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Event Tech Check: Breaking Down the Latest News and Products for Virtual and Hybrid Events

BizBash takes a deep-dive into the newest tech solutions for events of all types.

vTogether's Virtual Venue
U.K.-based startup vTogether has launched a range of ready-to-use virtual spaces and venues, allowing event hosts to easily select a preplanned space in which their guests can network, collaborate and socialize.
Screenshot: Courtesy of vTogether

BizBash's newest column offers a monthly check-in on all things event tech, from new virtual platforms to social distancing-focused tools to software that will make your job easier. Got a tip? Get in touch!

In Case You Missed It
Recently on BizBash, we explored how artificial intelligence is taking over the event industry. We also rounded up six tips to ensure your event tech experience is a success, from the importance of tech rehearsals to advice for talking tech like a native. Find our coverage of all-things event technology here

More Event Technology We're Excited About This Month
For a truly interactive virtual platform—with no downloads required
Next week, software developer New Game+ will launch Odyssey, a virtual event platform that aims to mirror in-person engagement by allowing guests to freely socialize, interact and explore as they would in the real world. One thing that makes the platform unique? Attendees can manipulate objects and displays around them, allowing for interactions with 3D product models, event collateral and more. Built with Unreal Engine technology, Odyssey allows for detailed visualizations and customizable avatars; it is completely browser-based, and streaming technology means guests can attend from anywhere regardless of their computer specifications. 

“Odyssey improves virtual communication by allowing professionals to immerse in a 3D native world where they can collaborate and be immersed without the need of high-end hardware, in an environment that is tuned for business,” explained New Game+ CEO Reid SantaBarbara.“[What] really excites me about Odyssey is how we've been able to leverage the Unreal Engine to not only deliver industry-leading graphics for true spatial immersion, but also that we are one of the first teams in the world to utilize [Unreal Engine’s] Pixel Streaming technology to deliver Odyssey’s incredible graphics to a user's device through just an internet connection,” said Maxime Long, CTO of New Game+.“[What] really excites me about Odyssey is how we've been able to leverage the Unreal Engine to not only deliver industry-leading graphics for true spatial immersion, but also that we are one of the first teams in the world to utilize [Unreal Engine’s] Pixel Streaming technology to deliver Odyssey’s incredible graphics to a user's device through just an internet connection,” said Maxime Long, CTO of New Game+.Photo: Courtesy of New Game+

To plan a virtual site visit or FAM trip
The Virsitour platform allows planners and hosts to virtually visit hotels and event venues, before sending an RFP, via a complimentary directory of spaces around the world. To take it a step further, though, the subscription-based platform can help vendors and venues check each other’s calendars to schedule more in-depth one-on-one meetings; planners can also save their favorite locations to a list and easily create and manage RFPs. Virsitour can also host virtual FAM trips, networking events and more, managing the guest list and set up of the event.

"I wanted to create a place where planners can source virtually with all the tools they need to make confident decisions. Hotels, venues and virtual services can easily and affordably reach more event planners across the globe," explained founder and CEO Debbie Garcia, who launched the website earlier this year. 

For a ready-to-use virtual venue
U.K.-based startup vTogether has launched a series of off-the-shelf, ready-to-use virtual venues with themes like a beach club, an alpine meadow, a jazz lounge and a secret garden. While the company has created thousands of bespoke virtual event spaces since launching last year, these new options offer an easy, quick way to select a space where guests can network, collaborate and socialize virtually. Each space holds 50 virtual guests, with additional venues to be rolled out in the coming months. Guests using vTogether, which utilizes technology from topia.io, can freely mingle and chat in groups by navigating on-screen avatars.

“We’ve already welcomed more than 20,000 attendees to our events, and our new ready-to-use spaces will allow more people to experience how our events capture the magic of meeting in person when they’re physically apart, leading to real business value," said Paul Hamilton, founder of vTogether. vTogether's Virtual VenuevTogether’s new ready-to-use virtual venues have four themes, including a beach club with its own digital tiki bar.Photo: Courtesy of vTogether

To host both live webinars and on-demand content in one easy-to-access space
Cloud-based hybrid engagement platform ON24 is bringing together live webinar viewing and on-demand content with its new ON24 Webcast Elite offering, part of the ON24 Engagement Hub, a central content destination for virtual events. ON24 Webcast Elite delivers live, simulive or on-demand interactive webinars, allowing companies to bring together all of their experiences in one content hub where users can easily switch between live webinars to different experiences. Other new features in the ON24 Engagement Hub include bookmarking capabilities so users can save content that interests them, personalized content recommendations powered by AI, predefined content categories making search functions easy and more.

“We’re delivering on our vision to build the industry’s most powerful marketing and sales platform to generate demand, enable partners and convert prospects,” said Sharat Sharan, founder and CEO of ON24. “Customers can now easily move audiences between their live webinars and content hubs to drive deeper engagement and accelerate the buyer journey.”

For a fun online ice breaker
Networking company SCANTrivia, known for its gamification-focused ice breakers that place QR codes throughout a venue or exhibit hall, has launched a new suite of virtual games. Utilizing an immersive, 3D environment, the offering is styled like a virtual game board; attendees choose an avatar and complete interactive trivia challenges that are unlocked via their smartphones. Trivia topics can be customized; at trade shows, for example, brand-focused trivia questions can be set up to drive engagement to each booth. Watch the video below for more:


The Latest Promotion and Merger News
Event success platform Bizzabo has announced a new partnership with video production company Brightcove, meaning Bizzabo customers can now integrate Brightcove’s broadcast-grade streaming tech into any event. Through the partnership, event pros will have access to an end-to-end solution for designing, managing, executing and measuring the success of virtual and hybrid events. 

Virtual platform Hopin has announced that Wei Gao is the company’s first chief operating officer. She previously served as the worldwide vice president of product, technology and supply chain for Amazon Grocery and as technical advisor to Jeff Bezos. At Hopin, Gao will lead operations and oversee the rapid growth of Hopin’s virtual event and shared experiences platform.

Event management software company Aventri and live video solutions platform Brandlive have announced a new partnership. Organizers can now use Brandlive’s Greenroom video production software and other content creation tools to bring TV-like virtual and hybrid events to the Aventri platform. Last month, Brandlive launched an update to its patent-pending Greenroom, which adds new features that allow partners to integrate the company’s content creation tools into their own platforms. 

Technology-enabled services company Intrado Digital Media recently announced a new partnership with cloud-based interpretation service Interprefy. The partnership will allow for the live delivery of multilingual audio content using Intrado Digital Media’s webcasting platform, Studio. There are 26 different languages clients can use in real time to overlay audio content in video presentations.

Intrado Digital Media also recently acquired digital experience and event automation platform Hubb. The new partnership will offer a comprehensive event management and delivery platform, with self-service tools for event professionals, virtual lobbies and virtual expo hall options, registration and content management tools, a single source for on-site and online event data and analytics, enhanced webcasting and social tools, and much more.

Industry veteran Wayne Crawford has been named vice president of account management at Grip, a market engagement platform built to support event professionals. Crawford has more than 30 years of event-industry management and executive experience as both an organizer and technology supplier.

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