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Entering a virtual world – How the wind industry could benefit from virtual events

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, most events due to take place in 2020 have been postponed or cancelled all together. This has led some organizers to switch to virtual platforms. Could this format work for the wind industry? And what opportunities could open up for exhibitors?

It’s not only concerts and festivals. COVID-19 has also affected numerous wind industry events. The cancellation of trade fairs and conferences has caused the most disruption. After all, these are where companies meet to share information and knowledge. Virtual events provide a remedy for the situation.

An expensive and impersonal alternative?

If events can no longer take place on site, communicating and networking become difficult. But what does this mean for large-scale conferences? How do the restrictions affect discussions and meetings? Can companies and experts still consult one another on specialist topics and the latest solutions and services?

The uncertainty also affects trade fairs. How can exhibitors approach other companies now? Does the virtual environment make generating new customers more difficult? Factors such as technical requirements and cost haven’t been properly explored, which might lead some to reject the idea. But on closer inspection, there is no need for apprehension.

No reservation for innovation

Participation in virtual events is actually easier than one might expect. Thanks to specialist providers, trade fair exhibitors can even create their own virtual event stand without having to download any software. Stands can be customized to incorporate corporate design, personalized avatars, and information material.

Some forward-thinking organizers have already leapt at the prospect. The Virtual Mission Offshore event – which ran from 2nd to the 17th July – was a place for wind industry stakeholders to connect online and discuss new opportunities in a safe setting. Similarly, Global Offshore Wind 2020 will take place virtually. The three-day event promises to be “more than a virtual event”, with roundtables, masterclasses, webinars, and much more.

Communicating with participants in these types of events is surprisingly easy. Integrated chat and commentary functions in live streams ensure a smooth exchange of information. Social media platforms such as XING and LinkedIn can also be used to create a group for the invite. Some virtual event tools use video calling to connect exhibitors with other participants. This means that attendees can enjoy the event from the comfort of their home and get the on-site experience off site.

More reach, less CO2

Good news! Virtual events come at a fraction of the price, compared with standard events. There are no fees to rent a stand, no travel expenses, and no staff to hire. This also means that there are seldom entry costs for visitors. What’s more, the ease of access means more visitors – and more reach.

Companies can refer participants to their websites at the touch of a button. This increases website traffic and companies will rise higher in the search engine rankings as a result.

As an added bonus, virtual events contribute to a greener world. With nobody travelling to the event, CO2 emissions are reduced. That said, data centers which make virtual events possible use enormous amounts of electricity, which can be offset with renewable sources. Google powers a large portion of its data centers with solar panels and wind turbines. The wind energy industry is already beginning to benefit from the virtual switchover of events.

Seize the opportunity!

Technical innovation has led to an upsurge in virtual events which present plenty of advantages. Companies themselves must now decide if and how they want to approach them. They should consider organizing digital corporate events themselves. In this way, companies don’t have to follow off-the-shelf, prepackaged event solutions and can design everything according to their own ideas.

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