The events industry has found itself on the sharp end of Covid-19’s effect, with hundreds of events being canceled or postponed. With these cancellations, organizers are looking towards technology to continue to deliver value to their attendees.
At Grip, we had been preparing for this since early February and would like to share more detail on Grip Virtual.
Early March, Grip released the industry’s first virtual meeting feature on a matchmaking platform, which is allowing event organizers to provide their attendees with a seamless way to network from the comfort of their home or office.
How do Virtual Meeting Rooms work?
What makes virtual events different?
Physical events are one of the most tried and tested forms of conducting business, and have been around for decades. But, they are quite different from a virtual event, at Grip, we believe we have to take advantage of the unique capabilities of technology in the creation of virtual experiences.
Let’s compare a virtual and a live event for a moment to see what makes them so different:
Default Communication Style: 55% of communication is non-verbal, in a virtual experience, we’ll have to make sure that video is a big part of the solution to replicate that as much as possible.
Upfront Time Investment: Attending a physical event can cost thousands of dollars and several months to plan. Virtual events have a much lower upfront time (and resource) investment resulting in different behavior from attendees and sponsors participating in them.
Community Feeling: A live event is an experience; we’ll have to work double as hard on the technology side to replicate that online. It’s one of the reasons we’re especially excited about Hybrid events that combine virtual and physical experiences.
Random Encounters: For anyone regularly attending a trade show or conference, one of the great things is to bump into people you already know and catch up with them. Online, this will require specific functionality to “engineer serendipity”.
Fit into an existing workday: Due to the substantial investment of time and travel, it’s difficult to participate in a physical event and get any work done. Online experiences can be shorter and be joined instantly from anywhere. They can happen more frequently and don’t necessarily have to last the entire day!
While we’ve been planning for this since early February in the last couple of weeks Grip Virtual has seen a rapid expansion in functionality and use cases.
You can use a new filter on our Feature Overview to see the latest functionality, but we’ve highlighted some of the ones we’re most excited about below.
To find out more information about Grip Virtual, you can request a demo or get in touch directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Networking has long been considered one of the best ways for businesses and entrepreneurs to make valuable connections. In a recent Convention 2020 – The Future of Exhibitions survey, 76% of respondents cited quality of networking as a driving factor to attend networking events in 2020.
Yet, despite how beneficial networking events can be, they don’t always produce desired results. If your business isn’t seeing the level of engagement anticipated at your events, event matchmaking could be the answer.
Enabling attendees to find relevant people to network with, event matchmaking is becoming a crucial aspect of effective networking. Utilising the services of an event matchmaking solution such as Grip, can help to maximise your event’s potential.
Below, you’ll discover how Grip’s clever app can improve your event matchmaking.
The first AI powered matchmaking service
Grip’s innovative event matchmaking app is the first to be powered by artificial intelligence. It provides networking matches based upon an intricate algorithm. The more a user interacts with the app, the better and more relevant matches they’ll receive.
It’s easy for attendees to sign up to the app. An attendees profile typically gets imported straight from the registration data so it’s very easy for attendees to get started. Once a profile has been created, they can get to work networking with other attendees and exhibitors right away. The app will automatically make recommendations of relevant people each attendee may want to connect with.
The great thing about this app is that it can be used both before and during the event. It doesn’t just benefit attendees either. The event matchmaking app can also prove invaluable for VIP’s and exhibitors.
An experience which works for everyone
Ideally, you want everyone to have the best experience at your networking event. Grip’s event matchmaking app can help to keep attendees, exhibitors and VIP’s happy.
In terms of attendees, the app will recommend speakers, or suggest panel discussions they might like to attend. By offering personalised suggestions, it enhances the quality of connections. It also saves attendees important time which would otherwise be wasted on potentially irrelevant connections.
For exhibitors, they’ll be able to get a better idea of attendee behaviour patterns. They can also use the app to generate additional exposure by creating info-rich profiles. Leads will be delivered straight to them rather than the exhibitor having to actively seek out potential matches. They’ll be able to go over post-event analytics too in order to establish successful connections and where improvements could be made.
Features which drive success
The capabilities of Grip’s event matchmaking app are extensive. Its innovative features enable event organisers to achieve valuable insights into attendee engagement and behaviour. This in turn allows for better organisation and marketing of future events. They save attendees a significant amount of time, ensuring they only engage with relevant people. One on one meetings with relevant connections can also be booked through the app.
