Insight: Issue 47 (2nd June)
Happy hump day, event profs!
In today’s news: it looks like recent UK pilot events did not cause any detectable spread of coronavirus (phew!); we’re weighing in on the ethical vaccine-passports-for-events debate; the Edinburgh International Film Festival confirms it will go ahead as a hybrid event this summer; golf-adjacent venues are thriving, apparently (can you guess why?); Google has unveiled a futuristic 3D videoconferencing booth; and a world-first hologram dining experience is reuniting loved ones over pizza (which might be the most wholesome bit of news we’ve shared to date).
No detectable COVID spread after UK pilot events
Some goods news to start us off – it looks like recent trial events in Liverpool did not cause any detectable spread of coronavirus, the city’s health chief has said.
More than 13k people attended 2 nightclub events, a music festival, and a business conference in April and May. Attendees did not need to maintain social distancing or wear face coverings – but they were encouraged to take a lateral flow test on the day of the event, and a PCR test 5 days later. Though 7 attendees did test positive for the virus 1 week after the event, it seems that they were infected after they attended (cue event profs throughout the UK letting out a collective sigh of relief).
But the best part is, scientists have also identified areas for improvement, which include: maximising ventilation, even in large indoor spaces; incentives to return PCR tests for research purposes (as not everyone did); and issuing tickets *only after* a negative test in the days running up to an event. The more we know, the better.
Judge, jury, or event planner?
As countries around the world begin to lift restrictions, and vaccine rollouts continue to gather steam, event profs are finally faced with the health-and-safety headache of planning in-person events – and, surprise surprise, it’s not going to be easy.
As event planners, we have always been concerned with the safety of our attendees when they’re in our care. This is nothing new. But, with some people still reluctant to get the vaccine, we’re now faced with a tough question: how do we create safe environments for our events, while ensuring they remain inclusive and accessible to all? As Smart Meetings points out, events are supposed to connect people and create community – and if we go down the vaccine passports route, we’ll be intentionally excluding a whole segment of the population from our events.
So, how do we navigate privacy and freedom of choice while ensuring attendee safety? Will we be putting our attendees at risk if we choose not to implement a vaccination policy? And never mind those who choose not to have the vaccine; what about those who can’t access it? How will this decision impact equality, innovation, and knowledge transfer in the long term? At this stage, it seems there are more questions than answers.
EIFF confirms hybrid event for August 2021
In cheerier news, the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) has confirmed it will go ahead this summer in hybrid form. The festival will run from 18-25 August, and will include both indoor and outdoor screenings in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland.
‘After an uncertain year, with friends and family living apart in isolation, the 74th EIFF will focus on bringing communities together again. The full programme, featuring films, Q&As and special events, will be revealed and tickets will go on sale on Wednesday 28 July, with more exciting announcements on outdoor programmes, opening and closing films made in due course.’
So that’s something to look forward to! You can find out more about the festival / sign up for updates here.
New golf-adjacent venues emerge
If you’re a keen golfer, chances are you felt pretty smug during lockdown – as gyms shut their doors, the greens became a place to interact with people safely while exercising in the great outdoors. It’s no surprise, then, that golf-adjacent venues are thriving.
Opening in spring 2023, the $500 million Omni PGA Frisco Resort will become ‘the modern home of American golf’. The development will include: a 501-room convention hotel, a destination spa with 3 pools, 12 dining outlets, 127,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor event space and, of course, two 18-hole championship golf courses. If that sounds intimidating, Dan Surette – Chief Sales Officer of Omni Hotels & Resorts – explains that the site isn’t just for the pros; it will be just as much a resource for groups of non-golfers looking for a memorable backdrop for meetings.
Oh yes, that will do nicely.
Google unveils 3D videoconferencing booths
If you’re more into gadgets than golf, get a load of this – Google has unveiled a 3D videoconferencing booth using a 65-inch light field display, together with volumetric video capture and spatial audio technology. Or, to translate that into English, the video booths will enable coworkers to chat with each other as if they were on the other side of a window, where they can be seen in life-size 3D form.
In a video released by Google a couple of weeks back, participants can be seen facing a glass screen, and the person they’re talking to appears as if they’re just on the other side of the glass – even if they’re really on the other side of the world. Participants in the demo video used phrases ‘I feel like you are here’, ‘This is wild’ and ‘That was mind-blowing’ to describe the experience – so, you know, those are pretty good endorsements.
The future is here, folks.
‘World-first hologram dining’ reunites loved ones
And last for today – if you enjoyed our hologram chat from last week, you’re in for another treat… The world’s first hologram dining experience has been created in a publicity campaign for telecoms giant, Virgin Media. The Two Hearts Pizzeria was an immersive 3D experience that enabled diners in London and Edinburgh, 400 miles apart, to enjoy a meal together as if they were sitting at the same table. The event was designed to show how Virgin can create ‘unlimited timeless human connections in a fast-changing world’ – meaningless corporate jargon aside, we think it’s pretty damn cool.
Now, tear your eyes away from that screen, and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!