Uncharted territories call for innovative Virtual Cons
Overnight it was announced that this year’s annual TED conference which was to be held in Vancouver in April has been postponed until July following the news that CO-VID19 is spreading. Speakers were initially offered the option to record their ‘talk’ to present online.
What is significant about this, as we see many public events changing their events position and format in a bid to reduce the spread of the virus, is the technology that is being used as an alternative. We are seeing a rise in the need for "Virtual Cons" so that businesses can still operate as "business as usual" in this changing landscape.
Speakers due to present at TED2020 in April were initially offered the opportunity to record their talks in a studio in their closest major city and that TED2020 would become an “online” version this time around. The irony (or premonition) being the theme of this year’s TED2020, titled "Unchartered".
“The TED Conference is at the heart of TED. More than a thousand people attend this five-day conference about Technology, Entertainment and Design -- as well as science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over 70 speakers appear on the main stage to give 18-minute talks and shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy.” (TED.com)
TED made the move to postpone their event without knowing if it indeed may have to do so again in July whilst the spread of the virus is unknown including travel bans in place.
In these fast-moving times, the brakes are being put on in some areas (such as reduced travel bans, social mass gatherings, no-audience sporting games, entire countries closed down (Italy) conferences and more), whilst alternatively, others are taking their foot off the brakes and are moving at unprecedented speeds; tech, virtual cons, including Cindication.
The technology has always been moving in this direction but now we need to move at greater speeds and be ahead of the pack. It’s a compelling argument to go online for events.
This isn’t the first time we have seen this – DEF CON, one of the world's largest and most notable hacker conventions, is held annually in Las Vegas attracting over 30,000 participants. DEF CON can be seen more of a stepping stone in this space and embracing this new way by having a combined approach.
It (DEF CON) is a physical presence conference, having run for the past 28 years, and it knows its stuff. For the participants that can’t physically make it because tickets have sold out, can enjoy all the conference perks from the comfort of their hotel room. Over four major hotels in Las Vegas, participants can attend “virtually” online via the TV channel from their hotel. The beauty of this being that DEF CON reaches a larger audience, still with the capabilities of online shops, vendor buying, free shipping and more, all whilst chowing down on your Uber eats.
So, whilst major festivals and travel plans get cancelled, we will be and already are seeing the rise of “Virtual Cons”. This is whereby a conference is held virtually online so that the participants can still receive the benefits of attending a conference or trade fair without all the bells and whistles of having to travel to that specific location. There are still the regular speakers, booths to advertise, market and purchase from, hey... you can still even receive a “swag bag” prior to the event and enjoy all the events have to offer in terms of accessibility and chat rooms – all from the comfort of your own house in your pj’s.
In a time where we are being asked to become a set of our best selves and support our community – is this a way of staying connected whilst we are being encouraged to self-impose quarantine and isolate?
Links of interest:
Coronavirus: Ted conference to go virtual or be postponed:
2020 TED conference in Vancouver postponed due to coronavirus concerns:
Atlassian Summit 2020 (Mar. 31-Apr. 2 in Las Vegas) - In-person cancelled; online-only event:
Hobart Mofo cancelled – just now:
And thousands and thousands more…