If you’re looking to ensure your next networking event delivers the right results, Grip’s event matchmaking engine can help. The above are just some of the exceptional benefits the app can deliver.
Not sure whether or not the Grip app is right for you? Why not request a demo to see exactly how it works.
With the Grip Matchmaking Solution, we collect a large amount of data about the interest and intent of professionals. At an event of a thousand people, we collect more than a million data points about the interest of professionals.
But while we use all this information to provide highly personalized recommendations of people to meet, we do not spend as much time looking at how we can use this data for insights and event “Optimization”. We’re glad to share this has changed over the last couple of months where we have started providing what we call “Opportunity Reports” to some of our clients.
The 3 Stages of More Connected Events
The reason we have waited with Insights until now is that we have always seen the journey towards a smarter and more connected event experience having 3 stages:
1. Identification – Having a unique identifier for each individual and making sure people have a unique account when interacting with recommendations and our platform in general.
2. Personalization – Providing value to the end user through personalized recommendations and an overall smooth user experience.
3. Optimization – Using the generated data through step 1 and 2 to further improve and optimize the event experience.
The current state of Event Marketing Insights
When looking at what is generally classified as “insights” has mainly been the high-level number about usage. Such as, how many people logged in, or the percentage of people that looked at an exhibitor profile. At Grip, we wouldn’t necessarily classify this information as Insights but more just as usage data.
The challenge with “Insights” however is that anything is possible and unless there is a framework for how to think about the event experience there is the risk of spending an endless amount of time creating pivot tables that don’t really provide any value for a strategic conversation.
A different way of doing Insights
Therefore, for our Insights Reports, we have adopted a clear focus for our research around 2 topics: Revenue and Network. The reason for this is because we believe that the main value of insights is to drive further Event Marketing and have therefore focused our reports completely on this goal: Providing actionable insight for future event marketing.
Revenue is either something that is at the risk of being lost through unhappy Exhibitors / Sponsors or there is a potential to grow it where there is room for more Exhibitors & Sponsors in a particular segment.
For example, an organizer of a technology event could see that the AI & IoT exhibitors are much less popular than the DevOps exhibitors. This could result in the AI/IoT exhibitors deciding not to come back or taking a smaller booth at future events. However, in the networking data we could see that there is a particular group of visitors, Business Intelligence people from Medium and Large companies, are very interested in this group. Therefore the organizer should spend more time attracting these visitors to keep this group of exhibitors happy.
Network Impact is a bit more difficult to define, but we look at it as where there is a high discrepancy between people interested in a certain group of people and the supply of this particular group.
Below is an example of the graphs that are part of our reports where you can clearly see there is a number of user groups that are much more popular than the average.
At Grip, we are blessed with some fantastic data scientists and are enthusiastic about working with more clients on our Business Insights Reports. We are just scratching the surface around how technology can drive more data-informed decisions and drive more value for your events. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to learn more about our Insights Reports.
Event networking insights that are obvious to us, are often difficult to learn for a computer that just works in zero’s and one’s.
Luckily, the Grip matchmaking engine has been able to learn some of those human subtleties completely on its own in 2017 by analyzing over 300,000 profiles and their behavior.
The Grip matchmaking engine obtained these insights with limited human intervention through real-life interactions across Grip supported events last year. Below are some of those insights.
Obvious? Maybe. But our system now knows that people that have CEO, VP or Founder in their job title are 30% more likely to be connected with by people than others.
In addition to that, people that have sales, marketing or other entry-level titles such as student or bar staff are going to have a tougher time making connections at most events while they’re actually more often power users.
However, when someone is the “Head of Marketing” or a “Sales Manager” we learned that they’re actually more likely to be connected with than the event average.
What people write on their profile and what keywords are used seems to have a significant impact on their popularity in matchmaking.
Words that significantly boost someone’s popularity include investment, investment manager, venture capital, investor, asset fund, big data, analytics, IOT, cloud computing, and startups. As one can expect, the investor related and tech buzzwords do have a significant positive impact on people’s popularity.
Unpopular words include mainly sales, finance and traditional service provider related words including sales, marketing, management consultant, open source, law firm, banks credit, services bank, credit union.
One of the most striking things that our matchmaking engine has learned in 2017 is that why someone is recommended to them can have a larger impact than who is recommended to them.
