Events are increasingly taking place virtually. The basis for a successful virtual event is the software. In our market overview, we have compared 13 solutions. A summary of the comparison is available for download.
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Virtual events are high on the agenda for many companies in 2021. On the one hand, this is classically about participation in trade fairs, conferences and webinars – as an exhibitor or as a visitor. But not only that, because on the other hand, in-house events are also on the rise again. This is precisely because the location of the company no longer plays a role in virtual events and the hurdle to participation, for example for customer events with potentially very long travel distances, is significantly lower. Conventional trade shows as central presentation platforms for new products are thus becoming less attractive. In many industries, it is also apparent that product innovation cycles have become much shorter and are no longer strongly oriented to the trade show calendar as they used to be.
Necessity is the mother of invention – also for virtual events
For several years now, the event industry has been making repeated efforts to virtualize events or to digitally enrich existing face-to-face events. However, these attempts were only moderately successful. People were too accustomed to the familiar, and there was too little pressure to innovate, because visitors had firmly anchored face-to-face events in their annual schedules. However, the Corona pandemic acted as a powerful accelerator. From mid-March 2020, almost all face-to-face events were canceled. New concepts were needed. Now, one year later, it is still impossible to predict when trade shows and events will be able to take place on-site again.
There is a great need for events to take place virtually. And where there is a need, there is also a supply. In addition to the question of the smart concept, the question of the software is particularly important. Although there were already some established providers of software for virtual events on the market before the pandemic, a lot has happened in the past 2 years.
1:1 translation into virtual events is not enough
Anyone who wants to transfer the 1:1 copy of a presence event into the digital world is leaving great potential untapped and will have little to no success. After all, the personal encounter, the conversation at a trade show and the famous networking at the after-show party are naturally missing – and thus important elements of an event. This should be compensated for with additional new features and services. This gives virtual events their own character and allows them to play to their own strengths. Software solutions provide a good basis for this. In our market overview, you can orient yourself and perhaps also find inspiration as to which features your virtual event will inspire your participants.
Virtual event software in comparison
In our market overview you will find 13 providers whose software for virtual events we have compared. This should serve you as a basis for making a possible selection. In addition, you can use the numerous criteria for your decision to derive which features of a solution are particularly important for your company.
The categories of the market overview
The analysis is based on more than 150 criteria, which we have assigned to 15 different categories. The categories present the various solutions in detail, examine the different competencies and offerings, and describe other relevant criteria. The extensive criteria catalog was developed and reflected upon in advance with industry experts and editors. The virtual event solutions were compared in these criteria categories:
- General information: When selecting a suitable software, the following basic information serves to get to know the companies. How long has it been on the market? Where is it located? How many employees does the company have and how much revenue did it generate last year?
- Unique Selling Propositions: Our list of criteria is long. This gives software vendors the opportunity to present the different benefits of their solutions in detail for you. In contrast to this level of detail, the Unique Selling Proposition aims to condense the service offering into a few words. You will find this condensate in the form of the pitch on the following pages. We asked the providers to formulate it to the point in just a few words. What makes the offer so special?
- The references: Many solutions have already been used on a wide variety of occasions and have been able to demonstrate their capabilities. The following overview names specific corporate customers of the participating companies as references.
- The providers’ industry expertise: In this category, the expertise of the providers with regard to various industries was queried. One requirement for answering these questions was also to specify industries to be highlighted, so that providers could not specify a particularly strong expertise for each industry.
- The range of languages: For internationally focused events, the range of languages offered is important. For this reason, the following view represents which languages are covered by the solutions on the front end.
- Basic features: We asked the software providers which basic features the solutions include. Is it a SaaS solution? Does the software also come with a mobile app? Does the software offer a virtual reality environment?
- Possible trade show formats: Virtual trade shows and events digitally replicate many proven elements of traditional face-to-face events. In addition, new formats open up digitally, from which exhibitors and participants benefit and which increase the quality of an event.
- Communication and channel opportunities: Events thrive on their opportunity for exchange and networking, i.e. communication. We have examined the software solutions for virtual events to see which communication options and channels they offer in the virtual space.
- Visitor management: Virtual events offer significantly more options for visitor management than face-to-face events. Attendees can obtain more information and also get a better overview of other attendees and exhibitors. At the same time, there are significantly more opportunities for exhibitors and organizers to gather information about attendees and their interests, as well as to maintain communication after the show. In this category, we have asked which visitor management options are offered by the software solutions in our market overview.
