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  • Writer's pictureBeth Hernandez-Casey

4 Fabulous Virtual Event Platforms

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

Post coronavirus more and more companies are scrambling to go virtual. Virtual events have been around for a long time before covid19 and they will continue to grow when this is all over. Virtual events make impossible events possible, reduce the costs to deliver your content, and sophisticated platforms mean you can continue to connect your attendees with digital networking solutions.

All in all, virtual events are great! But there are a lot of options out there. I set out to find the right solution for an upcoming event and quickly realized the search can be overwhelming. I was looking for specific functionality:

  • Concurrent sessions/breakouts

  • Session recording

  • Speaker video, slides, and a media player separate from a presentation function

  • Live polling, Q&A, chat box

  • EXPO/Sponsor functionality

  • Registration, payments, and email marketing on platform

  • Video networking between attendees

These bonus functions would sweeten the pot:

  • Reactions/emojis as feedback for speakers

  • Game layer for driving engagement

  • CRM and marketing integration

  • Networking matchmaking

I have spent the last 4 weeks demoing, reviewing and comparing platforms. In the hopes that I might save you the trouble, here are my favorite platforms out of the 10 I reviewed.

Best Budget Solution: Universum

Universum truly is the little platform that could! It gives organizers incredible flexibility and the ability to create truly spectacular virtual experiences for your attendees. It has almost all the big functions I am looking for: concurrent sessions, a media player, live polling, Q&A, virtual expo, and marketing on the platform. The one thing it is missing in its turnkey solution? Video chat between attendees.

The geniuses at Universum are working on developing this functionality and can probably customize a solution by integrating your existing video conferencing service like zoom. It will just take some tinkering.

Universum includes in their basic functionality Abstract Management. Organize all your powerpoints, handouts, and takeaways in one place! Any event planner can attest to just how game changing this is. Especially when managing a virtual event, keeping track of presentations, materials, and multiple versions can present an organizational nightmare.

Universum is a solid solution that with some customization can hit every bullet. It is easily customizable and provides precise branding capabilities. At less than €5 per registration, this is by far the most cost effective, complete solution.

Biggest Bang for your Buck: O2O

This solution is 100% turnkey. All the major functionality I wanted plus a few bonuses. Not only does the platform provide AI supported matchmaking between attendees, it also matches attendees with sponsors. The platform easily connects with Stripe to accept registration payments. O2O also gives you the ability to brand almost everything on the platform creating additional sponsorship and revenue opportunities. My favorite bonus function: O2O integrates with WhatsApp and text messaging allowing you to send reminders to your attendees via text.

There is a small setup fee for the account then a low per registration cost. Some functions require an additional fee (polling for example) but it won’t break the bank.

Creme de la creme: INXPO

INXPO, now part of Intrado, is a powerhouse for virtual experiences. This is the most customizable platform with all the bells and whistles plus delightful bonuses. INXPO elevates nearly every function I was looking for. One of my favorites is the lower thirds function. Adding a lower third to live speaker video ensures your audience knows exactly who is talking and what they do. This platform also provides a virtual lobby; a 3D mockup of a physical space and you can even add photos of your actual team members into the space.

INXPO's support is also a big differentiator. You will get dedicated helpdesk support for the length of your event so you can rest assured that your attendees will get professional support should they experience any technical issues.

INXPO’s solutions are elegant and completely bespoke. Expect the price point to match.

Favorite Overall: All in the Loop

Out of all the solutions I demoed and researched, All in the Loop was by far my favorite. All in the Loop provides both a web based and app experience. You can create a totally virtual event or hybrid event with this solution. The UX is by far the most pleasing. All in the Loop has everything I was looking for with some pretty exciting bonuses.

Your experience can be housed in your very own container app on iOS and Android devices. You can use your own registration platform you already have in place, like Cvent for example, or use theirs for a tiny fee. All in the loop takes video networking to the next level as well with group meetings. This is such a fantastic feature. If you meet someone at an event and think your colleague or team member should join the conversation, you can orchestrate it with ease for up to 10 attendees.

At $5k or less for each event, All in the Loop is a bargain and a good looking one at that!

What next?

We are working on a full comparison report of all 10 platforms we reviewed. Subscribe to our newsletter to read it when it is published!

If you find yourself trying to pivot to the virtual space but aren't sure where to start, you can grab a free 30 minute consultation with me here. I would love to help.

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