Virtual Events: The New Norm
The Covid-19 pandemic caused a disruption in almost all sectors of the Malaysian economy. Industries experienced slowed growth as they adjusted to the pandemic containment measures. As the government effected the Movement Control Order (MCO), business managers had to develop methods of keeping their businesses running amidst the constraints of the pandemic. Virtual meetings and remote working became the order of the day. The communication sector experienced a high surge in the demand for virtual services. According to Forbes, global demand for virtual services will grow by over twenty percent up to 2027. Read on to get more insights into post-pandemic technological trends.
An Overview of the Pandemic
Frontiers rank the Covid-19 pandemic as the greatest since the 1918 Spanish flu. Like in any other parts of the globe, the pandemic hit Malaysia in several waves. The first wave was between January 25 and February 15, but there were no fatalities. Consequent waves, however, claimed the lives of Malaysians and plunged the country’s healthcare system into a crisis. The crisis compelled the government to impose a Movement Control Order to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Controlled movement disrupted business and livelihoods. Workers could no longer get to their offices, while live meetings and events were postponed for months. The disruptions led to the loss of RM2.4 billion daily, making it one of the most expensive disruptions in the history of the country. By the end of April, the Malaysian economy had lost RM63 billion. However, the economy would have suffered greater losses if business did not shift to virtual operations.
Responsive businesses allowed their workers to work remotely, while event organizers moved to virtual meetings. The movement restrictions also affected the education and health sectors. Physical school attendance was suspended and learners had to get their lessons virtually. Patients were also encouraged to contact their physicians through online platforms.
The controlled movement and social distance requirements also affected human socialization. People could no longer attend religious events or conduct live ceremonies and, for the first time, almost all religious services were performed virtually.
Surge in Demand for Virtual Services
Before the pandemic, businesses around the country had begun to digitize their services. The Malaysian government was also supportive of the digital economy through sound policies that saw cost of digital hardware drop by almost a half. A World Bank report shows Malaysia already had internet speeds of more than 100mbps by 2019.
Forbes also noted significant growth in the digital sector before the pandemic. According to the magazine, virtual events recorded a 23.2 percent growth in 2019 and were expected to maintain the growth up to 2027.
However, the pandemic brought a sudden surge in demand for virtual services. The demand for digital services continued to rise through the pandemic period and has maintained an upward trend even after the reopening of the economy. Experts argue that businesses may not go back to pre-pandemic trends of events, but will continue to bring more and more events onto the digital platform.
The increased demand for virtual events is among the silver linings of the pandemic. Amidst the challenges brought by the pandemic, businesses have discovered advantages of shifting to virtual events or a hybrid of physical and virtual events. Here are some specific benefits of shifting to virtual events.
Benefits of Shifting to Virtual Events
Holding an event, whether physical or virtual, comes with some expenses. However, virtual events help you to cut event costs as the organizer. You do not need to rent a hall for the event or order refreshments for your attendees. A virtual event will also reduce travelling and accommodation expenses paid to facilitators as they work remotely.
Enhanced Flexibility and Efficiency
Virtual events enhance flexibility, as participants can switch from one event to another without physical movement. Reduced physical movement also helps you to save time, enabling you to hold multiple events in a day and improve efficiency in your business.
Favourable Return on Investment (ROI)
Efficiency and reduced costs of doing business improves your profitability. Since profit is a function of ROI, the reduction of costs and enhanced efficiency brought by virtual events help to improve the ROI.
Improved Data Collection
In a virtual event, participants are required to log in to access the event. Data on the number of participants, their contribution, and other observations is recorded in real-time.
As a business manager, you have heard that the future is digital. However, the pandemic has accelerated the digitization process. McKinsey Insights suggest that the pandemic has accelerated the growth of the virtual sector by seven years. To respond to the digital disruptions, you need to develop a digital strategy that will help you retain the pre-pandemic market share and expand it in the post-pandemic period. To effectively reach and serve your target market, your digital strategy should clearly define the internet connectivity required by your business.
Internet Connectivity and Success of Virtual Services
The internet has progressively improved since its inception. In the early days of the internet, managers viewed the internet as a secondary tool for communication within business. However, since the invention of the high-speed internet and mobile internet devices, the internet has become an integral part of business. Business organisations use the internet to market their products and even complete sales over the internet.
Social media platforms have also revolutionized the virtual market. People are spending most of their time on the social media platforms, making the platforms the largest single market. A business that effectively taps into this market creates a competitive advantage that places it ahead of others in the industry.
However, no matter the investment made in digitizing your company’s services, you may not effectively meet the needs of your customers if you do not choose the right internet provider. You should install high-speed and reliable internet to ensure your customers have a seamless engagement with your business.
Slow or intermittent internet connections will push customers to your competitors. Remember that a large segment of the online market comprises the millennials and generation Z, who are always looking for quick fixes.
Internet Infrastructure Advancement
If you are serving only a small fraction of your market over the internet, it is easy to overlook the internet infrastructure needed by your company. However, the pandemic has created a new normal. Customers are now being encouraged to buy most services online. As more and more customers embrace virtual services, your current digital infrastructure may be overwhelmed.
You are, therefore, encouraged to review your internet infrastructure to ensure it can accommodate the increasing demands for virtual services. Your internet provider should help you assess your needs and advise you on the infrastructure needed to sustain the increasing demand.
Even after the world is fully vaccinated, businesses will not go back to the pre-pandemic events. Business will either go fully virtual or have a mix of both live and virtual events. Allo is here to cover your connectivity needs and ensure your events run smoothly, both on the business end and for your audience tuning in. Contact us today to learn more.