Karlsruhe, 29 October 2021
Digital events are the future
Virtual conferences and trade fairs provide significant benefits for organizers and visitors, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of digital events has increased enormously; at times, people communicated and met almost exclusively online. For some time now, there has been an increasing trend toward face-to-face events - but experts question whether this is the right approach in light of current social challenges: Digital events provide "significant benefits, not only during the pandemic," note scientists Timo Bollen and Heiko Brendel, who are both involved with Scientists for Future: "Above all, the massive CO₂ savings speak for themselves. International conferences and congresses in particular bring together numerous visitors from different countries, who often travel by plane. At the moment, flying is one of the most climate-damaging activities people can undertake: "Since man-made global warming is the greatest crisis of our time, this type of mobility needs to be justified better than tradition, habit or convenience," say Brendel and Bollen.
Majority of the population calls for more action on climate protection
The fact that many Germans are prepared to make these changes is shown by a recent representative study by the digital association Bitkom, according to which 83 percent of German citizens call for all available technologies to be used to reduce CO2 emissions. More than three quarters of the population currently see climate change as one of the biggest and most pressing problems facing humanity and are calling for appropriate measures to be taken.
Virtual events are more inclusive
However, it is not only the environment that benefits from digital scenarios: Events can often be realized more cost-effectively and are more inclusive, as there are fewer barriers to attendance. For the scientific community in particular, it represents enormous progress when participation in conferences is no longer tied to physical presence and thus scientists from poorer regions of the world can participate and content can be made accessible to a broader public, either live or afterwards as a recording. There is an enormous potential for saving tax money that would otherwise be used for travel and accommodation costs for researchers.
Implementation with powerful video conferencing software easily possible
With powerful video conferencing platforms such as the German GDPR-compliant alfaview® video conferencing software, conferences, trade fairs and other events can be easily implemented either online or as hybrid events. The customized event structure with lecture and workshop rooms can be displayed completely virtually; even public break rooms for informal networking are available. Various features such as live transcription and translation as well as the use of a second camera or a whiteboard offer additional benefits compared to a face-to-face event.
Virtual events offer great value that should be leveraged, even after the coronavirus pandemic, to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.