Virtual and hybrid events present new opportunities for event planners and marketers, but they also bring with them a lot of terminology that may be unfamiliar to many. Here are 100 terms that you should know when planning digital events or sourcing platforms.
The recent explosion of virtual and hybrid event tech has helped the industry through one of the most challenging years it has ever faced, but it has also thrown event planners into unfamiliar territory. Sourcing virtual event platforms and hybrid technology was not the norm until 2020, and it requires at least a basic understanding of the available offerings and features.
With that in mind, here is an extensive glossary of event tech terms to help you make sense of the technology you're working with.
Virtual Events and Online Engagement
VIRTUAL TRADE SHOW
A chat function within the platform that allows attendees and exhibitors to communicate in real time.
The ability for exhibitors to offer informative and other materials for attendees to download.
Lead Generation and Sharing from Booth Interactions or Visits
The ability for exhibitors to obtain information from or about attendees who have visited their booths.
Lead Retrieval Tools
Tools that enable exhibitors to collect information from attendees that would facilitate a follow-up.
Live Demos/Attendee-to-Exhibitor Video Conferencing
The ability for exhibitors to demo products and have face-to-face interactions over video with one or more attendees.
Virtual Exhibitor Hall/Booth
A dedicated space within the virtual platform for exhibitors to showcase products and connect with attendees, typically including video meeting scheduling.
VIRTUAL EVENT PRODUCTION
The ability to limit what is shown using automatic, pre-set rules and filters. This is commonly used to filter inappropriate questions, comments and social media.
Both Live and Pre-Recorded Sessions
The ability to mix live presenters and prerecorded video segments into single sessions.
For multilingual events, attendees can access translated versions of materials, talks, and resources — often as they are being delivered — thanks to translation technology built into the app.
The ability to make multiple live streams available within the same event on the same platform simultaneously.
Moderation tools that allow designated moderators or event staff to manage and curate incoming Q&A and other audience participation elements.
The ability to create a script of any spoken presentation, talk, or lecture from within the app.
RTMPS Live Streaming
RTMP is a protocol used for live streaming that enables planners to stream content on third-party websites like Twitter and Facebook, and RTMPS adds a security layer to it.
Video on Demand Tools (Monetizable)
The ability to record event content and make it available after the fact within the platform, especially behind a paywall of some sort.
VIRTUAL EVENT ENGAGEMENT
Interactive game components, such as trivia games, scavenger hunts, networking games and quizzes, which leverage game mechanics to help you achieve event objectives. Leaderboards are often employed to encourage participation and competition.
Gamification Points Exchanged for Rewards
As an added incentive to participate, some apps feature games that allow players to track their points, and exchange them for in-game or onsite recognition and other rewards.
A competitive scoreboard showing the positions of those taking part. The most successful participant will traditionally appear at the top of the list.
Tools that allow presenters and event staff to ask audiences questions and receive answers in real time.
Q&A Tools and Features
Tools that allow attendees to ask questions that presenters or moderators can respond to in real time.
Social Media Integration (Social Wall)
A feature that allows attendees to view others' posts about the event, typically based on the use of Twitter hashtags. Comments and content posted from within the app private network may also be able to sync and feed in.
VIRTUAL EVENT SPONSORSHIP AND BRANDING
Data that reflects anything from the number of clicks to page views and impressions, which you can use to substantiate levels of engagement and exposure, and therefore ROI, to sponsors and exhibitors. This may include general statistics, like app downloads and usage, and more specific analytics, like sponsor profile visits, banner ad views, any participation in any sponsored games, polls, or events.
Static or rotating images that appear lengthwise at the top or bottom of given pages, or in between specific elements within a page, like in an exhibitor listing.
Live Stream Overlays
Images that appear in the foreground of live streams.
Featured images that typically appear on loading screens, home screens, and in profiles in the case of sponsors and exhibitors.
Typically customizable and expandable lists of navigational options that include the home screen, agenda, speakers or sponsors listings, attendee listings, etc.
