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Investing in innovation

by EN

James Morgan tracks new technology for virtual event planners.

Whilst the economy has been in a recessionary spiral for months, there are signs that some businesses are investing in their futures. The technology sector is one where we are seeing investment in innovation.

This is in terms of startups as well as established technologies.

Not surprisingly, these investments are addressing the challenges the events industry is facing right now but they also are looking ahead into the future. The new technologies need to be more than one trick ponies and be relevant to the way in which the events sector engages with future audiences.

This month EN reviews three new kids on the #eventtech block who are pushing the boundaries to make virtual and hybrid events more engaging.

Many of us have heard of US-based Evernote, the collaboration platform. Its owner Phil Libin has now founded All Turtles. It’s described as a Startup Studio and focuses on developing AI platforms.

This includes the new presentation tool Mmhmm.

Mmhmm was developed during the pandemic to up the ante for online meeting platforms. The intuitive platform allows users to create engaging presentations using a variety of presentation tools. The playback of embedded videos in high quality is notable, along with the sharpness of the screen sharing and green screen functions.

Mmhmm’s ‘Co-pilot’ feature allows two users to present simultaneously. It also allows one presenter to speak and be visible whilst the other speaker can run the presentation controls, switch slides, play video and change the look and feel of the environment during the presentation.

This provides viewers with a more engaging virtual environment.

But sometimes organisers might want more than presentations for their virtual and hybrid content. UK-based mixedrealityrooms.com has just launched. This brand new platform of virtual environments has a presentation function but, importantly it does a lot of other things in addition.

The platform specialises in high-quality online breakout rooms, providing event and marketing teams with immersive 3D environments.

Again, the platform was born out of COVID-19 and the problem of seeking an effective way to provide entertainment and engage with attendees at virtual events.

Its creative, versatile spaces are pushing the boundaries of remote connection in a more captivating fashion.

The platform lets attendees move freely between zones in rooms and between rooms, allowing them to connect with the people nearest to them.

The use of proximity audio creates a real-life experience by sounds being louder within a room and less loud when leaving or entering.

The self-service platform also allows organisers to create entertaining and educational engagement with attendees by creating bespoke games, treasure hunts and environments.

In addition, organisers can also use the platform pre-event to get attendees excited by hosting drinks receptions in real-time or even a Yoga class.

Mixedrealityrooms.com also offers great post-event engagement by using email to send personalised content and merchandise inspired by user actions.

There has also been investments into virtual urban environments. An excellent example is Atolye. live from Istanbul brand agency Atolya (pictured). Atolya has built an island resort that boasts six separate virtual venues. Each venue has been set up to house events for particular purposes. In the current iterations, virtual events can be held in the convention centre, the gaming centre for e-sports, a hotel, a penthouse for private events, a performance centre for the arts and a shopping mall for product launches and retail experiences.

Lastly, there has been investment on back-of-house platforms. The up-graded vMix platform – vMix 23 is an excellent example. This is a platform where content can be produced to rival live television production.

For organisers who have multiple stages, lots of speakers and many other content streams, this technology is an online tool that is going to up the ante on production values.

The Australian-based company has been providing its online vision mixing tool since 2013 so reliability is not in question.

vMix allows content creators to broadcast video and sound to multiple sources like YouTube, Facebook and more. It allows the creator to mix multiple video and audio inputs into a single or multiple broadcast outputs.

The platform also facilitates the integration of live content from social media channels to appear directly into the live production output.

Other functions include a choice of different virtual studio configurations, a titles design application for creating bespoke titles that supports animations, and vMix Call, which is a video conferencing application.

All in all, the development and regeneration of technology platforms is something that has continued throughout the pandemic. There is also evidence that the technology companies have been busy with hiring new staff and with technology development to make sure they they are future-proofed.

That’s some good news for our industry.

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