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Virtual Events FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Page history last edited by Miguel 13 years, 7 months ago

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(Formatting: Topical category in bold; question in italics; answer in standard text)




  1. What is a virtual event?


There are many different kinds of virtual events, here you have a description of the more relevant types:


Web conferencing : Collaborative interacting over the Internet

Web conferencing allows a presenter to show an audience what is on his/her computer screen and collaborate in a number of ways.

* Data: Web conferencing focuses on computer-based data (presentations, documents, software apps), which it can display and easily manipulate. That makes it easier for the businessperson to use and makes it fit most day-to-day business meetings and events. Some Web conferencing platforms offer Webcam video.
* Web & phone: Most Web conferences use an audio conference call to let the group hear the presenter. Phone audio is more reliable and higher quality than Internet audio, and it allows real-time interaction among participants. But it does add to the cost.
* Small to mid-sized groups: The data-sharing and two-way interactivity work well for groups up 100 attendees. Meetings can be hosted or attended from any PC with an Internet connection. No production or special equipment is required.
* Two-way: Web conferences are more interactive, with the ability to share presentation rights and control of applications among all group members.

Webcasting: Broadcasting over the Internet

Webcasting technologies use streaming media technologies to broadcast audio and video or audio only with visuals (optional) over the Internet to a large audience.

* Video: The biggest difference between Webcasting and Web conferencing is the predominance of video vs. sharing desktop applications. That makes Webcasting preferable for high-profile public events. Requires  onsite production support, powerful servers, and lots of Internet bandwidth, which is why the cost of a Webcast can be very high.
* Internet-only delivery: Live or archived video is delivered over the Internet and the audio is provided via speakers on your PC.
* Large events: By using high-capacity distributed servers, Webcasting companies can deliver events to audiences of thousands. Unlike production costs, per-attendee distribution is cheap so very large events are less expensive as Webcasts than they are as Web conferences.
* One-way: Streaming media compresses and transfers video and/or audio data through the Internet so that the file can start to play while it is downloading.

Webinar: Web-based Seminar

Term used to describe a specific type of web conference short for "Web Seminar". It is typically one-way, from the speaker to the audience with considerable audience interaction. A webinar can be collaborative and include polling and question & answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter. In some cases, the presenter may speak over a standard telephone line or through the use of VoIP audio technology, to allow for a truly web-based communication.

* Power Point slide presentations
* Audio through the phone (conference call), VoIP (Real time audio communication through the computer via use of headphones and speakers), or combination.
* Web-browser tours
* Recording (for viewing at a later time)
* Whiteboard with annotation (allowing the presenter and/or attendees to highlight or mark items on the slide presentation. Or, simply make notes on a blank whiteboard.)
* Text chat - For live question and answer sessions, limited to the people connected to the meeting.
* Polls and surveys (allows the presenter to conduct questions with multiple choice answers directed to the audience)
* Screen sharing/desktop sharing/application sharing (where participants can view anything the presenter currently has shown on their screen.

Virtual fair & trade show: 3D collaborative environment

Collaborative 3D or pseudo 3D environment that connects, informs and engages visitors and exhibitors. They reproduce realistic convention centres where visitors may network and gather all the relevant information in the virtual stands. Another usual features are virtual guides to help users to find the stands best suited for their profiles, registration tools to generate leads, webinar and video-conferencing apps and integrated instant messaging tools.

* Virtual fairs integrate the features of web-based seminars, and add all the real time communication of IM system plus the multimedia information of a rich internet application.
* Complete back-offices allow exhibitors to manage their virtual stands, and collect statistics and reports on the attendees behaviour
* Many customisation capabilities are available, mostly to define the virtual event venue, the virtual stands decoration or the configuration of the virtual event
* Scalability is a major issue, considering peaks of more than 1000 simultaneously connected attendees and more than 100.000 unique visitors in mainstream virtual trade-shows.


  1. What are the different types of virtual events?  There are new types of virtual events conceived every week (or every day).  To date, the most popular types of virtual events: virtual trade shows, virtual conferences, virtual career fairs, virtual sales meetings, virtual corporate meetings and virtual product launches.   
  2. What are the benefits of virtual events?


Mainly they can be reduced to the following issues:


a. Cost saving: both for exhibitors (venue, stand staffing, marketing) and participants (registration, travel, time).

b. Carbon footprint reduction

c. Audience reach: attracting attendees from different locations and with flexible time availabity.

d. Flexibility: virtual events can be customised to fit many different needs

e. Reporting - Results: they collect more valid leads, with higher conversion rates and with an extensive reporting and statistical analysis


  1. Why are virtual events popular?
  2. What's the difference between a virtual event and a virtual world, such as Second Life?
  3. What is a hybrid event? Why are they a trendy concept?
  4. Is there a conceptual integration with virtual events and social media and gaming developments?




  1. What are the technical requirements (prerequisites) for attending a virtual event?
  2. What technology serves as the foundation of virtual event platforms?
  3. Can virtual events incorporate live video streams?
  4. What third party technologies do virtual event platforms integrate with (e.g. CRM, ERP, etc.)?
  5. What could be the effect of corporate firewalls and proxys in virtual event real time communication tools?


Proxy web servers could be blocking the client web navigation due to security, performance or identity credential issues.

Nnetwork administrator restrictive connection policies might affect the written chat communication. And corporate firewalls or antivirus software could act as a connection filter and control the communication flow between the networks, blocking the connection and causing written chat issues. Also sudden network failure (micro-cuts) caused by various external reasons, could also affect the written chat connections.


  1. What are the standard elements/components that almost every virtual event platform should have?


Technology Providers


  1. What companies provide virtual event platforms?



Imaste creates innovative contact platforms for their costumers and their potential users. A spanish tech startup, IMASTE is the european leading provider of virtual events, 3D online environments and online trade-shows, that connect, inform and engage attendees and exhibitors.


Coming from the physical events industry, IMASTE evolved to become one of the major agents in the virtual fairs industry, with successful projects in various European and south american countries. To date, IMASTE has delivered more than 100 successful virtual events for global clients in more than 15 countries. They are currently conducting an ambitious international expansion plan, and have closed co-operation deals with some of the major online job boards and online interactive marketing agencies.





  1. What companies provide complementary technologies to virtual event platforms?
  2. Are there any independent analyst reports on the virtual event platform providers?


Forrester Report:  Market Overview: Virtual Event Platforms For B2B Marketers



ThinkBalm Report: Immersive software decision-making guide



Market Research Media: Virtual Conference & Trade Show Market Forecast 2010-2015



  1. What criteria should I use to evaluate virtual event platforms?
  2. Are there any independent measurement providers (e.g. like a Keynote for virtual event platforms)?




  1. Where do I go to get more information on virtual events?


Relevant industry Associations:
Virtual Edge Institute:


Relevant industry Blogs:

It´s all virtual: http://allvirtual.wordpress.com

Virtual get´s real: http://blog.imaste-ips.com


  1. Are there any online communities around virtual events?
  2. Are there any good introductory White Papers on virtual events?
  3. How do I experience a sample virtual event?
  4. Are there any professional events or summit related to virtual events?


Virtual event Operations / logistics


  1. What are the hidden costs of virtual event organisation?
  2. What other tasks need to be undertaken, besides the technological decisions



Virtual event marketing


  1. What are the more relevant web traffic sources for a virtual event?
  2. How can a drive the attendees attention and generate more a better leads?





  1. How do a speaker can prepare himself for a webinar session?
  2. How can an exhibitor properly manage his virtual stand?
  3. Why is real time interaction so important?





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