- Interfaces to other software solutions: When choosing software for enterprise use, look at how compatible it is with other software solutions in the technology stack. In this chapter of the market overview, you will find out which tools and programs have interfaces or at least the possibility of linking to them.
- Reporting functions: The advantage of virtual events over face-to-face events is that you have more and better data. Which presentation was viewed how often, which questions were asked most frequently and how often which content was downloaded? Reporting functions aggregate this information and make it usable. Therefore, they form an important component of virtual event software solutions.
- Revenue components: For many events, revenue is generated through ticket sales. What opportunities do software solutions offer in terms of revenue components?
- Legal criteria: The use of software also always involves legal issues. Is the company sufficiently armed against cybercrime? Is there a deposit agreement? And how does it actually look in terms of DSVGO?
- Additional services provided: In this category, we scrutinized the scope of services offered by the providers. Are there additional events and training opportunities offered to customers? What is the response time like in the event of a problem?
- Pricing approach of the providers: In addition to the range of functions, the cost of software naturally also plays a major role in the selection process. This is no different for virtual event software. Interested parties should take a look at the different pricing models and check which providers are suitable for their own budget framework and ambitions.
References and unique selling propositions of the providers
The providers have equipped their software for virtual events with many features and functions. Sometimes, however, you need to know exactly why this solution is supposed to be the best and where it has already been used successfully. We asked the providers for their USP and for some references.
What makes the solution special? Transparent live visitor display, many interaction possibilities, annual license for any number of online events, API interface, 29 national languages, diverse tracking metrics, gamification, visitor profile card, high availability, backend access for customers, large template library and much more.
What makes the solution special? AirLST is an all-in-one solution for attendee management and virtual events: manage invitations, guest lists and virtual events in one platform. Intuitive self-service operation or use of managed services by the AirLST team. Use customized templates with large widget selection. Customized solutions are available at any time. Everything is customizable in customer CI.
What makes the solution special? The Event Guide is a complete solution for virtual trade fairs and events. The customer/organizer can use this platform 365 days and fill it with content. The Event Guide is designed in the customer’s look and feel in terms of branding and CI as well as all features such as the virtual café, showroom, etc. The communication center is the hub and focal point of the solution. The Communication Center is the hub for networking and lead tracking.
What makes the solution special? expo-IP is a self-service solution with its own, easy-to-use CMS, which can be flexibly and arbitrarily extended via add-on tools. For this reason, expo-IP is used for almost every event format as well as a company’s own digital showroom. Through the EXPO-IP GmbH partner network, expo-IP can also be used as a full service.
What makes the solution special? Browser-based real-time 3D environment incl. sophisticated matchmaking and self-customizable 3D booth templates.
What makes the solution special? Go.Control offers a wide range of possibilities with one platform: From participant and lead management, to accreditation, to hybrid and virtual event and trade fair formats. For every idea, we offer the right module with a focus on the customer’s needs and accompany the projects from the initial concept, through implementation, to follow-up.
mockup trade show
What makes the solution special? Clear visualization of trade fair stands
What makes the solution special? Streavent offers individual, flexible and easy-to-navigate digital venues that can be created in a data-protection-safe manner and according to our modular principle.
What makes the solution special? Ready for hybrid, virtual, presence events | available mobile and desktop | multi-event capable | collaborative CMS | intelligent appointment scheduling | successful monetization via exhibitors and sponsors | continuously developed since 2015 | scalable as needed for number of participants and exhibitors | European data hosting
What makes the solution special? All-in-one event platform. Managed Service. Customized 3D environment. IT Security ( TÜV certified – Certificate ISO/IEC 27001:2013).
What makes the solution special? 1) Modular structure enables a variety of use cases, 2) High customizability and integration of other applications, 3) Data security with servers in Germany.
Virtual Event Space
What makes the solution special? Our Virtual Event Space is more than just event software. Our platform is the world’s only holistic Virtual Conference solution based on a 3D WebGL environment. Whether you’re immersing yourself in fantastical worlds, visiting product showrooms or simply meeting other attendees, our solution brings people together in real digital spaces.
What makes the solution special? Using our Vuframe® platform, events of all kinds can be made accessible in the browser. SmartVenew™ offers a virtual 3D environment that, unlike common digital events, also enables a 3D product view and facilitates the exchange between visitors, organizers and exhibitors.