Event Tech Live 2021 – First Impressions

The Event Tech Live exhibition is always one of the highlights of the event technology calendar for us. Usually we attend in person and it’s great to catch up with old friends and make new ones at the Old Truman Brewery in London. This year, due to busy schedules and of course the difficulties that have arisen due to the ongoing pandemic, alongside thousands of others, we made our visit a virtual one.
It’s worth noting, however, that unlike last year, ETL 21 was actually a hybrid event this year, with a live event and a virtual event taking place simultaneously.

As ever, the event itself was a heady mix of over 100 exhibitors and 3500 industry attendees, spread across five days. The popular Tech Demo segments allowed visitors to get a hands-on experience with some of the newest and most exciting innovations in event technology.

There was also a packed programme of presentations, speakers and workshops. Visitors had the chance to hear from, among others, ETL founder Adam Parry, Basia Dudziak and Nick Paul of Linked Technologies, Lisa Vogel and Nolan Ether of Socio, and John McCormick of Hubilo.

Particularly interesting was Hoosh CEO Fab Capodisca’s closing presentation, titled What We Can Learn from the Gaming, Esports and Porn Industries? Capodisca touched on many points around the metaverse (as we covered in a recent blog) and the potentially earth-shattering implications ideas like this have for the way events – real, virtual and hybrid – will happen in the very near future.

A key point he made – and one that I have to agree with – is how far ahead of the game those industries are to “traditional” corporate and consumer events organisers when it comes to creating digital events that are immersive and engaging.

One approach that was suggested for generating immersion and engagement at events was the use of “virtual commentators” – similar to those used in eSports – who visit booths (real or virtual) on camera, with cameras and headsets, to put their own angle on the event content. Hubilo director of sales John McCormick’s discussion on gamification was also very interesting and packed with useful and practical advice.

The event has just concluded and there was certainly a lot of food for thought for anyone interested in the future of live, hybrid and virtual events. Over the weeks we’ll hopefully get a chance to try to unpack some more of it on our blog and social pages. I’m also hoping that some of the content will be available on-demand at some point, at which point I will make sure to share it with our audience here. Hopefully by next year the stars will have aligned in such a way that it will be practical for us to attend in person, but in the meantime, the virtual visit was a great stand-in and certainly a valuable experience all around.


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