Not that it’s new news, but live events are back and nobody knows this better than Showcase as in the past two weeks they’ve been in Manchester, Birmingham, London and Amsterdam, where they have created five hybrid events. The events themselves were Housing 2021, Autumn Fair, Glee Birmingham, Money 2020 and World Retail Congress Summit.
Like everyone, Showcase hadn’t done an in-person event for over a year, not that they’ve been resting, virtual and hybrid events have kept them occupied, but in that time as you can imagine technology and its uses have changed.
Dave Harding-Lyle comments: “Technology never sits still and has always played an important role in what we do at live exhibitions. Before the pandemic we embraced innovative solutions for such roles as: designing sets and stages, building exhibition stands, event sound & video and printing. That hasn’t changed, we still actively research the best and most creative ways to execute these elements, but what has changed is the role of live streaming – in particular at hybrid events.”
With the return of in-person events, many thought that the importance of hybrid events would diminish, but that is not the case. It seems that the virtual offering and the technology that goes with them is now an increasingly important part of live exhibitions.
In the past, hybrid in particular was associated with the audience members, now it’s the speakers. At the five in-person exhibitions that Showcase created in September, they all included a live stream element. At Housing 2021, speakers were streamed in to the live stage, meanwhile at World Retail Congress Summit key speakers were streamed in. This new interest in virtual/hybrid being part of the live exhibition world has led to Showcase expanding their digital department and hiring Matthew Wilson as their dedicated Digital Manager.
Live streaming makes sense when it comes to speakers, the benefits are on both sides. The organisers can attract a wider collection of key speakers, who in turn are not put off attending because of travel restrictions.
This new role for live streaming does not alter the fact that there is still a need for excellent project management and a skilled team operating the technology. Showcase has always put organisation and planning at the top of their list. A good thing, as at Housing 2021 the recent Secretary of State for Housing was running late, so had to be streamed in with only minutes to spare. A relief then that Showcase understands that technology is only as good as the person operating it.
Dave Harding Lyle states: “ We always want to go the extra mile for our clients, be that introducing new technology, planning ahead or as we are doing at the moment offering £1,500 worth of free rental furniture to any client who commissions us to design, build and deliver a feature area. It’s also a way to celebrate the return of live events.”