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Why virtual conferences are here to stay.

Fa calendar 16 grey July 24, 2020   
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The acceleration of technological advancement in e-commerce and virtual conferencing, has taken its upsurge to replace in-person business events and conventions.

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Photo credit: Anna Shvets

Change is inevitable. It is what has driven humanity from the age of evolution to the age of enlightenment. The ability to adapt to change has guaranteed the rise of economies and ultimately the survival of businesses. In the event of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economies have witnessed structural changes that have put some out of business, and rendered multitudes jobless, as they wait for things to get back to normal.

Following the travel restrictions, and social distancing imposed, major global business events have been cancelled, rescheduled, or moved to online. The Digital Information World has estimated that businesses conferences generate more than $ 1 trillion in direct spending including airfare, hotel stays, dining, and transportation. Some of the sectors that generate such income have experienced losses. Even if travel bans are lifted and economies opened, to compensate on the losses made, such sectors would hike prices. In addition, following safety precautions, people are most likely to avoid public transport, crowded gatherings, and large cities.

However, the normalcy of the future is uncertain as to whether the world economies will return to the pre COVID-19 normal. Businesses have already shifted to the new normal by taking their businesses to the consumers rather than waiting for the consumers to come to them. The acceleration of technological advancement in e-commerce and virtual conferencing, has taken its upsurge to replace in-person business events and conventions.

One may wonder, will virtual events still be a thing in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic? According to IMPACT 86% of participants in online meetings have reported an equal or higher level of engagement compared to in-person meetings. The investments made by businesses in technology, suggests that virtual conferencing is here to stay, and here are additional reasons why.

1. It will save on time and cost.

There is no doubt that in the aftermath of the pandemic, hotel, tourism and travel sector will look forward to recoup losses made during the pandemic. While we hope that all sectors will recover, virtual conferencing would ensure that the cost incurred during the travel would be reallocated and invested more in the key players and speakers of the events.

2. It will increase website traffic

One of the advantages of virtual conferencing is that it has no limit to the capacity of people who can attend (at least in most cases). Consequently, holding a website conference, offers higher engagement rates compared to in person conferences where, in most scenarios, the host venue may have a maximum capacity. In more ways, virtual conferencing has the upper hand in boosting online businesses. Digital Information World has projected that by 2021, video, including web conferencing will account for 80% of all internet traffic.

Virtual conferencing platforms like Zoom also have additional unique features such as talks, discussions panels and live survey, which boosts social connectivity, enabling a direct contact between the hosts and the guests.

The future of businesses in the aftermath of covid-19 can be said to be hybrid – an incorporation of the old ways with a blend of technological advancement experienced in the wake of the pandemic. As the American politician Kent Buck once said, that the business might change, the technology might change, the team and the team members might change, but the problem is not change per se, because change is going to happen, the problem rather is the inability to cope with change when it comes. Change is here with us, let us embrace it, and use our creativity to overcome the current adversity.

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