The massive pivot to take Event Tech Live (ETL) from hybrid to virtual in the space of four weeks, and its resounding success, is a credit to the team behind the show, from organiser AMP to the international audience via exhibitors, sponsors and supporters.
One of the refreshing things about that whole, the people behind Event Tech Live, is their honesty. In this session, co-founder Adam Parry and Richard Belcher, MD at First Sight Media – the company broadcasting the virtual content and one of the show’s long-term allies – describe the hurdles they were still climbing on the penultimate day. There is, after all, a lot less direct control for organisers in this environment…
The show’s accomplishments since it launched six years ago are a product of its compelling focus and the partnerships that have come together as a product of the organisers’ integrity and openness. They want to put a profitable show together, of course, but is has to deliver absolutely on its commitments. And that holds true even with show week sitting right across the week lockdown 2 kicked in.
Taking questions from James Dickson, Adam Parry described the virtual incarnation as a “totally different experience” to its live antecedents.
“We had a hybrid model in mind with one eye on October 1st. So, a fully virtual ETL was always in the background but the speed it had to change – come the government’s local Covid alert levels – was a real challenge. It was almost like planning two events side by side.
“It shifted from bringing people together in a single environment to reaching the engaged right around the world, which took me a little while to get used to. In the beginning I felt more like tech support,” Parry smiled.
The focus, as ever actually, has been on delivering really good quality content. This time out, that meant putting panels together from across multiple time zones and, Being Event Tech Live, there is an extra pressure on getting the delivery right across 100 panels, pitches, tech demos and presentations.
“The more time you have to plan an event the more bespoke it can be,” Richard Belcher said. “The official date Event Tech Live declared it was going to be wholly virtual was October 5 – a month out – and there is always going to be a lot of expectation with a show like this one.
“To that end, it’s good that we have an existing relationship with Adam and the team that goes back more than five years.”
There was no trotting out of tired trade show cliches here. It was big problems and how to overcome them as much as anything else – learning as you go a big part of that.