BPA Worldwide, a leading global assurance provider of media, technology, events and sustainability standards compliance today announced the acquisition of VSef, the global data format for the digital events industry.
VSef was launched in early 2021, as a response to the rising uptake of digital event platforms and the increase in virtual event experiences. Its goal of creating a global standardized data format for digital events received backing from many world-leading organizers and platforms, including Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions, Tarsus Group, Emerald Expositions, Clarion Events, Grip, Balluun, Notified, Swapcard, Accelevents, ExpoPlatform, and many more.
Within a short time, VSef recruited the support of the event industry’s leading strategic partners, including the Events Industry Council (EIC), UFI, Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which were keen to assist in expanding the global reach of the initiative.
The lack of data standardization was an issue simultaneously identified by BPA, which launched the Reporting Standards for Digital Events (RSDE) initiative with the support of its own working group. Over the next nine months, BPA and VSef began a collaboration with the goal of creating a single industry standard for digital events.
Richard Murphy, President and CEO of BPA Worldwide, commented, “Digital events and digital components of in-person events are important elements of an event organizer’s portfolio. After levelling off after pandemic highs, we expect the digital channel to grow. The ability to gather, process, and share data efficiently is critical to achieving scale.” Murphy continued, “We want to recognize the excellent work of Explori and the VSef team to mobilize industry support and develop this data format. We are excited to take the lead and continue the journey. We will work with the industry associations and industry leaders to increase awareness, adoption and advancement of digital events, and digital events data solutions.”
Mark Brewster, Founder and CEO of Explori and VSef, added, “The pandemic saw the formidable emergence of digital events and the positive effect that this has had on the digitization of the events industry both in-person and online. The platform market has developed more rapidly than it has ever done in the past. It became clear that a data standard for digital events was essential in enabling event organizers to have consistent data and insights across the plethora of digital event technologies used.
“It has been a pleasure to work on such a progressive initiative for the industry,” Brewster continued. “Data is key to the evolution of the events industry and to ensure the betterment of our sector. Under Explori’s leadership, the VSef initiative was launched and now we believe that BPA is the perfect party to continue with this work into the future, drive awareness and increase adoption of common data standards.”
David Audrain, CEO of ExpoDavCo and SISO, commented, “Data standardization is an incredibly valuable resource for all of the industry as it provides efficiencies, time and cost savings to both providers and users, as well as better quality data, which is the ultimate goal of all. The industry has been well served by the efforts of Explori in creating VSef, and we look forward to further success under BPA.”
Next steps will be announced by BPA in the coming months, including a licensing opportunity for audit bodies to offer certification to the standard.