The 2020 Mobile World Congress has been one of the many events met with a cancellation due to the threat of the coronavirus and its spread. The effects of the recent epidemic on our daily and professional lives has been greatly felt all over the world. Many tech brands that were set to take part in the MWC 2020 had already chosen as a precaution not to participate, canceling their presence in Barcelona- these include names like LG, Asus, Ericsson, Sony and many others.
Travel and possible contagions made these massive technology companies much more prudent. Experts and industry leaders have already aired their doubts about the realisation of such a high traffic event in the midst of our global situation.
Mobile World Conference sees over 100 thousand attendees annually and boasts a social reach of a staggering 500 million people. The current spread of the virus is a sobering situation that calls for a reassessment of how we run future large scale, high traffic tech events. Of course a physical event will always have its upsides such as immediate interaction, experiences, waiting for new product presentations, opportunities to meet and listen to the industry’s Key Opinion Leaders, together with the possibility of interacting with the latest technology first hand.
However, what we should rethink is the methods of participation and use of and event’s schedule of contents, this blog will discuss the possible future of remote attendance in the world of massive tech events.
Tech, digital and the future
Classic forms of media outreach like press conferences are still very much the go to when it comes to the transmission of messages, sharing of materials, as well as the possibility of interaction with the spokesperson. However for some years now, traditional forms of communications and interaction with the media have increasingly been re-invented, with technology being at the forefront of their new identities wave of communications.
Tools such as webinars, video press conferences, live streaming videos are all highly effective in the presentation and demonstration of new products. These newer forms of visual streaming are finding increasing popularity in product launches as they allow much more instantaneous viewing as well as interaction without the need for a big physical event or conference. All these can have far reaching logistical benefits as well as cost saving advantages, moreover with the aid of a solid and timely social media plan, these new forms of streaming could have an impact which might outlive that of a physical event.
Calling upon Joshua Meyrowitz’s “No Sense of Place”, we can say that we have already have proof of how technologies today can go beyond live streaming, generating content to the limits of what we could have considered science fiction just a few years ago.
If you can imagine it, innovation can do it
During the last 2018 World Cup, Belgian Television Le Une conducted one of the most engaging television sports interview in recent years. They had Belgian football champion, Eden Hazard, on a stool in the middle of the television studios, yet he was never there. Instead the famed midfielder was actually 2576km away in Moscow preparing for the 2018 World Cup, yet to audiences he was an unassuming physical human sitting in the studio with them answering questions and fielding reporters. This was an example of the very first uses of Holographic Live Production on television and it truly captivated audiences.
Sports has not been the only sector fervently embracing the use of new streaming technology, the music and entertainment industry has been on parr if not more, setting the very literal stage for mega concerts with millions of people but no actual physical venue.
The industry of holo-concerts, musical events suspended between the real and virtual are a true rising trend in the United States. Spectators at Snoop Dogg’s concert at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards were able to witness the “materialisation” of late musical legends like Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson with some branching out into solo post humous holo-concerts featuring Frank Zappa, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse among others.
In February of 2019, world reknowned electronic musician DJ Marshmellow held the world’s first virtual concert. Hosted on Fortnite, this was a collaboration between the famous battle royal style game and the DJ, the concert which lasted only 10 minutes drew a massive crowd of over 10.7 million people. This was to become Fortnite’s biggest concurrent player count to date with the event recap garnering an even more staggering 27 million views. The ease of attendance and lack of barrier to entry made the concert much more accessible to most of the game’s player base, allowing DJ Marshmellow entrance to an audience he could not previously attract.
The events of the future
That being said, we are still some ways away from making full remote attendance for large scale events a fully feasible thing, many of which are still considered fairly experimental and expensive. This leaves us to reflect on how our relationship with these events are destined to evolve. However normalising of remotely attended events is undoubtedly more of a possibility now than it was ever before prompting Rolling Stone to wonder if holographic concerts are to be the norm of the future.
At the same time we must be aware of the tools that technology has made available to us and whose innovations allow us to evaluate and consider different options. Perhaps in a future world, we would be able to move Mobile World Congress onto a remote platform with new age technology and innovations. Whats your opinion on the future of remote attendance?
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