Top Virtual Event Platforms for 2021
With the pandemic bringing travel to a standstill worldwide, many events have been forced to postpone, cancel, or go virtual. Every day, it seems, there is a new virtual platform vying for the title of “Best Virtual Speaking Platform.” We will be reviewing our top 5 virtual event platforms to consider when planning your next virtual event.
Zoom is now a household name for many. Known for its simplistic, and user-friendly layout, Zoom has been adopted by finance, education, government, and healthcare sectors for a safe alternative to an in-person meeting. Below are some of our favorite features:
- Zoom Video Webinar allows you to host online events with up to 100 interactive video participants. Plans range from 100 to 10,000 view-only attendees.
- Easy set-up and registration: Customize and brand your emails and registration forms. Flexible registration management and multiple integration options for your CRM systems ensure a smooth onboarding process
- User-friendly layout: Simple and intuitive host controls for presenters and interactive capabilities for attendees from desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and conference rooms.
- Live Streaming: Stream your events across social channels with our Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and custom service integrations.
- Full-featured host controls: Mute/unmute panelists, and promote attendees to panelists, giving them audio and video capabilities for enhanced engagement.
- Audience-Engagement Tools: Features like Chat, Q+A and polling, attendee “raise hand,” and panelist functionalities allow attendees to interact with each other and the speaker.
For most, Zoom offers all of the bells and whistles needed to host a virtual event. With included IT support, event host newcomers can plan an engaging and successful keynote event without worry.
Designed for audience interaction, the hopin virtual venue is built specifically for speaking events. Just like an in-person conference, attendees can move in and out of virtual rooms and enjoy the content and connection offerings provided. Our most valued features:
- Host public or private events: Whether you’re planning a closed sales kickoff meeting for your team or selling tickets to an open industry conference, hopin offers you a multitude of options for your event, whether your audience is 50 people or 50,000 people.
- Engage your attendees: Offer live events and hands-on sessions, invite sponsors to engage with attendees via expo booths. The HopIn platform’s features are designed to mimic the live in-person experience for optimal engagement.
- Platform customization to reflect your brand: Apply your branding and style by changing the colors of the event interior to your branded colors so your company will be recognized at a glance.
- Stage (and backstage): The hopin stage lets you broadcast your content to hundreds of thousands of people on live video – and makes it easy for speakers to prepare and share video and slideshow presentations.
Like Zoom, hopin’s virtual speaking capabilities include a live chat and plenty of interactive engagement tools. For large-scale events, this virtual event platform checks all the boxes.
Much like hopin, Brella is designed to be customized for events large or small and fosters engagement and interactions between attendees. Below are some of our favorite features:
- Multi-Livestream hosting: Host multiple event live streams directly in Brella, and gain insights on performance, attendance, and more.
- Empower sponsors & create a marketplace: Boost sponsor ROI with sponsor booths, lead generation and ads
- Downloadable content: Brella allows you to upload demos, brochures, info decks and more for attendees to view and download to ensure you get the most out of your event
- Networking & hosted video conferencing: Even if your attendees can’t shake hands, they can still talk face-to-face. Easily book meetings with relevant attendees and have a video call within the platform.
For those looking for a “match-making” experience, Brella’s artificial intelligence helps to connect relevant attendees and allows them the option to chat virtually. This defining feature is a game-changer for those looking to host a more intimate networking experience.
Airmeet’s virtual event platform centers on interactivity and keeping audiences engaged – a must for any virtual platform. With all the distractions at home, retaining participant attention is increasingly more difficult. Here’s why we love Airmeet:
- Brighten your virtual stage with interactions like: polls, Q&A’s, chats,
“raise hands” and emoji reactions
- Airmeet offers a free version. For small, public events (up to 100 attendees) Airmeet provides a free, limited option.
Airmeet’s interactivity features in addition to its versatility are optimal for those who are looking to personalize the experience for any audience of any size.
6Connex was created with the purpose of driving engagement in a secure environment for communities worldwide. For this reason, 6Connex is ideal for hosting an engaging virtual event for your team. Here are some of our favorite features:
- 6Connex guarantees you will work with their dedicated client support team to architect and launch the perfect virtual event for your business.
- Whether it’s for your marketing & sales team, HR team, virtual career fairs, or virtual conference, 6Connex has the flexibility to adapt to your needs.
- Engaging Presentations – Leverage an integrated webcast platform for presentations, demos, and more.
- Gamification – Incentivize attendees to interact throughout the environment with games and contests.
- Bring attendees together to network and collaborate via chat and social channels.
6Connex is an all-around easy platform to use and offers tons of interactive features for an entertaining and inclusive event.
6. vMix Call
vMix Call is the answer to those looking for added production features to allow easy interviewing, and highlighting, and interviewing speakers. This software is recommended for those with a production team or production experience to facilitate smooth transitions between speakers and sessions. Here’s why we like vMix Call:
- Add up to 8 guests to your vMix Production – vMix Call makes it easy to add remote guests to your vMix production. With only a web browser and webcam, your guest can connect to your live show with HD video and high-quality audio from anywhere in the world.
- vMix Call is an easy way to add guests to your live production. Simply add a new vMix Call input to vMix and share the provided website with your guest to log in. Repeat this process for as many guests as you need up to the 8 available in vMix Pro. Note this is for the Production side, not the attendee side.
- vMix Call integrated Automatic Mix Minus for every remote guest which eliminates echo and saves time. Automatic Mix Minus allows vMix Call to provide true full-duplex audio without compromises for crisp high-quality speech even under tough conditions.
- vMix supports multiple overlay channels, virtual sets, and templates which can be used to enhance your production and dazzle your viewers. Everything else you need for any live show is also included such as integrated streaming to your favorite providers and built-in recording.
Key Considerations to Beware Of:
- If your speaker is sharing slides via screen share, the chat function is non-functional.
- The control room noise is always “hot,” and can be distracting for your speaker.
While we do not recommend this software for beginners, vMix Call is a great option for those familiar with audio and video productions. Be aware that screen sharing can be troublesome since it requires a second, separate machine to display presentations.
When planning your virtual event, it is important to consider the end goal. While the obvious considerations for choosing a virtual event platform are largely audience-focused (ex: audience size capabilities and interaction tools), it is important to consider the host/speaker features as well. Often overlooked, it is necessary to confirm whether the platform you’re using matches your host or speakers’ presentation styles. For example, if you have a digital leadership speaker or a video storyteller, it is important that you choose a platform that allows HD multimedia sharing. When making a final selection, you might ask the following questions:
- Does this platform allow me to share presentation slides? (i.e. Apple Keynote, Microsoft Powerpoint, etc.)
- Does the platform stream videos in HD?
- Will this platform support Q+A and, if so, what will that look like?
- Is there a “backstage” feature in the platform? If so, how easy (or complicated) is it to transition from one speaker to the next?
When possible, it makes the most sense to select your speaker lineup before choosing a platform. It is important to consider all of your users’ needs to ensure your audience gets the most out of their virtual experience. By choosing a versatile, user-friendly platform your event is sure to be a success.
Other relevant articles: Virtual Platforms