As the business world’s use of virtual- and hybrid-meeting tools grows, investment dollars and innovations are following. The last few months alone have seen news of improved user interfaces and online-networking products, interesting integrations, and new platforms moving into the U.S. market.
Here are six briefs on the business of virtual meetings:
• Hotel giant Accor is working with Microsoft to make Teams its meetings and collaboration tool for hybrid meetings across all its brands. Accor’s target is to get 100 percent of its hotels with meeting rooms up and running with Teams by 2022. Its “All Connect” concept will focus primarily on small meetings of up 50 in-person participants, though the company says there are options for larger hybrid meetings.
• Everyone has heard of Zoom and GotoWebinar, but Paris-based Livestorm hopes to be the next household name in video communications. The four-year-old company, which differentiates itself by running in a mobile or desktop browser (and thus no downloads), raised $30 million in Series B funding at the end of 2020. Livestorm says it will use the funds, in part, to move into the North American market.
• Preciate has released an enterprise version of its online socializing and teambuilding platform Preciate Social. The upgrade allows up to 300 attendees, private chats, one-click entry, new micro and macro views of the virtual room, and more. In addition, the enterprise platform is integrated with Slack, making it easier for users to create a Preciate Social space.
• In January, Hilton Hotels began the global rollout of its Hilton EventReady Hybrid Solutions program for meetings and events, which is part of its EventReady program for groups introduced last summer. Under the hybrid program, participating hotels will be required to have a minimum amount of IT bandwidth above the hotel's average-use level. In addition, Encore (formerly known as PSAV) will offer technology packages for small hybrid events at hotels with the company's Presentation Stages broadcast technology and staging equipment, including the Hilton Atlanta, Hilton Denver, Hilton Anatole, and The Beverly Hilton.
• Grip, the matchmaking tool for live events and online events, plans to expand further into the virtual-meetings market with a new $14.5 million round of funding announced in mid-February. The company’s Market Engagement Platform enables networking across virtual, hybrid, and live events to deliver better engagement across channels.
• Vok Dams, an event- and live-marketing agency, is collaborating with IBM on a virtual-event platform called the "Marketing Experience Hub." The platform will allow Vok Dams to create custom events and trade shows that integrate tools such as IBM Watson Media Live Streaming and automated subtitling of digital content depending on the needs of the event.