How Big Data & AI World is responding to the event industry’s biggest challenge yet
Written by James Orme Fri 23 Oct 2020
CloserStill Media’s flagship data and AI event is putting digital to the test
Like many other events in 2020, Big Data & AI World (BDAIW), one of the UK’s largest brands for data and AI professionals, is pivoting to a digital offering while Covid-19 renders face-to-face events an impossibility in the UK.
A one day summit dedicated to Finance and Banking is taking place next Tuesday (27 October). Between 09:00 and 18:00 (GMT), a programme of 9 sessions, 4 panel discussions and 1 fireside chat will cover a range of topics and challenges facing the financial services industry, featuring four speakers from DataIQ’s Top 100 Global Data & AI leaders.
Sessions include Diane Schmidt detailing London Stock Exchange Group’s data strategy, and a fireside chat on diversity in the data world, featuring Kat Holmes, Global Director of Data Governance at Travelex, Payal Jain, Chair, Women in Data, and Lily Haake, CIO at Harvey Nash. With the conference agenda complete and marketing well underway, the team at trade show giant CloserStill Media are hard at work ensuring those registered have everything they need to get the most out of their day.
Last March, Big Data & AI World was one of the last face-to-face events that went ahead before Boris Johnson introduced sweeping stay-at-home restrictions.
At that point the concept of virtual events was relatively new to the industry, BDAIW included. In the intervening months the team studied the event industry’s response to the pandemic, as many dived headfirst into nascent technologies and pasted planned events directly into the digital domain.
Talking to Techerati, Matthew Ede, event manager at Big Data & AI World, said it was important the decision to move digital wasn’t a knee jerk reaction to current circumstances but one that responded to industry demands.
Analysing its most recent shows the BDAIW team noticed an appetite for case studies and panels that spoke to the financial services industry’s data and AI challenges. Ede picked up the phone and began to explore a one-day summit dedicated to the sector.
“From speaking with key stakeholders, technology buyers, and Data/AI leaders within the finance and banking industry we learned that there was a real frustration around networking opportunities and sourcing new solutions/services for data challenges and upcoming projects,” he said, adding that in the void left by physical events, homebound data and AI leaders in the sector were struggling to keep up to date with industry trends and challenges.
Instead of its normal home of the ExCeL, next week’s summit is taking place on virtual event platform Swapcard. With events scrambling for platforms in the wake of Covid-19 and very little precedent, Ede said he held back on making a decision on technology until he attended several competitor events himself. While he said no platform could completely replicate the rich networking experience of face-to-face invents, he was impressed with the platform’s accessibility and user experience.
“We wanted to make it as easy as possible for attendees to network, learn, and discover new strategies and techniques to surmount data challenges and improve business performance. Swapcard doesn’t cut and paste events from the physical and digital world, but recreates them to suit the strengths of digital, and that was critical,” he said.
“I am hoping that everyone involved individually gets as much out of the event as possible and actively uses the various capabilities the platform has to offer. If this happens, I will be very happy as it’ll mean a big step forward for us in organising more successful virtual events.” Three more summits dedicated to Retail & E-Commerce, Healthcare & Pharmaceutical, and Government & Public Sector are planned for 2021.
Aside from making events viable for its core UK audience, another advantage to virtual events is that the London team can market to a global audience and leverage the show’s thriving franchises in Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Singapore. The agenda has also benefited from a more international flavour — almost all of the speakers in the afternoon sessions hail from the US and Mexico.
Ede says virtual events “are the way forward” in the short-term, but predicts a hybrid model combining physical and virtual event technology to emerge in the aftermath of the event industry’s experiments with digital solutions.
“Implementing technology into the events industry will help increase audience reach attendance, have a higher audience engagement, create more powerful sponsorship opportunities, improve sponsors’ ROI, provide valuable data and metrics, and provide greater flexibility. It’s a really exciting time to be working in the events industry.”
- Register free for Big Data & AI World’s Finance and Banking Summit. 27th November. 09:30-18:00 GMT.
Written by James Orme Fri 23 Oct 2020