A virtual event is defined as any event where participants engage remotely with centrally delivered content. Virtual events may be interactive, where attendees can engage with both each other and the host, or can be purely passive, with attendees just watching the content.
Examples of virtual events include:
Virtual conferences where attendees are given a choice of multiple types of content to consume; this might include virtual webinars where attendees can ask questions to both the host and each other (often hosted in different virtual ‘rooms’); virtual panels where attendees can only ask questions to a set of hosts; or virtual ‘office hours’ where attendees can engage with experts 1:1.
Virtual concerts or sports events with attendees watching the event through a video livestream and reacting or chatting with each other.
Virtual tutorials or seminars where a large number of attendees can react to both the host and each other.
Many platforms exist to both host and deliver virtual events. Some platforms are very large, such as YouTube, Facebook Live, or Zoom. Still, many smaller providers have carved out their niche in the diverse virtual events space.
Virtual events vastly reduce the hosting cost and logistics when compared to in-person events. Content providers can reach a global audience using turnkey platforms at a fraction of the cost of organizing in-person events. Attendees can self-select relevant content and reduce wasted time, for example, only attending the two seminars bookending a day.
The primary downside of virtual events is often the lack of interactivity. In-person events benefit from ad hoc conversations, networking, and a sense of community. Using PubNub’s tools, SDKs, and opinionated demos, platform developers can add interactivity back into the events being hosted, for example:
Live event chat: Attendees can send moderated messages to each other and express reactions with emojis in real-time.
Livestream chat: The more attendees interact with each other, the more difficult it can be to follow a conversation thread. With PubNub you can tailor your architecture and ramp up or down the amount of interaction any one user receives.
Breakout rooms: Chatting at scale is excellent for generating a sense of community, but PubNub also supports smaller chat sessions for breakout rooms or 1:1 interaction.