Aventri debuted its Virtual Events 2.0 platform today, a major rewrite of the software the company premiered last fall. The latest version emphasizes ease of use, enhanced networking and a simplified design that requires very little customer configuration. The new version, which has been piloted by some clients, will be available to all of Aventri's customers on April 15.
Why do a complete rewrite just six months after launching the platform? There were a number of motives, explained Aventri CTO Shane Edmonds, principal among them the pace of change we've experienced in the industry. For instance, while version 1.0 was likewise developed with ease of use in mind, that was previously based on the need for clients to rapidly transfer in-person programs to virtual substitutes. That isn't so common anymore; meeting professionals know when the events they're planning will likely be digital.
"Many have a more digital-only mindset now," explained Edmonds, "so it was a matter of stripping away the things that don't really matter and simplifying the process."
Aventri is also planning for the future. "The majority of our customers are saying there will be a digital component for most of their events," he continued. "So we're trying to look forward, and innovate to address the ways that customers will put together their events. We're building our products to not have that bifurcation of in-person versus virtual; but rather, just to be able to launch an event. And wherever your audience happens to be, whether they're coming in person or they're going to attend remotely, the platform is going to handle it smoothly."
New and Improved
Among the new or improved features in Aventri Virtual Events 2.0 are the following:
• Increased attendee cap. Aventri has expanded the maximum attendance from 5,000 to 30,000, a crucial improvement as event professionals have realized just how much virtual events can expand their audience reach.
• Better networking. Version 2.0 offers a new networking suite, with matchmaking, smart recommendations and chat — all features that Aventri developed in-house. The chat is particularly flexible, allowing attendees to immediately connect via video, audio or text, either one-on-one or in a group. As clients convert their digital events to hybrid, this feature will be key in allowing all attendees to interact, whether on-site or virtually. Real-time polling, Q&As and activity feeds are also part of this suite.
• Improved exhibitor and sponsor value. Virtual booths have beefed-up interactive features, allowing exhibitors to connect face-to-face with attendees by launching live video chats with a click of the logo. Demo and lead-scoring tools are also built in, as are new interactive opportunities for sponsors.
• Powerful reporting. The data available from the virtual audience can be easily accessed and integrated into Aventri's suite of reporting tools, allowing analysis across physical and virtual audiences, as well as across all of the events in a portfolio.
"All of these capabilities need to be seamless across the event professional's audience," said Edmonds. "Let's stop talking about virtual audiences and in-person audiences; let's just focus on the best audience experience."