The Symbiosis Of Humans And Machines: The Rise Of Hybrid Events And Technology

A symbiosis between humans and technology has been taking place for over two decades. In fact, the advent of the internet and, subsequently, the proliferation of smartphones has increased the speed at which our lives are being digitised. The process is almost unavoidable. The digitisation of modern life is happening at home. We can all see it in things such as smart kettles, streaming services like Netflix and virtual assistants such as Alexa.

Hybridisation hits the workplace

It’s also happening in the workplace. Tasks that were previously done by hand are now being handled in part, or their entirety, by computers. Expenses, for example, no longer involve stacks of receipts, a pen and a spreadsheet. Finance teams can collate, track, manage, and authorise reimbursements using computer software, courtesy of companies like Moss. Someone still has ultimate responsibility for clicking a button to authorise a claim, but the software handles a large portion of the process. Out-of-pocket purchases from employees are handled so simply in this streamlined process and there’s hardly room for human error. It’s clear, therefore, that the symbiosis between humans and machines can be highly effective in the modern workplace.

Continuing the digitisation of modern working practices is the rise of online meetings. With people around the world forced to host events online over the last few years, it’s become par for the course. Yes, there is a desire to get out into the real world and interact, but we’re now conditioned to having work meetings online and even watching concerts via our computers.

In line with this movement towards digitisation of events are technological improvements. Products such as Zoom and Skype have streamlined their video calling services. Simultaneously, companies that host and manage online events, such as Virtual Venue and Eventcube, have grown in popularity. All of this has given rise to a new wave of hybrid events. Combining the physical with the digital and hosting hybrid events is more than a passing trend. Why? Aside from online events now being seen as a normal part of life, there is scope to reach more people.

Opening up events to the world via technology

Combining the physical with the digital means people can attend in person or watch via the internet. It’s also possible to introduce novel innovations. For example, breakout rooms have become popular at hybrid events. These are virtual meeting spaces where people at an event can have side discussions with people online. This innovation was used at B2B Summit North America 2022 where organisers combined breakout rooms with one-to-one virtual meeting spaces.

Another hybrid event that’s using the combination of the physical and the digital to facilitate networking is Gainsight Pulse Everywhere 2022. There are breakout rooms that attendees (live and online) can use to mimic the spur-of-the-moment encounters that often happen at conferences. Finally, there’s the ability to access on-demand content. Because hybrid events are streamed in real-time and recorded, people can replay the action whenever they want. That’s something the organisers of #FinCon22 embraced. Although the event was aimed at in-person attendees, anyone with a ticket could access recordings of talks via an on-demand service.

Hybrid events are gaining in popularity. That’s creating new opportunities for organisers, businesses and those that attend. However, the rise of these events is also an example of our move towards a hybrid way of living. Indeed, it aligns with the push towards metaverse technology, as well as many other aspects of our lives that combine the physical and the digital. Therefore, as we move into the future, it’s clear that hybrid events will slowly become the norm.

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