What are Virtual Spaces? A Recap of PubNub Connect

4 min read Michael Carroll on Nov 18, 2021

Over the past decade, PubNub has been dedicated to helping customers build virtual experiences that are just as engaging, if not more so, than those in the real world. With our platform, companies across several industries including virtual events, gaming, telemedicine, and connected fitness, are using our software to deliver real-time connected experiences—which we refer to as a “Virtual Space”. 

So, what is a Virtual Space? As our CEO, Todd Greene, laid out in our recent fundraising announcement, Virtual Spaces are where real-time interactions and experiences happen online. Every modern app, regardless of industry, starts with a Virtual Space to create online places where people can engage with each other just as authentically as they could face-to-face. 

This November, developer and product leaders from some of the most impactful virtual communities came together at PubNub Connect—our virtual conference for developers, engineering, and product leaders—to discuss how to build engaging Virtual Spaces

If you missed PubNub Connect this year—no worries: We have all the content available for you on demand to watch in your own time, at your own pace. Here’s a look back at (and links to) some of the session highlights from PubNub Connect, including a look at our 2022 product roadmap and vision for Virtual Spaces:

Keynote Presentation

What Are Virtual Spaces?

The theme of PubNub Connect 2021 centralized around Virtual Spaces: what they are, how companies can effectively build them, and why they are essential for building engaged online communities and impactful relationships. Kicking off PubNub Connect, was our CEO Todd Greene addressing this very theme, along with the four core concepts for any Virtual Space application: the Spaces (where users collaborate), the Participants (users and devices), the Communication (i.e. messaging, etc.) and the Control (supporting the rules required within each space). 

In his keynote speech, he discussed how over the past few years—and increasingly during the COVID pandemic—we’ve witnessed the proliferation of online communities that are enabled by real-time technology.

New Product Releases

PubNub’s Product Roadmap for Virtual Spaces

While Todd laid the groundwork for what Virtual Spaces are and why they matter, our VP of Product, JP Shipherd, continued this thread by revealing some of our latest product releases for Virtual Spaces, and providing a glimpse into what we have planned for 2022.

Our goal has always been to make it easy for our customers to build and deliver connected real-time experiences. And at PubNub Connect, we shared some exciting updates for developers looking to build engaging online spaces in their apps and platforms where users can interact and connect in an impactful and meaningful way.

Chat Moderation Made Easy 

Our VP of Product dove deeper into each of our recent major releases and why they're essential for any developer looking to build Virtual Spaces—in this session, he focuses on our chat moderation release.

With our new Moderation Dashboard release, you can easily mask or block inappropriate text and images, monitor message activity, and enforce moderation rules on users such as flagging, muting, or banning them.

Discover the Hidden Potential in Your Event-Driven Application

We debuted our upcoming Events & Actions feature at PubNub Connect! In this session, Keith Lindsay, Product Manager at PubNub, shares how PubNub’s new Events & Actions system can help you easily develop new, no-code features based upon events that occur in PubNub.

Add Customized Chat to an Open Source App in 10 Minutes or Less

We debuted our newest Chat and UI Components earlier this year, but we can't stop talking about them—and for good reason. These components allow for endless customization and possibilities when it comes to building out a unique in-app chat experience.

After an introduction to the power of PubNub’s Chat UI Components by Chat Product Manager, Lukasz Smacki, watch as Chandler Mayo, a member of our Developer Relations team, adds chat to an open-source photo sharing application then fully customizes the chat in less than 10 minutes.

Highlights from Connect Sessions

Outside of presenting our own vision and product roadmap for Virtual Spaces, we also brought in industry experts—from gaming to connected fitness—to weigh in on the importance of virtual interactions and spaces and trends they're seeing. Here are a few standout sessions:

How to Build Genuine Relationships: Virtually

Building connections between people online may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. This discussion focuses on how each panelist—from Vonage, Life.Church, and Pandora—has enabled authentic, genuine connections and communities in the apps and platforms they’ve built, from music streaming to online church services. Watch to learn their best tips for growing engaged, virtual communities.

How Fitness Transformed to Meet the Demands of COVID-19

The COVID pandemic upended the way that people exercise—going to the gym or joining a fitness class were no longer options. But this seismic change drove a proliferation of innovative solutions that brought the best parts of group fitness to an online environment. 

We welcomed a panel of product leaders: Lauren Foundos of FORTË, David Azaria of Tonal, and Chris Haire of Zwift, to hear how they responded to the pandemic, how consumer behavior has changed, and why many exercise experiences will never go back fully to the way they were.

Enhancing the Fan Experience Through Virtual Spaces

With Virtual Spaces, you can create personalized experiences for your community to interact through chat, reactions, polls, and quizzes. This real-time engagement allows for users to connect authentically online, which enables companies to remain competitive and to attract and retain users. That’s been the experience for Miheer Walavalkar, Co-Founder and CEO of LiveLike, who has worked with some of the top media, sports, and entertainment organizations in the world to add online audience engagement to their events. 

In this session, Miheer Walavalkar, Co-Founder and CEO of LiveLike, took the stage to discuss how his company has created engaging Virtual Spaces for NBA teams, European Football leagues, and even political events.

These are just a few of the fantastic keynotes, demos, panels, and sessions that were part of PubNub Connect. Whether you attended and want to a rewatch or are looking to explore this content for the first time, you can find all of the on-demand videos from PubNub Connect here. Happy watching!