How to build the best virtual conferences in SpatialChat?

4 months ago   •   7 min read

By Atis Silis

Are you involved in the fields of public speaking, online events, entertainment, or event organizing? Then this article will be right for you. In this case study, professional online conference organizer, Oli Makhasoeva, the CEO of Konfy, will share practical insights.

In this blog:

  1. Intro: Oli Makhasoeva background
  2. Why SpatialChat
  3. How SpatialChat stands out from other Hybrid event platforms
  4. 9 virtual assets to sell to a sponsor
  5. Case-study
  6. Video interview with Oli Makhasoeva

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Oli Makhasoeva, and for almost a decade, I have been helping events run smoothly and stress-free. It started with academic conferences in 2012, where I was one of the main organizers, continued at tech conferences where I am a frequent guest, speaker, and program committee member. Currently, I reside in Seattle, USA, and am running my own company, Konfy, where I am the CEO and a co-founder.

We've served developer communities for one year already by organizing our own conferences and helping others to organize theirs, improving the best practices we've learned on our way.

While it may feel like the only reason to have a virtual conference over a physical one is that because you are forced to, I will tell you a very different story. In this case study, I will show you how we use SpatualChat and try to convince you that virtual conferences allow for a better experience and deeper relationships for attendees, and therefore significantly more value over time.

Please, share your story of using SpatialChat.

Around June 2020, I was looking for solutions for virtual events and visited one of the conferences that used SpatialChat. I instantly fell in love, and SpatialChat was very new but looked promising. Shortly, I've connected with SpatialChat's support and signed up for our Haskell.Love conference in August. It was our first event on the platform, and, vainly worried about the possible issues, we only ran an after-party on it. Fortunately, it worked like a charm, engaged our community of 2000+ attendees.

Since then, we have been running all networking and expo sessions in SpatialChat. Our largest event had 5000+ participants. Again, no issues on the platform.

Recently, SpatialChat released the Stage feature (which allows 1000 attendees in the room), and now we can start to move all our and clients' conferences and meetups to SpatialChat entirely.

What challenges does SpatialChat cover for your organization?

At the beginning of 2020, virtual events were nothing new. However, they certainly grew up in popularity due to COVID-19 restrictions. When COVID-19 swept through the world and countries began to implement gathering restrictions, the conference universe came to a complete halt.

Unfortunately, live events had to cancel in mass, and I dropped 17 conference trips. I was incredibly disappointed and knew that the only place to go was virtual. So I decided to organize my own conference online.

But what does going online look like? Twitch, Zoom, Facebook Live numbers skyrocketed, everyone started using them, but they were missing the essential, in my opinion, part of the conference - networking. I also quickly realized the real struggle to monetize my events, and especially the struggle of how to make them sponsor-friendly. As a developer advocate and a conference organizer, these are challenges that I faced and where SpatialChat came in handy.

What made our solution stand out over others that you researched?

What did we use to judge what makes the best virtual conference software? We used three crucial considerations:
1. A solution that recreates a well-known arrangement for a conference.
We want to be able to map the physical structure of the conference into the virtual one. That includes having a concept of attendees or people "attending" the conference. What does it mean to attend a conference? It means being in the same space. It is a crucial functionality. We want our attendees to have an option to attend the main stage (speakers and sessions), an opportunity to visit sponsor booths, demos, Q&As without searching for a link to the right Zoom call all the time.
2. A solution that supports a high level of collaboration, especially hallway track.
At Konfy, we deeply care about our people. Hence, the domain konfy.care. Many people will say the best thing about a conference is spontaneous or serendipitous meetings and connections. As a conference rat myself, I agree with them, care about it a lot, and would like to broadcast to everyone - the hidden jam of all events is the hallway track.

But what exactly is a hallway track? The hallways in the event venue are filled with people moving between formal talks or having lunch, and they naturally start mixing and mingling with each other. This usually leads to some fascinating unscheduled conversations. These informal discussions form the so-called "hallway track." We are obliged to replicate it online.

