Virtual Site Inspections: Is Exhibiting and Visiting Venues Online the New Best Practice?

A big contribution to almost every event is the venue or location it takes place at because it is a great way to influence and create the right atmosphere for the event. Just by picking the right location you might already save a lot of effort to make your attendees feel the way you want them to. However, global restrictions made it impossible or risky for many to travel to said location. And sitting in video conferences or watching live stream after live stream is just not the same. Where is the venue atmosphere, the excitement to be at a glamorous event or stroll through the aisles of impressively decorated exhibition space? Can we reproduce this virtually somehow?

Yes, we can. As an example, I’d like to present Allseated to you, which is first and foremost a digital platform to plan events but has evolved to also offering exVo, a virtual platform to host your online event experience.

Design 2D floor plans and have a site visit in 3D

Looking at the event planning side, Allseated allows us to still organize site inspections for our clients even in times when traveling is restricted. After choosing the venue(s) of interest and designing the possible layout of the event in 2D floor plans, we can then ‘visit’ the venue digitally by switching the created floor plan into 3D and ‘walking’ through it by navigating and moving around freely from our screens.

While the client views the 3D design we can even change the layout live, maybe jump into another pre-planned design, switching from conference setup during the day to gala seating in the evening. Can you do that at real site visits? Maybe with photos on tablets and a lot of creative imagination. We can even move furniture without much effort.

Many venues are already uploaded in Allseated to use their scaled floor plans, and if not, we can easily upload and create new spaces.

Jump locations and have multiple site inspections in a few hours

Another benefit of virtual site visits is that you won’t have to drive (or fly) between locations and also won’t get stuck in traffic. With a simple click in the backend of the platform we can move from Germany to Malta in no time, and continue our site inspection at the next location, miles away. Our clients enjoy seeing many different venues at once without travel costs and saving them lots of time as well.

Additionally, since the meeting space is already created virtually, you may use the virtual meeting rooms by letting your participants walk through them – like you did yourself – using avatars. Having venues started to display themselves online gives you the advantage of using the virtual meeting space for the virtual aspect of your hybrid event, or even entirely online event.

Stay safe with the physical distancing tool

Btw. Allseated’s platform also includes a physical distancing tool that helps us to plan the event safely. By specifying the distance between tables or chairs, we can immediately see when a setup is too close and how much capacity the meeting rooms will still allow.

exVo by Allseated – the virtual event or exhibition platform

Moving on to the possibility of using the virtual meeting space which you have decided for, let’s take a closer look at exVo, the virtual meeting platform that your attendees will use. You can choose the venue wherever you want your participants to meet or attend the event, make it the best fit for your event purpose. Alternatively, you can use exVo as the virtual extension to your live event, connecting real with virtual by choosing the same venue where a part of your attendees will actually be in. Create a copy of the design virtually – which will be easy because you had visited the venue virtually before and the seating and layout have already been set up – and have attendees in person at the exhibition or meeting as well as your online audience joining from all over the world, experiencing the same event design.

Creating your event avatar

Every virtual attendee becomes an avatar on the platform that is reminding me a little of the robot EVE in the movie WALL•E. To make attendees recognizable, they can choose to upload a photo or show their camera video in the ‘face’ of the avatar. The entered name will be displayed above the avatar and they may upload a logo that will appear on the ‘body’.

The online audience can then move between sessions in the virtual event space, network on the go when meeting other avatars in the hallways, and walk around the event space (almost) just like the in-person attendees. Navigating through the space is quite simple using game-like technology. When approaching exhibitors, who can create their own booths and style them with logo, images, and videos, the sound of videos will automatically turn on. Exhibitor’s avatars may welcome guests and they can start individual conversations just like at the real exhibition.

Pop-up messages will give guests the option to start conversations or join a group’s conversation when getting close enough. When in a conversation you can not only see the video of each person in their avatar’s ‘face’ (if activated) but also have the videos open at the top of the page. There are a lot of options to interact with attendees while they navigate through the venue, making them feel more present and included with a life-like ‘walk’ through the event space.

What to consider when using a virtual platform

Now this may all sound like a much more lively and engaging virtual event experience, however, you may keep some technical requirements in mind. Such an online event platform only creates the desired effect and positive engagement if it actually runs well. Do you know from which devices your audience will join the event? Older, slower devices will not be suitable for this type of virtual event because the required bandwidth necessary for all the videos and graphics will slow down the platform immensely, resulting in videos being stuck, sound disrupted, and navigating is more a jumping back and forth, making it difficult to enjoy the event or exhibition itself. Think of it as a game that runs best in browsers on modern computers or laptops, since I haven’t seen a mobile version of exVo yet.

Giving online attendees the option to move around freely during a meeting or event enhances their engagement level greatly. They are in charge of their own event experience. They can choose whom to talk to or where to walk and explore the meeting space, meeting new people on the way, creating these casual meetings that we miss in all-or-nobody video conferencing tools.

Sounds like you want exactly that? Get in touch with us to learn more about Allseated and/or exVo and get a better feel whether this could be the platform for your next event.

Have a wonderful day!

Kristin

1 thought on “Virtual Site Inspections: Is Exhibiting and Visiting Venues Online the New Best Practice?”

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