With so much talk about live events, virtual events, and hybrid events; we thought about what the benefits and challenges of hybrid technologies are for the AV industry. Read on below as we share our insight.
Advantages of Hybrid Technologies
- Cost decreases as less labor is needed for an online event, and there are no hospitality services such as food and live entertainment.
- Creativity increases as limited budgets no longer limit the event experience. Now even smaller organizations can set up grand virtual events.
- International talent can easily come together with virtual events, which increases competition between event planners and events. We can now access talent and entertainment that we could not have before.
- A broader region of people can be reached across the globe along with a local live event. This brings in more revenue and brings more people together.
- Interactive video capability across virtual platforms makes the hybrid event experience superior to a live event, where you can’t be in two places at a time. It can also provide ease of use, save time, and optimize user experience.
Challenges with Hybrid Technologies
- User equipment is readily available as some companies have gone out of business. But we have limited staff with the knowledge and expertise to be able to use both live event equipment and virtual platforms.
- With increasing costs, event planners may not have the best internet and their experience is compromised. Individuals who are connecting remotely can also experience only the content that their individual internet bandwidth can manage. Presenters may not have reliable Wi-Fi either, which is hard to guarantee for a successful event.
- The preparation time to gather information and get the agenda ready takes double the amount of work. The work must be planned for a live event and planned all over again for a virtual event. It is like wearing two hats and requires attention to detail and customization.
- AV companies are often adding in technology last minute to meet the requirements of the virtual event side of things. Another laptop may be added for another person on order to connect your virtual audience with your live audience. Tablet stations can be needed across every room and must be be tied into each moderator, to cross-connect with online members. The cost of equipment increases.
- Adapting to changes is even more key with hybrid technologies as higher accountability is needed from each side. Otherwise, big issues can arise. There must be a smooth flow to each user experience, despite the increased work at the back-end. There is limited room for error.
- The ROI for in-person and online events is similar, so hybrid technologies often do not maximize on profits and margins. Despite cost reductions and larger revenue streams, the ROI remains mostly consistent.
- Hybrid technologies have a process to their layout so you can’t put a vendor in an aisle at a live event and translate this into a virtual platform, whereas in a virtual event you can put anyone anywhere and create more space than is present at a live venue.
As we adapt to the changing AV and events industry, it is important to understand which hybrid technologies are beneficial for which type of event and vice versa. Hybrid technologies offer a new event experience that was not possible before the pandemic, and as a result there are a lot of new ideas and benefits to hybrid events. Despite some challenges and learning required to adapt to these new technologies, we are able to accomplish more and must realize the opportunities we can seize.