Is the Hybrid Model the New Reality for Tech Events?


After 18 months of canceled events and conferences due to COVID, I recently had the opportunity to dip my toe (or paw, rather) back into live events at TigerGraph’s Graph + AI Summit. The conference took a hybrid, multi-city, multi-country approach, hosting attendees in person in San Francisco, New York City, China, and Singapore, as well as online via a virtual platform. 

Several of the event’s speakers presented their talks virtually due to challenges around international travel and COVID testing regulations. But by removing the barrier of physicality, TigerGraph was able to book incredible speakers such as Rita Sallam from Gartner, Dan McCreary from Optum, and Dr. Paulo Gottgtroy from Mercury NZ. 

It got me thinking: Is the hybrid model the new reality for tech events?

Now that we have the technology necessary to make it happen, we can overcome the challenges associated with strictly in-person events, like high price points, travel costs, and attracting incredible keynote speakers from around the world. This new hybrid model allows companies to open their events, content, and networking capabilities to a much broader audience.

Just as digital transformation has had a profound impact on the public relations industry (anyone remember mailing out printed press releases?) it has also transformed events. Moving forward, it will be our responsibility to continue envisioning what future hybrid events could look like. This will involve lots of risk-taking, innovation, and reimagining old ways of doing things. 

Throughout this period of transformation, companies have been testing new approaches—not simply adjusting the model—but adapting the model to the new realities of meeting people where they are today versus where they were pre-pandemic. 

TigerGraph did an outstanding job at designing sessions and activities to promote connection after so much time apart. It was nice to see tech journalists like Darryl Taft, Tony Baer, and Chris Preimesberger in person, and spend time with TigerGraph’s amazing marketing team that worked so hard putting the event together. 

We’re still coming out of the pandemic and learning how to work in a new reality. What steps are you taking to create new ways for people to network both online and in person?

Julie has more than two decades of experience launching and creating communications strategies for BtoB companies of all sizes and stages. As partner and co-owner of Offleash, Julie focuses on both business development and working with clients on high level messaging/story building, PR strategy and program execution across a wide array of technology areas, including cloud, infrastructure, marketing, Big Data, Business Intelligence and analytics, IoT, AI and Open Source. Contact Julie here.