This episode of the Event Manager Podcast features meetyoo CEO Tony Kula in conversation about the state of virtual event tech.
Tony is currently the CEO of meetyoo conferencing GmbH, which he founded in 1999. He first studied business administration Frankfurt/Main and during this time went on to found his first IT company.
Having founded meetyou in 1999, he also managed its sister company MVC Mobile VideoCommunication GmbH, which is one of the leading system houses for video conferencing technology.
Over the past 20 years, Tony has continued the process of founding, establishing and selling other conferencing companies, and you’ll hear more about his journey in this episode. Needless to say, Tony is well placed to discuss the state of the virtual event tech world.
It’s interesting to note that for Kula and his company, event planners were never the main client, instead the focus was on enterprises and their HR, communications or Marketing department, for example. However, Kula notes that this changed during the pandemic and instead they were witnessing a transient client base that wasn’t with them before, nor would they be with them after the pandemic and restrictions eased. Tony talks through these different clients and why event planners were not his main audience.
The pandemic, and the easing of restrictions, have brought a lot of chat around hybrid events, of which Kula has some interesting takes. He believes in in-person, physical events where attendees meet and have those in-person experiences. He also understands collating the information and content generated during those events and creating on-demand content. However, Kula does not see the value in combining both online and offline audiences on the day of the event, for which he explains his thinking and preferences. Tony also goes on to explain the impact an economic downturn, or any real crisis, can have on a communications company, as well as the impacts the event industry, in particular in-person events, can have on sustainability, which is a topic Kula believes should be on everyone’s mind. Later in the episode you will hear the two have an interesting conversation around climate change and sustainability.
Whilst attendees are thrilled to be seeing and reconnecting colleagues, partners and others in-person at events for the first time in years, those associated with hosting the event, i.e exhibitors, sponsors will soon be looking for more than simply that feel good factor. They are going to be looking for a return on their investment (ROI), such as lead generation and both Miguel and Tony discuss this important consideration.
Kula also goes on to explain what he believes to be one of the main differences between in-person events and virtual events; the latter relies on an attendees emotional response, whilst the former requires tech that works to fulfill the requirements of the event. Whilst people have jumped at the chance to have that emotional experience again, Kula believes that in the near future there will be a coexistence of physical and digital events, explaining what he thinks this will look like and the factors that will contribute to this development.
Neves asks Kula what he would like to change about virtual events, if he could. As noted throughout the episode, Kula feels that we are currently living in two worlds: virtual and in-person. During the pandemic people were, of course, forced to use tech more as a way to host their events, and as such Kula believes that there is a negative connotation to these types of events, which he explains, as well as his hopes for moving away from this kind of thinking.
Whilst Neves and Miguel dive into a whole host of other topics around the state of virtual event tech, you will also hear about Kula’s work to help support the citizens of Ukraine, which you can read more about here and here. Want to read Tony’s Linkedin post which was discussed at the start of the episode? You can do so here
As always, we hope that you enjoyed this episode – be sure to subscribe via your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.