Tech Show London 2023: the future of live events in the post-pandemic world
March 14, 2023
From 8th – 9th March, Tech Show London returned to the capital, bringing together business leaders, pioneers, and rising stars in the technology space. Given economic uncertainties and ongoing tech layoffs, this event provided attendees with expert insight into key business priorities for 2023, including skills shortages, diversity, and inclusion, and how to harness sophisticated technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). As we adapt to a post-pandemic world, shows such as these are slowly but surely making a comeback, but do they have the impact they once had?
The current state of play
The effectiveness of events is a topic many people aren’t afraid to share their opinion on. The debate around whether virtual events would work during the pandemic felt never-ending. In the tech world, attending and exhibiting at in-person events has traditionally been seen as a key driver of business value for vendors, especially legacy enterprises. Indeed, these events provide an opportunity for executives to network and showcase products or services, which leads to professional relationship building and, ultimately, profit for the business. This is one of the key reasons why moving everything online became such a priority – when it became necessary from 2020 onwards.
Others feel a bit differently about the situation. From a PR perspective, we’ve found that the number of journalists attending in-person events seems to be shrinking year-on-year. Is this simply due to the pandemic, or has this trend been happening gradually over time? For the most part, many would agree that lockdown restrictions had the biggest part to play in this decline, but it’s also important to recognise that we – as a society – are more digitised than ever before. If you think about it, Millennials and Gen Zs have only ever really known a world in which the internet exists. On top of this, there was an influx of Londoners that left the city during the pandemic, meaning attending anything in-person simply isn’t as convenient as it once was.
The future of live events
Looking ahead, we can expect to see a mixture of in-person and virtual events within the tech sector, but of course, it hasn’t always been this way. One study discovered that pre-pandemic, hybrid, or virtual gatherings accounted for only 18.9 percent of all events. In comparison, post-pandemic, 59.5 percent of event planners agreed they intend to hold hybrid events moving forward. Only 5.4 percent of the respondents had no intention of organising hybrid events.
Despite the mixed views on in-person events, it seems likely they are here to stay in the future. In fact, a 2022 survey found that 57 percent of respondents would rather attend an in-person version of a hybrid event than the virtual version. Additionally, 72 percent of respondents agreed they get more value out of attending an in-person hybrid event.
Technology shows such as Tech Show London are a great example of an in-person event that tailors to the needs of both attendees and exhibitors. The show is free and it gives industry experts and thought leaders an opportunity to share business trends and tech insights, which is much needed in the current economic climate. A testament to the success of the show is the information that this year’s event was estimated to host more than 12,000 tech enthusiasts and 300 exhibitors.
Given we are now three years on from the pandemic changing the world, many organisations have fully adapted to modern ways of working and living. That being said, it will still be interesting to see how enterprises navigate future business with hybrid events, given the ongoing rapid transformation of the tech industry in general.
Read more about FINN Partners’ tech sector here.