Making the Most of a Virtual Event


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Nolan Johnson speaks with Alicia Balonek, senior director of tradeshows and events at IPC, about how both attendees and exhibitors can best prepare for this year’s virtual IPC APEX EXPO and breaks down some of the events you can look forward to at this year’s show.

Nolan Johnson: Hi, Alicia. IPC APEX EXPO is going to be different for 2021. Those of us who are regulars know how to get around in a physical venue and how to make the most out of being all together in one place. But this won’t be exactly the same. Could you walk us through some of the most effective strategies for making the most out of the virtual event for IPC APEX EXPO?

Alicia Balonek: Sure. I’d be glad to help out our future attendees. We’re actually working with two different platforms, but from the attendee side and the exhibitor side, it will be seamless. The first platform is the platform that we’ve been using for years: our agenda planner or online exhibit hall. Once someone registers for the event, they will automatically receive a link to register to this platform to set up their attendee profile. That is the platform they will use to connect with exhibitors and other attendees, as well as setting up their planner and their schedule for the week and which events they’ll be attending. There’s also a feature for exhibitors which allows them to upload product images, videos, presentations, press releases and company descriptions. They can select what their product categories are, and it also gives them the opportunity to schedule appointments as well with attendees and even other exhibitors, if they want to.

The most important part of both of these features is to turn on the networking capabilities so other attendees and exhibitors can connect with each other. Since there are so many variables and features with this program, we are actually in the process of creating customized videos—one specific for attendees, and one specific for exhibitors—which will be available on our website weeks before the virtual event, to show people how to use this platform and how to get the most out of it.

Johnson: That is something that, to my knowledge, is unique when it comes to doing virtual events. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody give advanced tutorials on how to use the environment.

Balonek: That’s the point (laughs)! We want to make sure that people have a successful experience with IPC APEX EXPO. The more that we can do ahead of time to help people with their experience, then that’s what we want to do to make sure that everyone comes away with everything possible on how to connect, how to find products and services that they’re looking for, and how to find any education that they need, as well.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the February 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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