The world has been forced to shift the event paradigm overnight. Entertainment, education, and corporate enterprises have been forced to migrate to virtual event platforms to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While a lot of companies have adopted the Work-From-Home (WFH) policy and in-person events have been restricted, virtual events platforms are here to stay. Currently, companies are using virtual event solutions for business and client meetings.
Not only does participating in virtual events through smartphones or laptops open up ample opportunities for them to maintain positive cash flow, but it allows them to set up a training session, hold a press conference or conduct a sales meeting. According to recent statistics, the global virtual events market size reached up to 78 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027. Having that in mind, we have created a virtual event system that allows companies and organizations to continue their business processes during the coronavirus pandemic. Sounds impressive, right? Let’s delve into the details below!
What exactly is a virtual event platform?
A virtual event platform is used as a solution that makes impossible offline events possible. Not only does it help you reduce the costs to deliver your content, but it allows you to connect your attendees using sophisticated digital networking solutions. Moreover, visitors and businesses can collaborate, share information, connect with others, and find out more about new events - whether it is a workshop, meeting, webinar, or a conference.
What are the types of virtual event solutions?
Let’s take a closer look at the types of virtual event platforms below:
- Virtual event platforms: these types of platforms provide users with a broader range of cases for external and internal users. Not only do they tend to have live and on-demand interactive elements, but you can also find rich navigation options within these solutions.
- Webinar solutions: these types of virtual solutions include minimum interactivity built-in options. Generally, their main focus is on delivering short-form webcasting (i.e. one-way delivery with no real agenda) with on-demand access.
- Internal meeting tools: these types of solutions are designed specifically to make internal conversations within the teams easy and quick. However, they include limited navigation and offer a separate process to invite users - using an external calendar or email tools.
Why do you need a virtual event platform?
Let’s take a look at why a virtual event platform may be a necessity for your business:
- If you need to reach a larger audience at a lower cost.
- If you want to facilitate a connection with valuable partners globally and deepen the bond.
- If you need to collect users’ feedback through surveys quickly.
- If you need to keep attendees engaged pre, during, and post-event.
- If you need to organize two-way communication within the teams.
- If you need to meet potential business partners and generate new leads.
As you see, virtual event platforms are great solutions for interacting in a virtual environment. Not only do they allow you to bring together remote workers, but these platforms can also be used to organize large-scale conferences with thousands of attendees.
What’s the idea of the virtual event platform?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed all industries worldwide. As a result of that, many companies had to opt for a work-from-home model of collaboration in terms of restrictions to physically meet with your partners or colleagues. That has changed the balance of the working environment for many organizations. Furthermore, many have been forced to accelerate their digital transformation to stay afloat during challenging times. With that in mind, we developed a virtual event platform that will help companies keep their organization going during these extraordinary times. Not only will it help them organize internal workshops and meetings, but they can also generate revenue, facilitate connection with valuable external partners and potential clients by organizing large-scale external conferences. Keep on reading to find out more details!
The development process of the virtual event platform
Let’s find out how we developed a virtual event platform.
When working on the virtual event platform, our team included the following specialists:
- 1 Business analyst (BA)
- 1 Project manager (PM)
- 2 UI/UX designers
- 3 Front-end engineers
- 2 Quality assurance engineers (QA)
- 3 Backend engineers
We used Agile-driven software methodology when working on the project. We chose it based on the following factors:
- The client’s needs always took priority over the requirements in the development plans.
- We adapted the potential project to any changes in the requirements of the client.
- Results were more important than established processes.
We implemented 24 sprints during which the development team completed a virtual event platform and reached established goals.
Once a Business Analyst clarified the problem a client wanted to solve using a virtual event system and gathered all the essential information about the business processes, potential users, their actions, the team could identify key roles and features for the potential solution. We defined the roles of the users such as an attendee, a speaker, an event manager, and an administrator. In addition to that, we came up with the following features:
- event calendar
- event management
- surveys and feedback
- security management
- ticket management
Business Analyst created a project specification document outlining the overall look at the desired virtual event solution and functional specification specifying how the client sees the appearance and capabilities of the upcoming system. Based on this information, a Project Manager provided a preliminary estimate to the client and suggested the roadmap for the development process. After it was confirmed, the planned scope of work (so-called Backlog) was divided into 2-week sprints.
