The virtual IBM Think Pop-up – IBM selects ZREALITY technology to launch a hybrid event platform in 3D and Virtual Reality
Welcome to the IBM Think Pop-up at Pariser Platz in Berlin! From the outside, the modern cube is designed to be transparent and light; inside, visitors can expect modern rooms with seating, decoration and even plants. You get the feeling right away: This is where you would like to stay a little longer. Upon arrival, visitors receive initial information at the help or media desk, while interactive displays in various activation zones provide more in-depth information on exciting technology topics. In addition, events are also held here, most recently the IBM Cloud Summit on September 23, where IT decision-makers, IT architects and developers can attend presentations, discuss live with experts and go directly into the application in demo sessions.
But isn’t that a bit difficult at the moment: events on site during COVID-19? Well, the IBM pop-up is very realistic in every detail – but it is a virtual experience, just like the Cloud Summit taking place there. From the comfort of your home office, you can “stroll” through the various rooms, look at the information you are particularly interested in, meet experts for a chat or participate in events. The virtual IBM THINK Pop-up is the “digital twin” of the real IBM THINK Pop-up, which will be on tour through various cities next year to pick up business decision-makers, tech professionals and all those interested right where they are – literally.
This also applies thematically: Technology topics that are particularly relevant in the current situation with its many upheavals, such as Cloud, AI, Quantum or Security, will be presented in virtual and, starting next year, in real pop-ups tailored to the respective needs of the visitors. The twins – virtual and real – will merge into a hybrid event form that will be groundbreaking.
Hybrid experience platform as a place for personal encounters
In the current situation with COVID-19, in which attendance meetings are omitted, almost all enterprises look for other forms. Chat, video conferencing, webinars and digital conferences are more and more becoming the new “normal”. It remains to be seen whether these meanwhile almost “classic” digital formats will always promote personal exchange in an optimal way. For IBM, however, this personal exchange has top priority – that is why IBM also finds new and unusual ways for its digital events.
With its unusual design and real-looking rooms that seem almost tangible, the virtual IBM Think virtual Pop-up offers a completely new, hybrid experience and technology platform. This makes it a perfect fit for today’s world, where people tend to go on digital (experience) journeys rather than get into a car or train to go to a meeting. However, it is less important where an event or meeting takes place. What is more important is to offer visitors and customers maximum added value, regardless of the format – be it digital, hybrid or on-site with appropriate hygiene and distance rules – throughout the entire customer journey and at the various touch points. And such added value can be achieved particularly through personal interaction with like-minded people and experts. That’s why the virtual IBM Think virtual pop-up offers the same opportunities for personal exchange as would be available at an on-site meeting: visitors can meet for meetings, book consulting sessions with IBM experts or “sit down” at the World Café for networking. The IBM Garage concept, which is all about creative, agile co-creation, is also reflected in the virtual pop-up in special sessions and webinars.
That the innovative form of virtual pop-ups as “real” space in digital form is very well received has already been shown by the experiences of the “IBM Data & AI Forum”, which took place in the pop-up at the end of July. Not only during the event, but also afterwards: For example, employees from the IBM Tech Team met with their customers and contact persons again in the virtual pop-up, instead of setting up a video call. Rooms that you like and in which you feel comfortable are a pleasure to visit again.
The customer journey is reflected not only in this tour of discovery through the pop-up, but also in the comprehensive overall experience: This experience begins with a personal, individual invitation, continues with a precisely tailored offer of content and personal interaction, and extends to the likewise personal follow-up and long-term contact. The marketing motto “spray and pray” – spreading a message as broadly as possible but with as little targeting as possible – is finally a thing of the past. Instead, what counts is personal contact with customers, coupled with expertise and guidance in these challenging times for all of us.
This approach is the continuation and further development of the IBM THINK Digital conference in May, which was held for the first time in purely digital form. In addition to a large number of keynotes and expert sessions, the participants of the event were able to gain initial experience with virtual interaction possibilities and try them out. And the virtual pop-up concept also has a very successful predecessor in the real world: In the “Think at IBM” pop-up-experience 2019 at Bikini Berlin, visitors were able to experience complex technology topics and digitization up close for weeks at a variety of events, in discussions with experts and even without being directly on site, through the broadcasts of the IBM live studio.
Virtual and real results hybrid: Outlook on the future of our meeting culture
The hybrid form of digital and real pop-ups is pioneering the way in which we will continue to exchange information with others in the future. There may not be a complete return to the classic event where all participants are on site. Rather, digital and real will continue to merge more and more in the future, and completely new, exciting room and meeting experiences will become possible based on technology. Of course, hybrid event forms also present a double challenge: the event must offer corresponding experiences for both the participants on site and the digital visitors. However, when these components are taken into account, the experience that visitors take away from such events can be twice as good.
With the innovative concept of hybrid pop-ups, IBM is thus taking a look into the future of our meeting culture and wants to strengthen the personal exchange on the topics and challenges of our time, which companies need to address more urgently than ever before. Now more than ever, decision-makers and technology experts need guidance on where the journey is headed – and this is where IBM’s expertise can help, in virtual pop-ups and beyond.
How ZREALITY technology helped making this solution come to life:
The event is powered by the ZREALITY‘s Sphere technology platform. With ZREALITY’s technology the solution works seamlessly on the Web in 3D in any browser and on any device and visitors can even immerse in the conference space live in Virtual Reality with a push of a button. All contents can be managed via the Sphere Cloud CMS and the solution is integrated with several IBM solutions for event management, analytics, IBM Watson and more. The realization time for the product was 6 months.
Contact us for a demo.