Why do we call events virtual when they are very real?

Dellar Davies has just completed a three-day event that started with rehearsals in a London-based Studio last Friday morning and concluded with a live closing Q&A session yesterday evening. Nothing about the past week has been virtual – believe me, it was all very real!

I’ve been very fortunate to run an online event filmed within an extended reality (XR) broadcast studio, where the physical environment was indeed virtual. It was an amazing experience and one I can’t wait to repeat. But…the event itself was real – the learning, the interaction, the wealth of insights for attendees were all actual – as was this week’s #CruiseForward event for CLIA.

I appreciate that the event industry has coined the term ‘virtual event’ because it has become commonplace to refer to online events in this way. Indeed, the platform we use to deliver these events is a virtual venue – a virtual event portal – which brings all the content and attendees together in one place. But I fear we’re in danger of downplaying the value of online events when they are not lesser versions of in-person events or low-value substitutes that aren’t worthy of paying to attend – they can still be a live, immersive, entertaining, valuable and interactive experience.

Sponsors and attendees will find that a well-designed and professionally delivered online event is every bit as meaningful and worthy of a financial contribution as an ‘in real life’ event. They certainly involve just as much thought, hours of preparation and dedication from the content producers, technicians, event organisers, moderators and speakers, so I’m adopting the terms in-person, on-air and blended from now on! 

Thank you CLIA Global for appointing us to work with you once again – we appreciate your support right now more than we can express in words!