Ribbons in Attendee or Speaker Lists
A way to distinguish one or more entries from the rest, typically within a listing.
Profiles for each sponsor or exhibitor, typically displaying information like their company name, description, contact information, links to any sponsored events or virtual elements, and any promos that are happening, etc.
Video Interstitial Prior to Sessions
A short video segment that appears before the beginning of a session.
Videos or Holding Slides for Breaks
A short video segment or an image that appears during breaks within sessions.
VIRTUAL EVENT MARKETING
Email Marketing Automation
The ability to automate promotional and marketing emails, typically through the creation of mailing lists that you can segment in order to send targeted communication in bulk.
The ability to track registration and marketing data, such as the number of people who clicked on a promotional email or the number of people who abandoned their cart before purchasing a ticket.
The ability to incentivize registrants to recommend the event to others, typically by offering a discount on their ticket price or exclusive access to something at the event.
Hybrid Events and Event Apps
Attendees vote anonymously during, for example, live polls, and it is not possible to track them individually.
AR Powered Scavenger Hunt
Augmented Reality (AR) refers to computer generated content such as video, sound or imagery superimposed on our real-world surroundings to give a sense of illusion or virtual reality. Via an app and our smartphone, we can access this hidden content through a marker. When used for a scavenger hunt, it becomes an interactive game component, such as trivia, scavenger hunts, quizzes, leaderboards, to encourage specific behavior and with rewards to encourage participation and competition.
An interactive game component, such as trivia games, scavenger hunts, quizzes, etc., with customizable conditions. Games like these encourage specific behavior and often include a leaderboard to encourage participation and competition.
Integrated Speaker Interactions
The ability for the virtual audience to interact in live speaker sessions and vice versa, e.g. by allowing virtual and in-person audience members to ask the speaker questions in real time.
Live Feed for Comments/Questions
The ability to link and show content on the big screen, including questions submitted by attendees in real time.
An integrated mobile app and virtual platform that facilitates multiple live components happening simultaneously in different places geographically.
Tracking Responses Back to the Individual
Some apps enable data such as feedback and polling to be tracked back to the specific user. This can be useful to analyze data more deeply, or follow up wherever appropriate.
Attendees can "vote" for the questions they would like a speaker or presenter to prioritize.
Vocal Commands for Presenters
Ability to direct the app with voice when presenting.
EVENT APP NETWORKING
AI Powered Attendee Matchmaking
The use of algorithms or AI to intelligently match people with shared interests based on information they supply, either in the registration process or on their profile.
Attendee Appointment Scheduling
Attendees, exhibitors, vendors, etc. can schedule appointments with one another through the app, either to take place on the platform or elsewhere.
Attendee-Limited Chatrooms or Video Chats
Chatrooms, forums, video chats, or other spaces that are only accessible to attendees, generally to prevent sales agents from entering the space.
Business Card Scanning
The ability to exchange details by scanning business cards with your mobile device.
Group Chat Moderation Tools
The ability for a designated moderator or event staff member to control group chat forums by, for example, muting members or removing messages, posts, or comments.
Group Messaging (in-App Group Chat)
Attendees can post messages within a designated group from within the app. Groups might be formed around specific sessions or among attendees with shared interests to boost networking.
Group or 1-on-1 Chat Within Sessions
The ability for attendees to chat within a group forum or privately with each other during a session.
Kiosk or Telepresence Module
A physical space at the physical event for video meetings with virtual attendees.
Matchmaking Based on Ticket Categories (e.g. Suppliers with buyers)
The ability for the platform to recommend networking opportunities to attendees based on what category of attendee they are, usually established during registration and based on ticket type.
Private Video Chat
The ability for attendees to connect with one another privately over video chat within the platform.
A designated digital space where attendees and other stakeholders can congregate and connect with one another.
Shared Seating Map
A digital seating chart indicating where in-person attendees are sitting and allowing virtual attendees to join localized discussions or activities.
Social Networks Data Scraping
Scraping of social networking profiles to create better app networking matches.
