How ill-prepared companies were for the digital leap…
There are many stories out there, both of success and of failure when the limitations of countries in lockdown became a reality.
Those who were slow to adapt to digital engagement and work-from-home (WFH) dynamics were hit hardest whilst others with big portions of their business already using several digital platforms were quick to step up and become leaders in the new world of work.
Solutions like Zoom and MS Teams became overnight superstars as the world grappled to find digital ways of engagement. The downside however is that we all quickly became fatigued by the constant on-line meetings filling your diary wall-to-wall with often little or no gaps in-between!
Hosting conferences also became a huge dilemma as the solutions most organizers gravitated towards was the same on-line meeting platforms but with now several hundred participants on line at the same time, a sure challenge for platform stability and people engagement.
To make things sound more high-tech and attractive, almost all of these organizers referred to their conferences as “virtual” conferences. Technically speaking, these conferences should rather be called “on-line” conferences as they contain normal website-like pages with content displayed in a flat format on them.
A “virtual” conference in the true sense, is one that digitally mimics a real-world experience and were participants enter into a digitally created immersive environment wherein they can navigate around as they would have done at a real-world event.
This concept forms part a new technology trend called “Gamification”.
A few quick Google-searches of the following terms reveal the following:
What is Gamification?
What makes gamification successful?
Is gamification good or bad?
How does gamification work?
Does gamification increase engagement?
Who uses gamification?
What are the benefits of using gamification in virtual conferences?
It has already been done in the retirement industry in South Africa.
Adopting to using the new technology is challenging and in 2020 EBnet took a leap of faith in this direction when COVID 19 confronted us to re-think our conference strategy. We were the first to adopt this technology in the South African retirement industry landscape and had no similar examples to rely on.
Having to create a digital environment for our venue, we opted for what many view as the destination of dreams; SPACE – just ask a few well-known billionaires about some of their passions.
Our venue took the form of a huge spaceship, travelling in space and to which our attendees after logging in were shuttled to by a “Space Uber”.
Upon arrival, attendees ended up in a big exhibition hall with 20 exhibitor stands lined around the perimeter of the venue and a series of pre-recorded speaker booths centered along the middle.
The conference was initially scheduled to span 3 days only (24 – 26 August 2020) but late on Wednesday afternoon, after receiving several requests to keep the portal open, the conference was extended to Friday 28 August 2020.
The conference was attended by 437 visitors and total stand visits of 798 were registered, meaning several individuals returned to certain stands a multiple of times.
The graphs below show the number of visitors per stand over the 5 days as well as the interaction rate these visitors had with the various stands and the elements (video, brochures and business cards) contained therein.
The 2020 Virtual conference was undoubtedly a huge success and bears testament to the increased user engagement levels that can be expected from this type of gamification-orientated event.
EBnet will be repeating this concept in 2021 by hosting yet another 3-D virtual conference and covering a variety of the latest retirement industry related topics and trends on the menu. There will also be a few new concepts we will be bringing to the industry.
For more information, visit the EBnet 3-D Virtual Conference 2021 page at https://www.ebnet.co.za/ebnet-3-d-conference-2021