Tech giant Cisco plans to buy Socio Labs, the developers of the Socio event management platform, underscoring how attractive the event tech sector is becoming as a business opportunity.
The acquisition is part of Cisco's strategy to flesh out its event tech offering, which already includes Webex, its flagship event industry-focused product, and Slido, the question-and-answer and polling platform acquired earlier this month.
Cisco's announcement this week covered the company's view that "hybrid events require a fundamentally different product" and that Socio’s event management platform would bring powerful end-to-end technology to Cisco's existing Webex platform. There is also a clear strategy to follow with details on how acquiring Socio and Slido, acquired by Cisco earlier this month, allows Cisco to offer what it considers to be the "most robust technology stack to support the future of events."
In its own version of the announcement, Socio shares that, through these acquisitions, Cisco is looking to create what it claims will be "the world’s first completely end-to-end hybrid event and meeting technology suite." While this claim may be disputed by other event tech vendors, Cisco's promise of a solution that "will allow event organizers to manage virtual, in-person, and hybrid events and meetings with a unified tech stack from one vendor" is certain to appeal to planners.
Cisco’s vision for the future of events is hybrid, which inherently means more complex. This is certainly a sentiment echoed by the respondents to EventMB research recently published in State of the Industry Survey: First Quarter 2021, with 69 percent disclosing that their events going forward will be hybrid. With the sheer complexity of hybrid events clearly being a pitfall, planners are sure to welcome tools that can simplify the process, provided Cisco can live up to its promise to "provide a robust and modern event technology platform" that "[makes] it significantly easier for event organizers to host hybrid events." The company also shared that the Socio platform will continue to be available as a standalone product.