Whether you’re trying to reach a broader audience, cut costs, raise revenue or repurpose event content, virtual events can be a great way to bring people together, while keeping overheads low. And with so many recent advances in virtual event platforms and supporting technologies – right now is the best time to bring virtual events to your organization. Here’s what you and every planner should know about virtual events and livestreaming in 2016.

Livestreams Are Getting Bigger

It’s crazy when you think about it, but it’s been nearly a decade since Netflix launched its streaming video service in 2007. The model proved so successful that a whole crop of competitors have entered the streaming game, and more and more consumers are ditching their cable subscriptions in favour of these services. And it’s a trend that hasn’t escaped the notice of event planners.

Now, we all know that event planners in the corporate sphere have been hosting virtual events for decades. But now that streaming media has become so commonplace, it’s catching on among planners of large spectator events.

The investments that these big players are putting into virtual event technology are sure to reap solid advances in the near future – and it’s only a matter of time until those advances wind up on every event planner’s wish list. But the breakthroughs in livestreaming aren’t limited to massive, spectator events.

They’re Also Getting Smaller

Today’s mobile app startups are doing to streaming video what earlier mobile apps did to blogs. (Sorry, blogs.) These apps let people “micro-stream” live video – in which they most often share personal stories (or clips of their awesome vacation) with anyone tuned into their feed. And since these apps are as much a part of social media as they are streaming apps, the audience can communicate fluidly with the broadcaster and other viewers.

Things to Consider

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when planning to incorporate these new technologies into your virtual event strategy. Some of these are nothing new: intellectual property rights must be respected; and you should keep your budget and technical know-how in mind when considering how how many streams you want to run.

If you’re interested in bringing micro-streaming apps into your virtual events (this may seem a no-brainer, but…) you need to make sure your “stream team” has a good network signal.

You’ll also want to consider your micro-streaming strategy. Do you supply a number of your onsite staff with devices that they can use to stream different parts of the event? Or do you simply provide your attendees with an event #hashtag where they can send their own streams?

By harnessing our creativity – and the abundance of technologies available – there are myriad ways we can make virtual events more beautiful, interactive and engaging.