Tech News: Bizzabo, MeetingPlay + Aventri, Splash Enhancements; SXSW, Grip Deal for 2022 Event
While the industry continues to ramp up to in-person formats again in 2022, the need for technology hasn’t waned, with event professionals relying more than ever on the latest innovations to streamline planning and engage attendees, whether for in-person, virtual or hybrid gatherings. Event tech companies are delivering on the increasing demand. Check out some of the newest offerings!
Bizzabo, which significantly expanded in 2021 with the acquisition of four companies (Whalebone, x.ai, TeeVid and Klik), the launch of its Event Experience category and the development of an open, integrated Event Experience Operating System (OS), is continuing the momentum in 2022 with the release of a new book, the addition of new site features and the expansion of its offices.
Bizzabo’s co-founders, Eran Ben-Shushan Alon Alroy, and Boaz Katz, have written the book “Event Success,” which explores why the evolution in hybrid events was long-needed,and how event professionals can be successful in this new hybrid world. Published by Wiley, the book is available for pre-order now and will be released globally March 29.
Meanwhile, Bizzabo is planning to continue developing and incorporating many new features into its Event Experience OS, including new tools powered by the technology and talent from its recent acquisitions.
Additionally, in 2021, Bizzabo’s team grew to nearly 400 people working from five global offices in New York, Montreal, London, Tel Aviv and Kyiv, as well as remotely around the world. The company recently signed deals to move or expand its offices in New York, Tel Aviv and Kyiv. In New York and Tel Aviv, Bizzabo is beginning construction on hybrid-first offices that are designed to facilitate community and meaningful connections.
“Flexibility and agility are two important themes for 2022—both at work and events,” Alroy said. “We’re proud to be building technology and workplaces that are hybrid-first. Regardless of where people are, we’re committed to delivering memorable experiences that help us all feel more connected.”
Bizzabo’s Event Experience OS hosted 43% more events in 2021 compared to 2020, with customers creating in-person, virtual, and hybrid event experiences for millions of people. On average, each of these events included 16 sessions with an average session rating of 4.5 out of 5.
MeetingPlay + Aventri
MPA University is a free virtual offering that was designed to provide event education to the community and transform the planning process into something easy, accessible and innovative.
Each six-week-long course features bite-sized webinars from industry experts and professionals on the hottest tech, trends and industry topics, engaging content driven by attendees and downloadable resources with actionable content. The university also offers digital library with on-demand access to each class.
The course schedule is as follows:
- February 24: Setting hybrid goals and building event timelines
- March 3: Seamlessly transition to a hybrid event
- March 10: Reskilling the events’ workforce
- March 17: Choosing the right tech partners for your hybrid events
- March 24: Market your hybrid event and build sponsorships
- March 31: Top hybrid lessons from the experts
Additionally, MeetingPlay + Aventri recently launched their 2022 Strategic Event Bible to further aid meeting planners in planning their hybrid and virtual events.
Splash Studio gives event teams and marketers the ability to plan and execute all phases of an event without the limitation of traditional (and outdated) tools and formats. With Splash Studio, marketers now have the tools they need to improve productivity and drive attendee engagement by incorporating live streaming and new engagement capabilities.
Splash Studio features include:
- Quality, native live streaming functionality, where users don’t need additional software or subscriptions to host virtual and hybrid events
- Full suite of engagement tools, including Q&A, chat, polling, networking hubs and more
- Fully automated data integration that syncs back to existing CRM and marketing automation systems
- Easy program set up for all users to create beautiful, on-brand event programs
- Add-on options that include Studio, Studio+ and Studio Custom to meet teams’ and guests’ changing needs
“We’ve been saying this for a while now: As much as we want in-person events to return permanently—and they will—virtual and hybrid events are here to stay,” said Eric Holmen, CEO of Splash. “Splash Studio supports our customers’ needs in a constantly changing events landscape by helping to deliver engaging virtual, hybrid and in-person experiences that make a business impact.”
This quarter, the company is also adding new and enhanced integrations to its event marketing platform. In addition, a new sessions feature will let users run multi-track events with simultaneous video streams hosted within a branded virtual venue.
SXSW and Grip
Organizers of the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (SXSW) selected Grip, the AI-powered event, networking and matchmaking platform, as its event technology partner for its first in-person event since 2019.
This year’s SXSW Conference in Austin, Texas, set for March 11-20, is a hybrid event focused on connecting people from all over the world, bringing together a diverse range of forward-thinking exhibitors—from promising startups to established industry leaders. These connections will be facilitated by the Grip platform, which is being used at the Creative Industries Expo, Wellness Expo, XR Experience and Flatstock 77 exhibitions. Grip will make it easier for thousands of attendees, 500 exhibitors and hundreds of sponsors to connect with each other.
Grip’s AI-powered recommendations will help participants discover new services, products and experiences and enable them to navigate the expos and schedule meetings, either virtually or in-person using a mobile app.
“SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together,” said Justin Bankston, chief technical officer at SXSW. “That’s why we selected Grip. We wanted a technology partner that has a proven track record connecting conference participants, so they discover more and walk away with an amazing, valuable event experience.
Since SXSW hasn’t had an in-person format since 2019, organizers wanted an event app that delivers more value to its in-person and virtual participants than ever before, according to Bankston.
“We’re reinventing SXSW for 2022, and technologies like Grip help us with that mission,” he said.
Tim Groot, co-founder and CEO of Grip, called the partnership “a dream come true.”
“SXSW is one of the world’s best events, and I’m proud we’re providing our AI-powered technology to power moments of connection at the event,” he said. “Our platform will be instrumental in helping attendees, exhibitors and sponsors connect with each other.”
Tyler Conley, vice president of business development at Grip, said the win underscores the company’s further expansion into the North American market.
“The Grip platform has now become the leading choice for large conferences and trade shows in North America, such as Money20/20 USA and Shoptalk,” he said.
At SXSW, connections between attendees, sponsors and exhibitors will be facilitated by Grip’s award-winning artificial intelligence algorithms. Its recommendation engine will provide instant matches for all participants based on their profiles, areas of interest and products they viewed via the SXSW Expo app. As they interact with sponsors and exhibitor’s products or staff, the AI will learn and make more personalized recommendations, leading to an intensity of connections and meetings never seen before at the conference.
Grip’s platform will help participants to:
- Discover relevant products and exhibitors via listings in the branded mobile app
- Exchange contact details by scanning badges via the app
- Connect and schedule meetings with attendees, exhibitors and sponsors both virtually and in-person, on-site
- Navigate the Expo, finding relevant exhibitors and available locations to have meetings using the fully interactive venue floor plan
- Manage meeting schedules inside the app
- View analytics on intent so exhibitors and sponsors can understand which attendees are interested in their products and services
Exhibitors will be able to build a lead funnel from the interaction they have with attendees. They can then share these with their sales team and export them, better enabling them to track sales performance and follow up.
On 15 March, Grip will host the Event Tech Meet Up at the SXSW Creative Industry Expo Pavilion for registrants interested in event technology and innovation. The session will be the chance to meet industry professionals to discuss current trends in event technology both virtually and in-person.
Photo: Bizzabo’s new “Event Success” book.