2021: year of testing
We are at the beginning of a new year and there are many questions about the future of events in 2021.
We asked Miguel Neves, a specialist in digital events, and a member of the MPI (Meetings Professionals International) board, to anticipate what this year will bring for the event industry.
What are your expectations for 2021, regarding the MI sector? Will this be a year of recovery?
I think 2021 will be a year of evolution, and part of this evolution will be a recovery. It will also be a year of much experimentation with new concepts of virtual and hybrid events. Without wanting to make scientific predictions, I think it will take some time, even in the best of cases, for the general public to feel comfortable participating in face-to-face events. This progression will be slow, even if we miss the hugs and lively conversations that are lacking in the digital world. Between using technologies in creative ways and being able to meet in person, even in a limited way, this will be a very interesting year.
Hybrid events are identified as one of the main trends for 2021. Do you agree? And what other trends can you identify?
I agree and I think it is important to have a common understanding of what hybrid events are. Any face-to-face event with a virtual component can be considered a hybrid, just like a virtual event that has an audience, even if in small numbers, to participate together. From there to complex events with various studios and stages, such as the ICCA 2020 Congress, there is a massive array of possibilities, all of them with their advantages and disadvantages.
At the same time, I hope that in 2021 we will be able to surpass the standard "webinar" with unidirectional content presentations and with little opportunity for dialogue between participants. Personally, I will try hard to experiment and, who knows, to create new formats of virtual events focused on the dialogue between participants, formats that can also be reproduced in face-to-face events, as soon as these are possible.
What lessons has this sector learned from 2020 that could be used in the future?
I learned a lot about various technologies and tools surrounding events. I have been doing everything to always try new things and to test the limits of the tools. I also learned a lot about the psychology and creativity of people in the industry. Even with all the hurdles, we are creating and bringing people together in the best way we can. We will certainly look back at 2020, and perhaps 2021, as years of learning, challenging but very important for our development.
Cláudia Coutinho de Sousa
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