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Take a Survey on The Use of Virtual Technologies In The Workplace

May 12, 2011


Take the survey: http://bit.ly/k0DAoR

Introduction

Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) has announced a comprehensive survey to understand the work-related uses of virtual technologies and digital environments. The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and UBM Studios have teamed up with VEI to conduct and analyze the data for the study.

Survey Details – And a Prize

This survey is dedicated to work-related use of virtual technologies like:

  1. Virtual event, meeting, and virtual learning technologies as well as video streaming, and webcasting
  2. Virtual environments (2D and 3D) such as virtual events, virtual trade shows, conferences, and perpetual (365 days per year) business environments.

According to Michael Doyle, Executive Director of Virtual Edge Institute (VEI), “VEI is giving away two iPads, as well as access to the survey results and our library of on-demand Virtual Edge Summit sessions to ensure strong participation.”

Take the survey: http://bit.ly/k0DAoR

Video: Example of Virtual Environments

The following video from VEI shows examples of the virtual environments covered in their survey.

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Trends from Enterprise 2.0: The Move to Social Business

November 11, 2010

Introduction

I attended Enterprise 2.0 in Santa Clara, CA this week.  I predict that in 2011, “business as usual” will move to social business.  As usual. Meaning, social tools will be enabled across the enterprise and they’ll quickly be ingrained as the “new way to do business”.  Here are specific trends and observations from Enterprise 2.0.

Start-ups on Equal Footing with the Technology Giants

Social business, by way of its “newness”, evens the playing field.  In fact, it actually provides an advantage to the start-ups, who built their business (from the ground up) on a foundation of social features.

The established giants, meanwhile (e.g. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.), need to retrofit existing offerings – adding social into (or on top of) what already exists.  Or in some cases, the giants are developing new social platforms that live in parallel with their legacy systems.

Commenting on a T-shirt that poked fun at “jive talking”, Christopher Morace (@thinkoutloud) said it well when he tweeted, “How in a space with IBM, MSFT, & SFDC did Jive become ‘the man’? I’m still in my 30’s!”

Social Business UI – New Models Needed

During the event, I tweeted that if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Facebook should be quite flattered.  In other words, everyone’s social business UI looks and feels like Facebook.

Conference attendee Robert Lavigne (@RLavigne42) agreed and tweeted back, “good from a cross training point of view, bad from a breaking that mindset in the sales cycle though. Need innovation not UX copy”.  Robert continued, “Time for something innovative in terms of UX”.

If we do not see UI/UX innovation and differentiation, then the market will face commoditization, where everyone’s platform looks the same.  And that’s not good for the market.  Expect to see fresh, new looks in 2011, especially as some of these platforms evolve to version 2.0.

The Intranet (As We Know It) Is Dead


The Intranet, as a self-standing web site, is now dead.  In its place will be social business platforms.  Do you really use your company’s intranet?  It’s good for routine activities (e.g. look up phone numbers, find the expense report template, etc.), but it doesn’t significantly improve employee productivity.

The typical intranet doesn’t get much activity and it’s hard to find what you need.  Now consider the likes of the Socialtext, Yammer, Salesforce Chatter and others. Common features they provide are:

  1. Follow and be followed – people, documents, sales opportunities, etc.  Need to track an important document?  Follow it, and be alerted to all updates on it.
  2. Crowdsourced answers – need to find a nugget of information or an obscure document?  Ask your followers via a status update and you’ll likely receive an answer within minutes.
  3. Polls – want to know how Marketing is doing with sales collateral?  Create a poll and invite employees to participate.  Publish the results via a status update.
  4. Collaboration via 140 characters – OK, most social platforms don’t impose Twitter-like character limits, but you get the idea: status updates are the new water cooler conversation.
  5. Mobile – access to social business is enabled on your smartphone, via apps provided by the social platforms.  How often did you access your intranet from mobile?

What This Means for Virtual Event Platforms

In my 2011 predictions for virtual events, I wrote about “Market Expansion”.  Guess what? Social business platforms do, in fact, look a lot like virtual event platforms.  Some striking similarities:

  1. A move from point features to a “platform”
  2. Presence
  3. Private and group chat
  4. Collaboration

Some social platforms provide capabilities not found in virtual event platforms today, such as wikis and real-time collaborative document editing.

Virtual event platforms will continue to have the upper hand in supporting live/scheduled (online) events, but will face expanded competition in the area of “virtual communities”.

Conclusion

(A tag cloud generated from the session descriptions at Enterprise 2.0 – using wordle.net)

It’s an interesting time.  2011 could be a year of battles, shifts and migrations.  With the move to social business, along with the larger shift to cloud computing, expect 2011 to be  The Year of the Shakeout.


Job Listing: Director of Online Events at Everything Channel

October 19, 2010

Position: Director, Online Events

 

About Everything Channel

Everything Channel is the premier provider of IT channel-focused events, media, research, consulting, and sales and marketing services. With over 30 years of experience and engagement, Everything Channel has the unmatched channel expertise to execute integrated solutions for technology executives managing partner recruitment, enablement and go-to-market strategy in order to accelerate technology sales. Everything Channel is a UBM company. To learn more about Everything Channel, visit us at http://www.everythingchannel.com.

Job Description

Everything Channel has a fantastic opportunity for a Director Online Events.  This position will interface with senior management, sales, edit and sponsors to create virtual events and webcasts.  This position must be based in one of the following Everything Channel office locations:  Framingham, MA;  Manhasset, NY; San Francisco, CA.