The development included 24 sprints and lasted 12 months. Before each sprint, the whole team of designers, front-end and back-end engineers, QA specialists reviewed which feature from the backlog they would work on and commit to some result by the end of each sprint. Also, the team presented the results to the client during demo sessions. When the event virtual system was ready and free of bugs, we launched it and collected real-world feedback form the users to make improvements and upgrades.
Here you can discover what technologies have been used to create a virtual event platform. Let's delve into the details below!
Here you can find out the user customization within the virtual event platform.
- Event Manager: a person who is responsible for scheduling the live event, ensures the event is set up properly with the desired permissions for attendees. In addition to that, he/she sets up speakers from the registered users and manages an event.
- Attendee: a viewer who can register on the platform, watch the event live or on-demand, participate in moderated Q&As, polls during the event.
- Speaker: an active presenter that is responsible for either presenting audio, video, or a screen to the live event, or moderates Q&A.
- Administrator: has visibility to all features and functionality within the virtual event platform and can make global changes in the system configuration.
Once you register on the event virtual platform, you will be redirected to the homepage where you can see the main hub of navigation around the event virtual platform. Let’s find out what options are presented in the main menu:
- Live Stream
With the Dashboard feature, you can see events feed, active events statistics, a calendar that can be synced with Google calendar.
With the events feature, you can see all the essential information about external or internal events. Only by using the All, Today, Upcoming and Finished tabs can you filter all the events quickly and easily. Thanks to the virtual events, you can attend an event you are interested in - whether it is a workshop, a webinar, a conference or create bookmarks. Moreover, you can facilitate internal meetings between two team members or small groups.
With the Live Stream feature, you can join virtual events on the fly and watch them in real time. Not only can you view them and comment on it, but you can also interact directly with the attendees with the help of live chats, Q&As and polling.
- Networking: this feature allows users to interact live by posting messages that appear beside the live stream and share emojis.
- Q&A: this feature allows attendees to ask questions even if the event hasn't started.
- Polling: This feature allows you to ask your audience a question or series of questions to measure and analyze audience opinion live.
With the Notifications feature, you can reach a captive audience of users who are in the virtual event platform and already engaged. Not only can you provide timely information such as event confirmation, status updates, popular events from the virtual event platform, but it allows users to take actions directly from the notification. Moreover, you can customize the journey for each user.
With the History feature, you can see all the events you have joined. - internal or external. Not only can you watch a webinar or a workshop again, but you also have a lot more control over the information stored in the history. In addition to that, you can delete an event or save it.
Event Manager Dashboard
Only by signing in the virtual event platform can you land on the dashboard. Here you will see the main navigation within the virtual event platform. The main menu includes the following:
- Live Polls
- Event Configuration
With the Events feature, you can create clear, informative and actionable information about your event so that virtual attendees can join an event. This helps the attendees know who the speakers are, what date, and what duration is the event. Not only does it help registrants to easily browse, bookmark, or schedule events they would like to attend, but it will drive registration and ensure that attendees can find and participate in the events that are most valuable to them.
With the ‘People’ option, you can see all the users such as event managers, speakers, attendees within the virtual event platform. Not only can you see their full names, but you can also discover their emails and groups formed specifically to organize a virtual event. In addition to that, you can click on the username to get more detailed information about this very user.
With the tickets feature, you can monitor and manage all the tickets for the virtual events. Not only can you see how many tickets are there in place, but you can also find out how many tickets have been sold.
Live Polls & Q&A
With these features, you can provide your virtual audience with the questions it would like to address. Not only does it help you get instant insights, opinions and feedback from attendees, but it also allows you to modify event services accordingly. In addition to that, speakers can view and reply to such questions instantly.
With this feature, you can set up the “back-end” to your event. Not only can you determine what information you want to expose to your event, but you can also select payment methods, fonts, colors, language options, etc. Here you can find three tabs such as Registration, Check-in and Live Display. Thanks to these options, you can monitor the registrants, check-ins process and set up a live display of the event.
