With the metaverse as the next frontier of virtual and hybrid events, Hong Kong-based event and conferencing SaaS company, EventX, is developing more metaverse-associated solutions to help events achieve better interaction with audiences, backed by a US$10 million Series B funding round in September 2021.
At present, the metaverse represents virtual worlds that provide people with immersive audiovisual experiences and opportunities to interact with others across physical boundaries.
“When applied to the events industry, the most applicable version of the metaverse will be three-dimensional and virtually-integrated spaces through augmented reality and virtual reality, that enable attendees to immerse themselves mentally into these virtual spaces without physical limitations, interact with sponsors and other attendees and speakers, consume content, and transact with vendors and visitors,” Sum Wong, CEO of EventX, explained.
Wong shared that since HTC came onboard as an investor in July 2021, it has been working together with EventX to level up events with the help of VR solutions, citing it the “next generation of events”.
Looking back to two years ago, events technology would not have come so far due to the rapid digitalisation brought about by the pandemic.
When the pandemic descended, EventX had to quickly turnaround to cater to virtual events, and transform its event management business into a virtual/hybrid events company.
It built an events management platform with features such as automated email sending tools, customisable registration pages, event footprint analysis, and a networking lounge. Brands and event organisers could also engage their audiences through interactive elements such as Q&A sessions, live polls and pop-up emoji reactions.
And as many countries quickly went into lockdown and implemented movement restrictions, Wong saw it was the best opportunity to help event planners break out of physical event limitations, and reduce the costs of running an event at the same time.
“We adapted, but our customers also had to adapt. As we developed, our customers also had to go virtual at the same time, to learn the ropes and convince their attendees to make the shift to virtual event spaces,” Wong shared.
As of press time, EventX has organised 20,000+ events for more than five million attendees.
When asked what would happen to virtual and hybrid events as the world clamours to meet in person, Wong remained confident that virtual events will still “present a highly-attractive value proposition to event organisers and marketers”, due to the numerous opportunities available in the virtual space.
“There’s no denying that in-person events will increase, but hybrid events (are a perfect go-between as it) can effectively combine the scale and ease of virtual events, and the intimacy of in-person events.
“What event organisers get now is the ability to run events in any country, and have people located in other countries to join and immerse themselves in a virtual event. Ultimately, the future of events will be a mix of virtual and hybrid events, and how we take this into its next evolution will be pivotal to the future of the industry,” he said.
Aside from events of the future, EventX’s has its eye on expanding in South-east Asia, as Wong pointed out that the region “is experiencing rapid digitalisations in varying degrees”, meaning that businesses would be hungry to adopt technology that would fit the needs of the world today. Taiwan is also on the cards, as it has “huge potential”.
As such, fresh funds will also be used to finance potential acquisitions, strengthen international operations including engineering, business development and new leadership roles, as it expands into South-east Asia and Taiwan.