Forum Events & Media Group, organiser of B2B events including the eTailing Summit and Smarter Payments Summit, has successfully held its first virtual networking events – with over 550 individual meetings taking place within the security industry over the course of two days via virtual events.
With live events unable to take place for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Forum has expanded its cutting-edge proprietary software to create a new interface with live video meetings. This has allowed the company to create a virtual Forum platform, taking the events experience virtual. These events allow procurement executives to source new solutions, and give suppliers the opportunity to discover new clients – and ultimately, keep industries talking.
Forum’s first virtual events were the Total Security Summit and the Security IT Summit, which both match procurement professionals with suppliers for a series of pre-arranged meetings. The Summits attracted security and cyber security professionals from the likes of Amazon, Asprey London, Associated British Foods, BNP Paribas, Department of Work & Pensions, Essex County Council, HSBC, JP Morgan, Legal and General, London Stansted Airport, Manchester Airport Group, Matalan, Marriott International, National Trust, NatWest Markets, Pret A Manger, Royal Mail, Sodexo, Tesco Mobile, United International Pictures, ViacomCBS and many more.
In addition to the virtual meetings, delegates had the opportunity to ‘attend’ streamed webinar sessions hosted by industry experts.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions associated with it have had a major impact on how we, as a nation, do business,” said Forum Events & Media Group Managing Director Sarah Beall. “Exhibitions are postponed, traditional conferences and networking events are on hold for the foreseeable future. But the wheels of commerce must keep turning and businesses need to connect, particularly during these unprecedented times as companies look for practical solutions to their challenges during the pandemic.
“Like many of our colleagues in the events sector, we have a goal to #GetBritainMeeting. The events industry is a £70 billion sector that employs 700,000 people and is currently on its knees, with no ‘go date’ yet from the Government about when we can host live events.
“The events industry is full of forward-thinking individuals who are more than capable of making controlled, organised events and exhibitions COVID-secure. But with no greenlight from the Government, we cannot sit back and wait. We are creative and innovative thinkers and, like many other events businesses, we have taken our events virtual.
“The success of our first virtual events has proved that business connections can still be made in an online environment. Over 550 meetings in two days shows the potential – and we’re looking forward to hearing back from our guests about the business deals that are made as a result of this event.”
Further virtual events are on the agenda at Forum, while going forward the company is also planning ‘hybrid’ events allowing delegates to choose whether they attend the events in person or via a digital option.
In addition, Forum Events & Media Group hosted two full-day conferences recently – the Hotel Designs LIVE event aimed at hoteliers, interior designers and architects; and the PA Life LIVE conference, which brought together Executive and Personal Assistants for a full day of learning. Both digital conferences also featured ‘supplier pitch’ sessions, allowing companies to present their products, services and solutions to the respective audiences. The Hotel Designs LIVE and PA Life LIVE digital conferences will return again in the autumn.