The pandemic changed the way people connect with one another in the workplace, but it also opened avenues to reimagine networking.
Hybrid events are here to stay for the near future, and possibly beyond. So experiential agency Momentum Worldwide created WhiteBox, a hybrid experience platform, to bridge the gap between IRL and virtual events.
Momentum created WhiteBox, which is powered by the agency’s virtual experience intelligence platform, Momentum VXi, during the pandemic as companies searched for ways to stay connected while apart.
WhiteBox’s features mimic a real life conference with a virtual “auditorium” where people can interact with “in real life” content, and a “penthouse,” featuring break-out rooms and a space for one-on-one meetings using video conferencing.
Other notable aspects include a bespoke creative environment to elevate branded content, easy guest registration and a personalized agenda system. The platform is designed to support events with 50 to 50,000 attendees.
“The key about WhiteBox was taking our VXi technology and building something that is easily changeable and usable for people so that it's not a multimillion dollar investment every time you build a 3D environment,” Chris Weil, chairman and CEO of Momentum Worldwide, told Campaign US.
WhiteBox has attracted brands including Johnson & Johnson and American Express, which used the platform to showcase a lineup of speakers, fireside chats and one-to-one meetings. American Express’s virtual conference also included on-demand content, live music and classes.
Momentum plans to expand WhiteBox with avatars designed for hybrid events. The feature will do a volumetric scan of a person and allow them to choose how they want to look.
“The next stage will be incorporating avatars into real life,” said Weil. “So, there's an avatar area inside the breakout where there's a cocktail party going on, and you have the ability to walk up. That's the thing that we're working on right now.”
Weil doesn’t expect conferences and networking to revert back to the way they were pre-pandemic. But he believes there will be a difference between b-to-b and b-to-c events.
“I think b-to-c will come back to life very fast as it is,” said Weil. “For b-to-b events, we've realized that we can get a lot of the same content that we would get by going there and don't have to fly anywhere. So, the secondary part of that is the networking that comes out of it. That’s what we've tried to build. You have the ability to network, not just with people that are online, but also people that are there in person.”
This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.