Today, the social bond that we have with our relatives or colleagues is done through digital.
This is the only solution in this challenging period of containment due to Covid-19.
Many video conferencing platforms exist, and the use of these has increased considerably since the start of containment.
But human beings need contact and social bonding at all ages. Everyone, therefore, continues to keep this link despite the distance. But it cannot replace natural and physical interactions. The income for event managers is also reduced during this pandemic situation.
Events in the broad sense of the term response to this need. Events are necessary for human interactions, from an economic point of view yes, but above all social.
But what will tomorrow’s event look like with all the sanitary and necessary measures to be taken into account?
THE EXPLOSION OF VIRTUAL EVENTS
Human beings need contact and social interactions. Because of the confinement, one of the possibilities to meet this need is to go through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or even FaceTime. Their use has exploded since the start of containment. Zoom has grown from 10 million users to 300 million daily.
Today, if an event is to be maintained, it must be completely dematerialized. The Laval Virtual show, which is mainly focused on virtual and augmented reality, organized it’s edition in a virtual way thanks to a 3D platform, Virbela, allowing to interact with other people on site. Other events will certainly use these platforms when feasible.
Others unfortunately were forced to cancel their editions. If we stay within this theme, we can cite the Paris Games Week which was to take place at the end of the year. The organizers announced on Thursday that they were canceling this edition for a lack of knowledge about the future.
Other major events known to all have also been postponed. We think of the Olympic Games for example. The last time a postponement of such an event dates back to the world wars …
Although solutions exist to digitize an event industry, from our point of view, this will never replace an event as we knew it before this crisis. The wonder that we can feel when entering the room decorated on the theme, the noise caused by the joy of the other participants present, the music in the background … All this cannot be felt when you are at home, behind your computer, on a 3D platform although it can be realistic and efficient.
TOWARDS A RETURN TO EVENTS
Today, we do not know exactly when events, regardless of their magnitude, may again take place. Although the deconfinement has been confirmed, this Thursday, for Monday, May 11, the case of the event remains unclear. Restrictive and hygienic measures will certainly be put in place by the government in order to best protect the participants and the organizers. We will most certainly be in a situation where new events will be possible little by little. First by gatherings of fifty people than a hundred until a gradual return to events of more than a thousand people. Impossible on the other hand to know when. Even if we hope quickly.
These new events will have to bring something new in their content or in their organization to alleviate a certain fear of the participants. This disease being at the heart of everyone’s thoughts, reluctance can be felt and slow down some. Measures will have to be put in place to guarantee the safety of all.
THE CONCRETE IMPLEMENTATION OF MEASURES FOR OUR EVENTS
All event professionals will be required to implement certain measures or adopt certain habits. We have already thought about what we could improve or adapt to our events. The restoration will certainly have to be adapted. During events, it is usually in the form of a buffet where each participant will draw from common containers or trays. This form of restoration is not the most suitable for limiting contact and ensuring the recommended physical distance. It is possible to work with the caterer on other formats such as individual meal baskets with reusable and nominative glasses while maintaining satisfactory quality and user-friendliness.
Wearing a mask is strongly recommended. It would be unthinkable that the organizers, facilitators, and providers do not wear them. Ensuring protective gear is important. It is the same for the participants.
During events, time is given to entertainment to entertain participants, especially when the latter is a business meeting. These activities, in addition to entertaining, are important for thanking employees and creating social ties by sharing memories. They will have to be adapted in the events of tomorrow in order to respect all the measures which will come into force, whether it is at the level of the hygiene of the devices used, by maintaining the minimum distance or by favoring the appropriate activities such as quizzes or large team games containing individual events.
Road Show type events have been around for years. It is not a novelty in the landscape of the events but these will be perhaps the most adequate to set up in this period. For those who are not familiar with the term, it is a series of identical events allowing a small number of participants on several dates to be favored rather than a single large event welcoming a lot of people. When this type of event is conceivable and possible to set up according to the various constraints that this entails, it would be preferable to resort to it.
All these measures put in place will ensure the safety of all but keeping in sight friendliness, the creation of social links, and shared memories.
The virus is still there and will be around for a long time to come. You have to learn to live with it by putting in place certain measures in order to work and play with serenity. You have to adapt and be inventive to meet everyone’s wishes.
Either way, tomorrow’s event won’t be like the one we’ve seen before. At least not in the near future. However, it remains essential in our society because it is one of the primary vectors for creating social ties.
So let’s take advantage of this period to rethink this industry and improve it rather than abandon it and condemn it.
Post-COVID-19 events must be responsible, creative, and respectful. It will allow us to reweave this essential social link that we have missed so much in recent weeks. As always, the event will find its primary reason, that of linking individuals in our society both between colleagues and between enthusiasts of the same theme.