Organizers Pull Together First-Ever Virtual Event Tech Live in a Month

Frances Ferrante
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LONDON — Event Tech Live was planned as a hybrid meeting (with the live component at the Old Truman Brewery in East London) after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead in July to open business events, conferences and event venues October 1. All that quickly changed, though, with soaring COVID-19 numbers, and organizers found themselves with just 30 days of lead time to produce their first-ever fully-virtual show, known as vETL.

The opening session on November 2 was an ideally-timed panel discussion on what hybrid events and exhibitions will look like post-COVID, led by Collingwood Advisory Founder Piers Bearne. The event closed five days later with a session by U.S. Technical Producer Brandt Krueger and Endless Events Founder Will Curran taking a look ahead with “Welcome to 2030Your Hybrid Event Life.” In between, 2,665 attendees viewed 172 sessions — some served up on-demand, others live — and met online with the 101 exhibitors.

An annual show highlight is the Event Technology Awards, and Konduko, a provider of “Kontactless” smart event technologies, took three honors: Best Use of Technology for Engagement & Interaction (B2B), Best Use of Wireless Technology, and Best Exhibition Technology. Other winners included event management software specialist Shocklogic, which took the People’s Choice Award Gold Prize, and Socio, named Best Technology Startup.

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As the organizers of a leading event technology expo, the planners of vETL were very much in the spotlight. “There was definitely an added pressure, an inference of, ‘This is how you do it,’ ” said Adam Parry, Co-founder and Editor of www.eventindustrynews.com. “So, as we have seen many other shows do this year, the pivot was about beating big odds.” Among its best practices, vETL offered options to accommodate people from different time zones. “We made the mornings as early as possible, the evenings as late as possible, and filled the middle with No Preferences,” Parry said. “There were a few panels with participants from both hemispheres, but we got there.”

Reach Adam Parry at 44 (0) 161 39 31 999 or hello@eventtechlive.com.