3. A solution that goes above and beyond an offline conference.
I'll be honest with you: financial support from sponsors is the lifeblood of my business. So I want to use the benefits of going virtual to fuel a more immense opportunity. Instead of forcing our sponsors to passively waiting at booths for leads (like many do at physical events), I want my virtual sponsors to be put in front of thousands and thousands of members of their target audience. I want attendees to have a chance to engage with the brand in a way that they normally wouldn't.

Blog post - 9 Virtual Assets to Sell to a Sponsor

For example, if the sponsor has a demo session at their booth, how do you let the attendees know that it's coming at an offline conference? Depending on your set up you can use displays to promote the demo or announce it from stages. In a virtual space, you can broadcast it across the space to ensure everyone is aware of it.

Another aspect that I keep in mind is the data. Virtual sponsors should have access to more robust post-conference data reports to help evaluate how successful the event was for them: who attended their sessions, when they dropped out, get demographics information, etc.

We broke down the best features, pricing, and support policies for 50+ companies. Then, after whittling down the list of established and rising platforms further, what emerged was SpatialChat. The functionality of which is second-to-none among online conference platforms.

I want to use a moment and say a big thank you to the CEO of SpatialChat. Almas, without your attention to our company and support, we couldn't have done what we've achieved. I hope to continue seeing how SpatialChat revolutionizes the world and help event organizers to have the best conferences online.

How do you use SpatialChat?

Case 1. Sponsor booth
A fantastic virtual booth begins with eye-catching, striking decor. We help our sponsors create backgrounds that fit our event and audience, generating interest in what attendees can expect.

Based on the sponsorship level, there can be different layouts: one sponsor per room or many sponsors per room.

Case 2. Workshops/Demos/AMAs/Hiring sessions

This image illustrates how you can run a hands-on session in your space.

The ultimate feature is that attendees can step on the line of code to show where something is not clear.

The hiring process is made easy using SpatialChat. You can have your follow-up emails ready and send them as soon as you've acquired the contact details. Plus, there is no travel time involved, meaning your prospects have more time available for the next steps.

Case 3. Q&As
Can attendees see other members near them, members like them, or members who care about the same topics?

Case 4. Party

Conclusion:

The difference between virtual events and in-person ones is only that they're hosted over the internet rather than in a physical venue. They are very similar - still, people show up at a scheduled time, listen to speakers, watch entertainers, network with each other… All the regular, in-person event details, except online. And SpatialChat solution is stable and proven. Typically, you don't want your virtual conference to be one of the first ones ever produced on a brand new virtual conference platform. Events are tricky to get right, and it's your reputation on the line.

What new features should we develop in SpatialChat?

Good to have!
- Engagement features (polling tools, virtual hand-raising, Q&A tools, survey tools) - In-app conference registration - Active speaker view - Private chat messaging- Push notifications - Search by bio - Virtual handouts / File sharing capabilities.

Great to have!
- Virtual whiteboards / Screen drawing tool - Event recording - SSO

Amazing to have!
- Lead generation (allow sponsors to get all info about the attendees they spoke to for a minimum of 1 min, for instance)
- Real-time event data and analytics (who is the most active user? how big are chatting groups? etc.)
- AI features - notify relevant people about each other based on the topic they discuss, their connection information, or their bio.


Thank You

Oli, thank you so much for sharing your personal experience and story at SpatialChat. It is an excellent sample for event agencies around the globe on how to use and adapter SpatialChat for their successful hybrid events.

We are always so pleased to receive stories and hear about your experience at SpatialChat. If you have agreed for us to use your story we will be in touch with you before any part of your story is published.

SpatialChat

SpatialChat is a virtual space that brings the best break-out & networking experience for online events & teams of any size. We make it very easy for you to break out with people across and quickly move between different rooms. Customize your space, set the mood, and create an unforgettable event for your guests. You will love it. People have been using SpatialChat for Virtual conferences, Virtual international congresses, Virtual workspace, Online events, Online webinars, Online learning & education, and more...


Sincerely,
Atis Silis,
Demand generation manager @ SpatialChat
atis@spatial.chat  <- Drom me a message, and let's share your case study

To learn more about us:

👉  How we launched SpatialChat a year ago: a story behind
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