Impetus Digital, a Toronto-based company serving life science clients around the world, has officially launched their long-anticipated virtual event platform: InSite Event™. To learn more about the topic, we conducted an interview with Natalie Yeadon, Co-Founder and CEO Impetus Digital.
1. Can you tell us more about the InSite Event™ platform?
InSite Event™ is an all-in-one, fully-serviced, immersive virtual event platform that is specifically designed for life science companies. It is made to replicate and even augment features of in-person events. It is ideal for large events such as medical conferences and congresses, medical education, hackathons, and internal corporate events. Its goal is to make attendees feel connected, sponsors to garner broader audiences and interest, and organizers to blissfully enjoy the creation experience without any hitches or hiccups.
Along with several new features such as networking, exhibitor, and poster halls, it builds on Impetus Digital’s 13 years of experience with virtual meetings and our large toolbox of asynchronous and synchronous collaboration tools.
Event organizers are paired up with a team of strategic and digital experts that help create a completely customized experience. Everything from the branding, portal layout, and number of stages to the types of tools, avatars, games, and real-time engagement activities can be customized. By having everything in one place, there is no need to coordinate with multiple vendors.
2. What are the benefits of virtual events?
Compared to in-person events, virtual events come with numerous benefits for organizers, attendees, and the environment. These include substantial time and cost savings by eliminating the need for a physical venue and travel. By reducing costs for sponsors and organizers, their profit margins are positively impacted.
Virtual events are also much more convenient for attendees and speakers, especially busy healthcare providers who may be unable to take time off work and travel to attend an in-person event. Likewise, virtual events allow for more reach, diversity, and inclusion. Instead of hosting regional or national events, virtual events can draw international crowds by eliminating time zone and language barriers through on-demand content and automatic translation/expert interpretation services, respectively.
In many ways, virtual events are also more flexible and versatile, allowing participants to attend all sessions of interest rather than having to choose between parallel presentations. Sponsors and organizers can broaden their target audiences through live-streaming features, as well as punctuate their messaging for longer durations of time by leveraging ongoing participant forums and providing the attendees with virtual access to meeting recordings and collateral materials.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, a major benefit is the reduced environmental footprint associated with virtual events. In-person conferences come with huge carbon footprints from flights and land transportation, not to mention food, drinks, printed materials, the venue, AV equipment, and accommodation. As companies are trying to reduce their carbon footprint–many making promises of reaching carbon-neutrality or even carbon-negativity–the way they conduct meetings and events has to be incorporated into those calculations.
3. Was InSite Event™ found as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The short answer to this is ‘no,’ as the idea of using our existing virtual asynchronous and synchronous collaboration and communication tools to develop a new product for larger events was already underway. However, just like with many other digital technologies, the COVID-19 pandemic definitely accelerated things. It created an urgent need for pharmaceutical companies to quickly “virtualize” traditional events and meetings such as sales meetings and “plan of action” brand rollouts to regional, national, and international teams and affiliates in a timely and engaging fashion. It quickly became clear that there was a need for a life science-specific, comprehensive virtual event platform that does not require coordination between multiple vendors.
4. Who can use InSite Event™?
InSite Event™ can be used by event organizers, life science companies (pharmaceutical, medical device, biotech), patient and medical associations, payer organizations, government organizations, and healthcare institutions. Impetus specializes in life science events and is able to guide organizers to make sure that events are both compliant and engaging. We work with event organizers within pharmaceutical companies and with consultants, agencies, and companies who have AV or on-site production capabilities who are looking to provide their clients with a viable, Pharma-compliant platform to virtualize aspects of their events.
5. What are the main features of InSite Event™?
Some of the key features and tools of InSite Event™ include live and on-demand presentations delivered on parallel stages, which the participants can easily move between. The platform also features breakout sessions and workshops, discussion forums and chats, asynchronous and synchronous networking, poster sessions, exhibitor halls/sponsor booths, quizzes, polls, ranking/rating exercises, competitions, games, and social/wellness events. Impetus can add 3D renderings and immersive designs, as well as customized colors, logos, and more.
