Finding the new balance

EW talks to EventsAIR’s executive director Paul Martin

With plenty of event tech on show recently at International Confex in London, EW caught up with one of the show exhibitors, EventsAIR executive director Paul Martin, and asked about what is in the pipeline for his events management platform business and what else is catching his eye in this area.

“With so much change in our industry, particularly in technology, there are many new innovations in our upcoming releases. Understandably, these will focus heavily on facilitating the delivery of more connected hybrid events,” he tells us.

Were there any new innovations that had inspired him at Confex? “With hybrid events at the forefront of our event future, I’ve been impressed by the advancements in self operated camera and AV technologies.  These technologies will provide event planners a more plug and play environment when standing up hybrid events,” he says.

In terms of the industry finding a new balance between virtual platforms and live, Martin’s feeling is our new hybrid world “provides event planners a great opportunity to reach previously untapped attendee markets, creating greater value through increased event attendance and wider content engagement”.  

As for events outside of virtual/hybrid formats, Martin believes the focus will be on high quality content production – something he sees as being more important than ever before. “Event content is no longer captured for marketing and nostalgia, it is now a valuable asset used to extend the duration of events and provide highly lucrative revenue streams,” he says.

So, how does a company like EventsAIR recalibrate its development strategy in view of the ongoing challenges due to the pandemic?  

“Like so many in our industry, we shifted our focus in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver products and services to support event planners in delivering successful events across all mediums: virtual, in-person and now hybrid. Remaining focused on the changing needs of event planners as the environment has shifted has been key to delivering relevant solutions.”

Asked what he thinks is the events industry’s greatest weakness currently, Martin believes it is a lack of assurance. “There are so many great people across the industry that just want to get back to delivering great events and are still not able to do so due to uncertainty,” he says.

Martin says he is excited, however, about the emergence of hybrid events bringing with it many great opportunities to grow audiences and extend our reach. “The areas of most interest to me are those leveraging technology to enhance immersion and engagement for remote attendees,” he adds.

Aside from EventsAIR’s own products, which event tech products are impressing Paul Martin? 

“I’m more interested in areas of technology than specific products. A few areas that are showing great advancements are: Contactless and facial recognition check-in technologies (in-person and online); AI Camera technologies intended for access control and traffic tracking, and virtual attendee networking and engagement,” he says.

Asked for his key advice to give to exhibition organisers looking to return with hybrid events and make them a success, Martin says: “One key to any successful virtual event or exhibition, or virtual element of a hybrid event, is not to simply try and replicate the in-person experience virtually. In-person and virtual are different experiences but can, when done right, provide equitable value to all participant groups.”