Virtual and In-Person Attendee Matchmaking
App- or virtual platform-facilitated networking recommendations for all audiences (e.g. chat-roulette that matches live and virtual attendees for timed conversation around a topic or theme).
EVENT APP SUPPORT
AI Powered Conversations (Intent Analysis)
Chatbots within the app can provide attendees and other users with helpful information that becomes more relevant as the event goes on, since a chatbot's AI can analyze patterns in users' search queries to get a sense of what they want to know.
Vendors who offer native apps typically take care of any issues and requirements for various devices and their corresponding app stores. This might include the provision of access keys, app builds for the different stores, and submission of those apps to those stores.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning to Personalize and Improve the User Experience
Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses algorithms to interpret new data, usually by recognizing patterns, and making predictions. One way this might help your attendees is by allowing the app to deliver more relevant results and suggestions when attendees search for things as the event goes on.
A computer program that conducts a conversation via voice or text and emulates how a human would respond to specific queries.
Database Population for FAQs
The ability to populate FAQ with a single file import.
Data Import Service Available
The ability to import data into the content management system for your app from another source, like a registration platform or CRM, or by a spreadsheet like Excel.
Dedicated Project Manager Available
The vendor gives you one point-of-contact to assist you in executing your app and app-related goals.
Log Live Support Staff
Ability to log live support staff when the chatbot cannot offer an answer.
Online Chat Support
Chat is becoming the preferred method for planners to seek support, and many vendors provide support over chat — often from right within the content management system for the app itself.
Online Documentation Available
Especially important for feature-rich platforms, FAQs and other guides can be great resources during the creation of your app.
Product Is 100% Do-It-Yourself
Many app providers offer comprehensive training and well-documented processes to support you as you create your app, allowing you to take an out-of-the-box solution and build it into something all your own.
Integrated Lead Retrieval for Both Audiences
Virtual lead retrieval integrated with the lead retrieval system for in-person booth visitors (e.g. shared database, same CMS).
Slide Show of Product Images on Sponsor/Exhibitor Profiles
Areas within sponsor and exhibitor profiles/pages specifically designed to feature products, services, promotions, etc.
A section within the app that features all the sponsors in a (usually vertical) scrollable list.
Sponsored (Timed) Splash Screens
The full-screen bespoke graphic that shows for a few seconds as an app is accessed.
Sponsored Push Notifications
Organizers can send or ‘push’ customized alerts, messages and reminders directly to the app on the user’s smartphone. Sponsored notifications may include promotional messaging or images.
Sponsored Session Highlights
Branded visual distinctions on the app that promote specific sessions and connect them to a sponsor.
Sponsored Sessions With Company Logos
The ability to add logos to session entries/pages in the app.
Virtual Goody Bag (Coupons, Offers, Giveaways)
As an incentive to use the app or a 'thank you' for registering, promotions can be packaged and accessed via the app.
Certified Data Protection and Security Compliance
App providers offer different levels of security compliance. If you operate in a protected sector, use of an event app may be discouraged or high-level encryption and compliance with certain legislation may be obligatory. In those cases, a certificate might be obtained that guarantees the safe protection of user data.
Each Client Runs in an Isolated and Secure Environment
No shared data with other events or platform clients.
GDPR Compliance Support
If you're operating in a region that requires GDPR compliance, some vendors will help you ensure that the app meets the requirements.
GDPR Compliance Tools
For events happening in a region that requires GDPR compliance, some apps feature tools that help to ensure you're meeting your privacy and security obligations.
Sign-in Using Social Media Account
Allows signing into the app using social media credentials, and may use those profiles to auto populate some information.
Single Sign on (SSO) To Events
Allows users to sign into one tool and gain access to multiple connected or related tools and features.
Single Source of Data/”Truth”
Common database/attendee management for both virtual and in-person event audiences, from which all attendee data on mobile apps, virtual platforms, etc. is populated.
Allows app users to log into the app using the same credentials they would use to access their society/association site and services.