All aspects of the platform are created, designed, orchestrated, and produced by Impetus Digital and are completely customizable. Impetus’ professional services team takes care of every detail so that there are no technological snafus and each participant’s experience is a blissful one.
6. How does InSite Event™ differ from its competitors?
InSite Event™ is set apart from other virtual event solutions by five main things. First, the fact that it caters specifically to life science companies. We have a clear and definitive knowledge of all Pharma-based compliance, regulatory, and security requirements, especially as it relates to data privacy and adverse event reporting.
Second, our large variety of asynchronous and synchronous tools for participant engagement before, during, and after the events, all of which are available on the same platform. As a result, multiple software portals are not required and there is an ease of use and simplicity not found anywhere else.
Third, there is an emphasis on continued participant engagement not just during, but also before and after events. Impetus believes in continuous, sustained, and authentic relationship and partnership development, which requires a series of ongoing synchronous and asynchronous touchpoints. In previous surveys, only 25% of HCPs attended virtual sponsored booths and, of those, only 50% reached out to a sponsor representative with an inquiry. In the pilot phase, Impetus’ virtual booth experience has resulted in an average of 80% attendance and 90-100% interaction with the sponsor representatives. In addition, InSite Event™ houses and facilitates networking, both asynchronous and synchronous, preplanned or on-demand, as one-on-ones or in small groups, all in one place. This reduces the amount of confusion and consequent lack of engagement among participants in networking sessions housed on a separate platform.
Fourth, the InSite Event™ platform is priced as modules so organizers can pick and choose the features they want to use for their required number of participants and sponsors and the duration of their sessions and socials. Organizers, therefore, will only have to pay for what they need and can have everything customized to exactly their specifications. There is no single “cookie-cutter” look and feel to the event experience.
Finally, InSite Event™’s claim to fame is the white-glove service and minute-by-minute support provided by the Impetus Digital team before, during, and after the event. Impetus’ goal is to make virtual events more engaging and blissful than live events!
7. InSite Event™ enables the gamification of events. Can you elaborate on that?
Events can be gamified by awarding points for engaging with speakers, sponsors, or other attendees. Leaderboards with prizes can be set up to encourage participants to visit sponsor booths, attend sessions and workshops, network, partake in discussion forums or polls, and attend social events.
Another way to gamify events on InSite Event™ is by adding asynchronous and synchronous games such as scavenger hunts, trivia contests, and quizzes. Because of the versatile nature of the platform, there is really no limit to the way events can be gamified. Impetus’ professional services team has an arsenal of tools, games, and processes to create some of the most engaging, memorable, and fun programs on the market.
8. How has InSite Event™ been received so far by organizers and attendees?
The feedback from event organizers and participants during the pilot phase and soft launch of InSite Event™ has been overwhelmingly positive. In a recent event, 9 out of 10 participants rated the event and platform as “excellent” or “very good.”
“This was a creative, interactive, and productive format. Please keep it!”
“The event was perfect! It outperformed my expectations.”
“Impetus did a fantastic job in ensuring seamless technology, breakout sessions, and social activities”
“The platform allowed for the best virtual experience possible.”
“The platform was easy to navigate and great for collecting and reviewing pre-work, seeing agendas, and participating in exhibitor booths and games.”
9. Where do you see InSite Event™ in the next 5 years?
Undoubtedly, once social distancing and travel restrictions have been eased, in-person events will resume to some degree. However, organizers and attendees have now had a taste of the benefits that come with virtual events.
Hybrid events will become standard in the industry, and many events will remain fully virtual to allow for larger, more diverse audiences and to lower the environmental impact.
We will keep adding new features and continuously improve the platform. Five years from now, I see Site Event™ being a household name for event organizers and Pharma teams around the world.
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