case, however, the benefits extended well beyond the smooth experience of viewing sessions. A smooth onboarding, one-to-one scheduling options, real-time messaging, and round-the-clock support from the Hubilo team all contributed to the event’s success. In addition, useful analytics helped organizers understand how the conference impacted each individual attendee.

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