It’s coming up to what would have been the actual IBC show, and its virtual replacement. Marketing Director Nik Forman looks at tradeshow-centric calendars, Einsteinian gravity, and missing Amsterdam.

It’s September tomorrow. I’m not entirely sure how that has happened. Perhaps, since August is traditionally regarded as one of the “quiet” summer months, it was decided to remove most of it this year. Certainly September has raced into view with a speed and determination that suggests the preceding weeks have been the subject of some cosmic chronological fiddlings

Anyway, whatever the chicanery, here we are. And of course for many of us, the September page of our “Hang in there, kitty!” calendar traditionally has a very large circle scrawled around 10-14 days in its middle, with “IBC” scribbled across them. In our traditional M&E events-focused calendars, the September IBC page (like its big sister April) exerts a huge pull on our focus and our resources, like the famous illustration of Einsteinian space-time , a bowling ball sitting on a stretched sheet, pulling everything into its gravity. 

In and around the two gas giants of NAB and IBC, other events, slightly less massive but still hugely significant, create a traditional calendar that has those of us involved in events  finishing one and immediately prepping for the next . I’ve often said that I measure my life in tradeshows: another completed cycle of NAB, Broadcast Asia, IBC, CABSAT and others representing one more addition to the birthday cake candles. Using such a measurement system, logic dictates that while the events aren’t occurring, I’m not ageing; or at least, I’m only ageing in a virtual sense, like the tradeshows.

But of course, these virtual shows are going on, thanks to the efforts of the relevant organizations and the splendid teams involved. Like many of my colleagues and peers, I’ve have had as busy a summer of planning as ever there was pre-Covid 19 (I think there was a pre-Covid 19? Seems like a very long time ago). 

Now more than ever is a time for innovation, for agile, flexible products and solutions to help us all work more effectively in what will be a business and economic landscape that has been changed forever. And one of the ways that we can share these developments with those they are designed to help is via these now virtual tradeshow schedules. We at Masstech are delivering demos of our new Kumulate modules to our customers during IBC week, and are hosting a number of webcasts and other events (you can check them out here), and I know that a great many of our friends and partners throughout the industry also have a busy week of activities planned. Despite, or even because of the pandemic, it’s a busy time.

We all know that the ongoing situation has prompted a huge increase in the number of virtual events, and for a lot of people designing and delivering these has required the negotiation of a steep learning curve. Reaching and generating an audience mercilessly bombarded with invitations to webinars from multiple sources is a challenge in itself; and once you have an audience, creating an experience that remains engaging for the duration is something many organisations are finding tricky. We’ve all been on interminable, dusty webinars whose content is actually of great interest, but which struggle to keep us interested due to the monotonous delivery and eyelid dragging, chart-laden slides. Short, sharp and focused are the keywords here.

Fortunately, there are lots of resources out there to provide useful guidance from experienced providers, and the ongoing pandemic means that we are getting plenty of opportunity to tweak and refine our methods. That situation isn’t likely to change any time soon. Virtual events are here to stay, and there will continue to be a lot of them around; a focused message and compelling experience are the keys to ensuring that people will continue to sign up.

But I will miss being in Amsterdam this September. I’ll miss the city itself, the ambience, and even the hustle, craziness and occasional borderline panic that accompanies every tradeshow. Like many of you, I suspect, I will miss personally catching up with friends, colleagues and partners most of all, those with whom some very happy IBC memories have been created (some of which I’ve dropped into a small gallery below; if you’re not in it it’s totally down to my terrible photo curation – it’s not because I don’t treasure the time we’ve spent together, I do, especially that time when we did that cool thing, that was awesome).

So, stay safe, everyone, and here’s to a successful, productive v-IBC2020 – and to virtually not ageing.

Proost, Nik


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