As you can see in the graph below, having a common connection or having swiped interested on a similar person can make you 3 to 4 times more likely to be interested in connecting with someone.
The Grip Matchmaking Engine also detected that working in a similar industry has little impact on “interest” shown between users, while commonalities in connections (handshakes) and swipes had a greater influence.
Quite surprisingly, profile pictures do not have an impact on people’s chances of making connections. While aesthetically a professional photograph is good to have, there does not seem to be a correlation between photos and event matchmaking success.
It really looks like people are interested in making the “right” connections – good news!
Since the matchmaking engine is self-learning it can sometimes learn from features that we don’t want it to learn from.
Gender can be one of those features that our system doesn’t learn from but could actually have an impact on who people connect with. LinkedIn has often been accused of being used in the same way as tinder by men.
Luckily, that’s not the case on Grip. Gender does not have an impact on the frequency someone’s profile was visited, nor increase chance of a connection on our platform.
As we’re ramping up for 2018, we are looking forward to continuing to apply our AI technology to learn about the event networking behaviour of professionals.
The insights above, are just a small taste of the actionable insights that attendees and meeting organisers can use to optimise event experiences and actively participate in truly “smart” events.
At Grip, we will continue to prove the value of this approach so stay tuned and if you’d like to hear more get in contact with our team.
A leading global association of tradeshow organizers and the exhibition industry has recognized Grip as one of the top event apps this year.
UFI, which comprises 725 member organizations in 85 countries worldwide, awarded Grip its 2017 ICT Technology Award in July. The Technology Award honors outstanding digital tools designed to make the next generation of exhibition professionals fit for the future, and recognizes new technologies that support the exhibition industry. The theme for this year’s Award was: “Digital Innovation – What will be our solution for the future?”.
Grip, which also won last year’s IMEXPitch, stood out from the competition with an innovative product which offers an event networking app that has established more than 60,000 connections (and counting) for thousands of professionals.
Presenting at the UFI European Conference, Co-Founder and Grip CEO Tim Groot explained that the idea for the product emerged when the organizers of Cannes Lions 2016 wanted a smoother and more engaging way for attendees to network. Grip’s solution was to design a standalone custom event app using Artificial Intelligence to power a matchmaking API (Application Programming Interface) to deliver the best networking recommendations in a fast and friendly way.
Put to the test at the 15,000-attendee event, the Cannes Lions networking app established an average of 8.4 connections per user and more than 20,000 connections over a few days, enabling hundreds of face-to-face meetings, meaningful connections, and creating a huge positive impact on the event experience.
Also presented were
According to UFI, “presentations from the finalists were of an excellent standard, making the selection of an overall winner a very challenging assignment”. However, Grip’s presentation was “clear, comprehensive and met all the requirements needed for the tool to be considered a winning solution”. Other finalists presenting to the UFI’s Digital Innovation Committee in Cologne, Germany, included Messe München GmbH, ExpoPlatform, and Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Center.
“The UFI Technology Award is one of the most prestigious technology awards in the trade show world.” says Tim Groot. “We feel honored to be chosen as this year’s winner among so many great companies, and it’s great to see that the judges share our belief that technology can vastly improve networking and deliver an improved return on investment for exhibitors by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence.”
“We are looking forward to presenting our solution at UFI’s Global Congress in Johannesburg later this year and will continue to push the boundaries of technology at trade shows.”
Grip’s win comes hot on the heels of last year’s IMEXPitch award, a competition for event tech startups to showcase themselves to event organizers and marketers from around the world. It’s run as part of IMEX America, the US’ largest annual meetings industry trade show, featuring the largest hosted buyer program in North America. Grip also won the standing-room only audience poll at IMEXPitch, and will be displaying at IMEX later this year.
UFI’s Awards recognize and reward successful result-oriented initiatives in the exhibition industry in areas ranging from digital innovation, human resources, marketing and operations and services to trade fair poster design and sustainable development. UFI represents around 50,000 exhibition industry employees globally, and works closely with its 58 national and regional association members. Over 900 international trade fairs bear the UFI approved label, a quality guarantee for visitors and exhibitors. UFI members continue to provide the international business community with a unique marketing media aimed at developing outstanding face-to-face business opportunities. More information on the UFI is available at www.ufi.org.
We are Grip, a professional networking app for events. Grip empowers professionals to achieve their networking potential. The Grip matchmaking app connects delegates, speakers, and exhibitors in a fast and simple way.