For more info: view the full job listing

Responsibilities

  1. Virtual event marketing and management
  2. Sales tool development
  3. Virtual event management
  4. Evaluate new virtual platforms
  5. Lead virtual platform migration team
  6. Collateral creation
  7. Training new sales reps on virtual event product offerings
  8. Planning and managing budgets for virtual events
  9. Manage virtual event project manager

Qualifications

  1. BA/BS Degree
  2. Minimum of 5 years experience working in a position managing Virtual Events
  3. Strong knowledge of Virtual Event platforms
  4. Must be a strong conceptual thinker, with the ability to understand the ‘big picture’ of a project
  5. Must have flexibility, good judgment and attention to detail
  6. Ability to handle multiple high priority projects in a deadline-driven environment
Required Skills
  1. Strong knowledge of Virtual Event platforms
  2. Must be a strong conceptual thinker, with the ability to understand the ‘big picture’ of a project
  3. Must have flexibility, good judgment and attention to detail
  4. Ability to handle multiple high priority projects in a deadline-driven environment
Required Experience
  1. BA/BS Degree
  2. Minimum of 5 years   experience working in a position managing Virtual Events

For more information or to apply online, visit the full job listing.


COMDEX Re-Launches As A Virtual Trade Show

March 4, 2010

The virtual events industry had a lot of exciting moments over the past two years.  I believe we’ll look back upon today, however, as an one of the most important and historic moments for our industry.  Everything Channel (a UBM company) announced that they’re re-launching COMDEX as a 100% virtual trade show.

Press Release: Introducing the New COMDEX, the Next Generation in Virtual Events

During its heyday, COMDEX was the “go to” trade show in the computer and technology industry, “where all levels of manufacturers and developers of computers, peripherals, software, components and accessories came in direct contact with retailers, consultants and their competitors” (source: Wikipedia)

COMDEX was discontinued in 2004.  In 2006, UBM acquired the event assets of COMDEX via their purchase of MediaLive International Inc.  COMDEX Virtual will fit nicely in UBM’s Everything Channel business, whose objective is “accelerating technology sales” and whose publications include Channelweb and CRN.  This is very exciting news – I gave some thought to what this means to our industry.

Game Changer and Turning Point

Today’s news is nothing short of a game changer and turning point for our industry.  Virtual events have enjoyed growing adoption – initially from B2B publishers and recently from corporations.  Adoption rates have been particularly strong from the same technology vendors who used to exhibit at COMDEX.  Now, however, one of the most widely known event brands has made the move to embrace virtual.

COMDEX Virtual will be watched (and attended) closely by related event brands – its success will incent many more well-known event brands to come on board virtually.  Staying within the technology space, CES and Macworld may be encouraged to consider a hybrid model for their events, adding a virtual component to complement their in-person event.  Discontinued event brands may similarly move to re-launch as a virtual-only experience.

Confirmed: Options and Flexibility with Going Virtual

Virtual event technology afforded Everything Channel with a flexible way to bring back the COMDEX brand.  First, the costs are lower.  Second, the financial commitment around a physical event venue was avoided.  Third, a virtual event affords exhibitors with a convenient and cost-effective means to return to COMDEX.

Re-sellers and systems integrators tend to be small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB) – they operate “lean and mean” without an abundance of marketing budget.  In the past, their entire year’s marketing spend may have been put towards COMDEX.  Now, the same exhibitors can exhibit virtually and avoid the travel costs and “out of office” costs of sending their company representatives to Las Vegas – affording them remaining marketing dollars to use elsewhere.

With the flexibility afforded, COMDEX Virtual allows Everything Channel a convenient and efficient way to bring COMDEX back to life.  If the virtual event exceeds expectations, more options become available, such as a physical component to complement the virtual – creating a hybrid event after first testing the waters virtually.

Virtual Extensions

Industry observers have noted that more focused events (e.g. CES in consumer electronics and Interop in computer networking) began to steal interest away from COMDEX – many believed that it had become too broad.  Subsequent to its November 2010 launch, COMDEX Virtual may want to consider a series of smaller and more focused virtual events – around industry sectors or by specific geographies.

Additionally, virtual affords COMDEX the option of extending its presence globally – both via participation from a global audience, as well as regionalized virtual events that cater to specific regions (e.g. EMEA, Asia Pacific, etc.).  With the localization capabilities provided by virtual event platforms, attendees can choose the language in which they experience the event.

Unique, Branded Experiences

COMDEX had a unique brand – with COMDEX Virtual, there seems to be a clear desire to create a unique experience that carries unique and distinctive branding.  Put another way, COMDEX Virtual should not look like any other virtual event – it needs to stand apart.  As such, UBM Studios, a “creative and strategic marketing agency” will create original and highly engaging event areas for COMDEX Virtual, including the Grand Hall of Masters, Hospitality Suites and the CRN Test Center.

This is part of a continuing trend in our industry – the desire (and capability) of show hosts to create highly engaging and unique experiences that adhere to their branding guidelines – or, create new brand experiences.  As such, clients with the budget (or capabilities) will “in-source” the creative development and look to the virtual event platforms to “carry the payload” – providing the foundation on which the event rides, along with essential platform features and services.

Taking the game to the next level

To support the size and scale of COMDEX (virtually), event platforms will need to bring their “A game”.  If the event will house hundreds of exhibitors interacting with tens of thousands of attendees, the virtual event platform will need to deliver on performance, reliability and scalability.  In addition, useful platform features need to enable exhibitors to demonstrate their products and services.

Match-making tools should enable exhibitors to find the “right” attendees and for attendees to find and make useful business contacts.  Lastly, the platforms need to enable pervasive use of video – both on-demand video and live-streamed video.  After all, a key element of past COMDEX events was the ability to see, hear and engage (visually) with others.

Conclusion

The “countdown to COMDEX” is on – between now and November, I’m sure there’s plenty of work and planning to get done.  In the meantime, with today’s announcement alone, a bit of history has already been made.

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