With the Analytics feature, you can get all the information about the event organized within the virtual event platform. Not only can you see the number of attendees, sponsors, and speakers, but you can also discover what topics were most popular to consider for future events. Moreover, you can measure the overall success of your virtual event.
Only by signing in as an Administrator can you be landed on the Dashboard page in the virtual event platform. Also, you can see all the action icons located at the top of the homepage. Here you will see the following hub of navigation within the virtual event platform: Dashboard, Events, People, Finance, Surveys, Analytics, Integrations, and System Settings.
With the Surveys feature, you can see all the information about the audience having participated in Q&As and live poll, networking with other remote attendees, etc. Not only can you find out who will be attending the event and collect data, but you can also run surveys during your event to see what people think, discover your attendees’ preferences and make improvements in the future events.
With the Integration feature, you can integrate third-party solutions to deliver a more positive experience and enhance security. Not only can you add the latest must-have features and ensure you have the appropriate site analytics and marketing metrics, but you can also build a sustainable and scalable infrastructure taking your business to the next level.
With the System Settings, you can set up your preference - rules and restrictions within the virtual event system, but you can also leave default settings if they work for you and there is no need to change them.
Key features of the virtual event platform
Let’s take a closer look at the features essential for the virtual event platform.
- Event Calendar: with this feature, you have an accurate picture of events and make the appropriate changes. Not only can you create and manage your events, but you can also determine when, where and how the events will take place, set due dates, and add reminders.
- Event Management: with this feature, you can manage the events on the fly. Not only can you plan and execute large-scale internal company meetings and external special events, but you can also monitor and analyze attendees’ feedback.
- Payments: with this feature, you can accept and maintain an efficient and secure process for accepting payments to capture more revenue.
- Surveys & Feedback: thanks to this feature, you can create customized Q&As and conduct online surveys to gain a better understanding of what makes your attendees more engaged and adjust your marketing efforts to better meet their needs.
- Scheduling: with this feature, you can add, edit and move events with a simple click. not only can you allocate speakers with ease, but you can also update your schedules in real time.
- Security Management: thanks to this feature, you will be sure that all data is protected.
- Ticket Management: thanks to that feature, you can easily manage the tickets for a variety of events - workshops, conferences, meet-ups, etc.
- Reporting: with this feature, you can quickly get reports on any of your resources or events. In addition to that, you can view them online or export to other tools.
Benefits of the virtual event platform for your business
Making the shift from an in-house event to a virtual experience may be difficult, but a way out when concerned about attendees' safety given the current global crisis. Here we have reviewed some benefits you can derive from virtual event platforms.
- It is interactive enough to keep attendees engaged and focused throughout a live session.
- With virtual event platforms, the overall cost of virtual events is greatly reduced.
- You can track user-behavior in real time and use this information to make the event better.
- You can expand your audience by engaging people from across the world no matter where they live.
- You can measure the overall success of your virtual event based on attendees’ feedback.
How to choose a virtual event platform for your company?
Whether you host small closed-door workshops or large external events, it’s now a good practice to opt for a virtual event platform. Not only can you reduce the risks, but it also allows you to maximize your gains. However, at the very start, it’s imperative to define your business goals and identify key features of the virtual event solution. Based on that information, you can look through a diversity of vendors and select the most suitable one. Only by doing so can you realize the full potential of a virtual event platform and invest strategically.
Moreover, make sure that the virtual event platform is highly protected, easy to configure, and can be seamlessly integrated with other solutions - whether it is an HR software, CRM or billing software. Even though your company may not need all the features and functionality a vendor offers, it doesn’t mean that your company won’t need additional and more advanced functionality in the future. Alternatively, you should take into account that you can find a tech partner who can implement a virtual event solution from scratch based on your unique needs and requirements.
Bottom line: Going virtual?
In today’s world, going virtual has become a necessity. Currently, a lot of companies have opted for the virtual event platforms that best suit their needs and requirements. Only by developing and implementing a platform that is compatible with your format can you open up ample opportunities for your business. Not only can you organize a diversity of events and reach global audiences by selling tickets online, but you can also grow your business and drive more revenue. We, at DDI Development, have vast technical experience in delivering a variety of digital solutions for different business verticals. Let us know if you want to bring your idea to life.