EVENT APP CONTENT
A summary of academic research often shared within academic and scientific conferences.
The safe inclusion of sponsored programs, not mixed with scientific programs.
In-App Full-Text Search
Allows users of the app to quickly scan the entire app or specific modules using a keyword search, which can be useful for finding sessions associated with specific speakers, locations of specific exhibitors, or the profiles of other attendees.
Ability to publish medical posters.
EVENT APP TECH SPECS
Beacons allow you to send push notifications to an attendee based on their location. The beacon is a transmitter that works through low energy bluetooth technology via proximity sensing. Every iPhone and iPad can be turned into a beacon, and beacon signals can be received by both iOS and Android devices.
HTML5 & Mobile Responsive Web Apps
HTML5 allows you to create responsive web applications and support mobiles, tablets and desktop access across multiple platforms and browsers. Responsive apps allow you to build one app that users can access across all their devices and screen sizes.
HTML5 can also allow content to be stored and accessed offline. Updates are much quicker and easier than for a native app, which is particularly important if the user is updating via their 3/4G rather than WiFi.
Unlike a native app, an HTML5 app can ask for permissions as required to access data or hardware, without requiring an update or reinstallation.
Indoor navigation relies on an indoor positioning system (IPS) to locate objects or people inside a building using radio waves, magnetic fields, acoustic signals, or other sensory information collected by mobile devices and direct the user.
Integrates with Google Analytics
Allows you to set up Google Analytics to measure the traffic to various sections, profiles, and pages on your app. This can be a powerful tool for proving the visibility and general ROI of app sponsorship opportunities.
Integration with Registration System Available
Apps that integrate with registration systems often provide a more seamless experience for attendees by auto populating sections of the app with information submitted in the registration process. Integrations like this also save time, as information given during registration doesn't need to be re-entered into the app.
Native Branded App
Native apps are built for specific devices, and the content is typically stored on the device itself. iOS is the mobile operating system for Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad, while Android is the mobile operating system developed by Google. Apps for iOS devices can be found in iTunes or Apple's App Store, and Android apps are available via the Google Play store. A small contingent of your attendees will use other devices, such as Windows, and some apps accommodate them as well.
Native Vendor-Branded Container App
A container app is one that attendees download only once, but houses a variety of events within it. They will need to search for the specific event within the app.
Near field communication (NFC) is a form of wireless communication. NFC works on a very short range, of about 4 to 20 cm. An NFC tag inserted into a name-tag or wristband can be used by attendees to collect key information. For example, an attendee could use their tag to collect contact information, exhibitor brochures or record their session attendance. When integrated with an event app, this information can then be collated and organized within the app.
An app which is not publically available via the app stores.
An app that is available in the public domain, e.g. through the app stores.
QR Code Integration
A 2-dimensional 'quick response' barcode which stores data that can be accessed upon scanning. This can help with everything from onsite registration to networking to event gamification.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a form of wireless communication. An RFID tag inserted into a name-tag or wristband can be used by attendees to collect key information. For example, an attendee could use their tag to collect contact information, exhibitor brochures or record their session attendance. When integrated with an event app, this information can then be collated and organized within the app.
This allows a single app to operate across multiple platforms, operating systems and devices. The device agnostic nature of web apps is one reason planners prefer them over native apps, which require a different, separate app for each brand of device.
While some content can be downloaded and stored locally for offline access, web apps require WiFi for full functionality. However, since the app is not stored locally on a user's device, users don't have to worry about storage being too full to download it.
Web apps are also less of a privacy and security risk, as they do not require the permissions of a native app.
The ability to work offline, without the need for an internet connection. Some features (e.g. chat, alerts and updates, live polls, and Q&A) rely on WiFi, but access to session and speaker information won't be compromised if the connection fails.
Virtual and hybrid events are here to stay, so it's important that planners familiarize themselves with common event platform features and offerings. This list of 100 event tech terms will give you a solid foundation to be able to have conversations with your tech providers and source the solutions and features that will meet your event needs.