Modern living provides us with a growing assortment of Virtual: reality, world, pavilion, events, etc.
Meet SoBuzzy virtual showrooms’ Founder and CEO, William Peres*.
So William . . .
Q1. What’s the closest comparison? Virtual event: classic website, or, virtual event: physical event?
WP: For me a virtual event is only an event. Nowadays, prospects that were coming to our former physical events have changed their way of working. No more money, no more time, little news from one year to the other… So 30-40 percent of the former physical event visitors are now finding their answers on the Internet. We can use search engines, comparison engines, forums or even companies’ websites to find information. So people stay at home.
An event is the best way to have access to all the actors of a domain in one location. A virtual event will at least allow that.
Q2. Do virtual worlds have real potential in the corporate world?
WP: In the B2C environment maybe. But I don’t think that a virtual world will help a company work better, except when people are far away from each other.
For instance, a virtual conference will be helpful if we have 3D objects to share, brainstorm about and discuss. If using the virtual world to only be represented by an avatar, I don’t think that will help.
Q3. Will it become mainstream for employees to attend virtual corporate events, trade shows and meetings? What are the blocking points, and what needs to happen to facilitate this?
WP: The blocking and missing point is mainly the physical contact with people. However, realistic avatars, video or classical chats and future developments will help to fulfill the needs.
Another point is that we often try to reproduce a physical way of communicating in the virtual world. I don’t think it’s the best thing to do because one will automatically be frustrated. It will never be real! That’s why we have to develop functionalities we cannot have in real life, in order to save time and be more convinced about the usage.
Q4. How can you get participation from today’s mature workforce, or is this just for those starting their professions or future employees?
WP: Of course the gap will be greater for mature people than for the Y generation who are used to that environment. However, do we plan to target everybody when we launch something? Even if 30 percent of the targetable prospects come into that new way of life, it’s better than losing them.
Anyway, I didn’t think that my mother would go on Internet or send an email one day…
Q5. Any predictions of the future of virtual events?
WP: Virtual fairs and events will not replace all corresponding physical ones. Depending on the domains, or the location, a virtual event would help to support a physical one. Remember that they only take place into big capitals and cities. Internet is 7/7, 24/24 and everywhere.
Moreover, limiting the negative impact of human activity on the environment is everybody’s concern. Virtual events fully support this initiative by offering innovative and environment friendly solutions.
Merci William for your answers!
And YOU, what predictions do you have regarding the future of virtual events?
*Disclosure: William used to work for Dassault Systèmes.