While 2020 uprooted business-as-usual for many industries, one of the most impacted was live events. Traditionally in-person experiences—like concerts, games, conferences, and other social interactions—quickly needed to transform into online events that could function reliably with millions of concurrent viewers, while still retaining the joy and excitement of a live event.
In response, we at PubNub have spent the last several months tuning our platform to allow live event companies to build applications to host successful virtual events, complete with a suite of features, support, and security measures. This allows these companies to easily create and scale real-time, interactive events without the time or expense of building these capabilities in house.
“Within the past year, the world has seen a significant shift in how we engage with others and consume entertainment—everything has moved into the virtual space,” said Todd Greene, our CEO and Co-Founder. “As a company, we’ve truly invested in evolving our product to support virtual events companies and ensure that they can make their remote events as entertaining and engaging as in-person ones.”
Our data backs up the surge of virtual events that has occurred over the past year. Since January of 2020, we have doubled the number of virtual events customers using PubNub. Tracking usage across these customers, the amount of monthly transactions have increased by 1795% and the number of messages sent each month has grown by 11607% in the past year. February 2021 has marked the highest usage of our platform for virtual events customers to date, with 503.4 billion messages sent from 62.2 million users.
The benefits of building virtual event experiences with PubNub
Above all else, our offering for virtual event customers ensures that they can easily build applications to host lively online and hybrid events that can scale to support millions of concurrent users, operate reliably and in real time, and that have a variety of customizable features to ensure audience engagement, including:
Real-time, in-app messaging for private, group, and broadcaster conversations
Providing viewers with an easy way to connect during a stream of an online event makes the virtual experience feel much more authentic, lively, and real. This helps attendees feel more engaged—even if they’re tuning in from half-way across the globe.
Customers like LiveNation, Tomorrowland, and Kiswe use our platform to power in-app chat in real time right alongside live streams of concerts, music festivals, and sporting events within their platforms. By building chat with our platform, audience members can chat privately with each other or form group chats, and broadcasters and hosts can even send out messages to the entire audience. Presence detection, powered by PubNub, also makes it simple for viewers to see who’s online and available to chat, helping to make conversations feel energetic and engaging.
And because our platform has no limits around how many users can attend an event, these customers have been able to easily scale their in-app chat as demand for their platform has increased and their user base has grown.
Presence detection to track audience participation and attendance
vFairs—a platform that allows companies to host virtual conferences, expos, and tradeshows—uses PubNub to power the online/offline status of their attendees. This presence detection lets exhibitors at virtual booths know when the specific companies or attendees they’re interested in targeting come online, so they can reach out as soon as possible and start their pitch.
Reactions, leaderboards, and polling for enhanced engagement
LiveLike, a live streaming platform, most notably leveraged our platform in 2020 to host the vice presidential debates. Aside from in-app chat, LiveLike also uses PubNub to power real-time reaction streams—like emojis—plus leaderboards, polls, quizzes, and trivia to improve attendee engagement and keep viewers in-app longer.
Peloton, the innovative company revolutionizing at-home fitness, also uses our platform for real-time high-five reactions during their streamed fitness classes. This gamification encourages at-home users to actively participate during workouts, fostering a strong sense of community that keeps users coming back.
Reliable security and live support
Outside of the in-app features that we provide to virtual events companies, we also offer dedicated support and comprehensive security measures. PubNub live event customers can receive a dedicated Event Support Agent throughout the entirety of their event, plus real-time operational dashboards to ensure continuous reliability.
In regards to security, we’re committed to providing all our customers with a robust, scalable, and secure set of policies to ensure their data and their users’ data is always protected.
Virtual events customers retain full control over their data permissions and privileges—including who can access, read, write, and receive data and how long they have those privileges for. We intentionally do not provide customers with authentication to prevent the collection of personal data. Instead, we honor the authentication measures of our customers and never capture any identifying information. We provide customers with secret keys and token-based authorization through our Global Access Manager to allow for full data control.
For those customers looking for additional security, and in some regulatory environments, we also offer end-to-end encryption. This lets customers fully or partially encrypt all message data and securely pass it across networks and firewalls without worry of breach or interference.
“This set of security policies we’ve developed at PubNub allows for virtual events customers to have full control and ownership over their data and their users' data without having to build out these controls in house,” said Stephen Blum, CTO and Co-Founder of PubNub. “This allows our customers to easily scale their security and data protection as they grow.”