Virtual conferences to replace real-life trade shows

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London, April 22 (ANI): A growing number of businesses may soon opt to attend virtual conferences over the traditional trade shows.

According to virtual events technology company ON24, their survey found 87 per cent of 10,000 executives are ready to go virtual.

"It is still an evangelical market, but the recession has helped businesses see the value of virtual environments," the BBC quoted ON24 founder Sharat Sharan, as saying.

He added: "Think about all those savings from hotel rooms to airfares for attendees to meals and conference space. One of our biggest technology clients had a sales meeting earlier this year where they generally spend 5 million dollars. They spent a tenth of that by holding a virtual conference."

Second Life, one of the most famous names in the world of virtual reality, and ON24, along with Unisfair, are now leading the development of virtual-meetings software which gives a real trade show or conference experience.

Executives attending can check in and receive virtual goods and brochures.

There are show booths, which can be attended and used to download company information, watch demonstrations or chat online to sales representatives.

Attendees can also participate in keynote sessions, submit questions live for real-time answers and listen to lectures on podcast.

Facilities are also available for virtual networking.

Another advantage, according to the companies, is the ability to know who came come to your booth for how long, what products interested them and what questions they asked.

Miroslaw Nowak of Market Research Media said: "It is just a matter of time before the virtual events world and the trade show world merge to create the next generation of events - a hybrid of the old and the new,"

Sharat agreed with Nowak.

He said: "Businesses are getting more and more comfortable with the virtual world. Their customers, employees and partners are already living in that environment thanks to social networks and even email.

"The need for face-to-face meetings is always going to exist - however you will see a lot more virtual interactions." (ANI)

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