© GCB / Luis Bompastor

September 15 2020

Meetings made in Germany - Sustainable and holistic concepts for future events in Germany

BOCOM as a showcase for a hybrid multi-site event

The world of meetings and congresses has arrived at its "new normal" and first events have started taking place again - with strong safety and hygiene concepts as well as in compliance with the current legal regulations. Innovative and sustainable event formats and the use of digital technologies play more important roles than ever before: They have become imperative for combining event attendees' personal and virtual experiences. Ultimately, this will make participation possible for everyone. Events of the future will require sustainable holistic concepts. Fortunately, the protagonists of the meetings destination Germany are currently showing that they are both ready and equipped for facing this challenge. Meetings made in Germany will continue to provide planners with ideal conditions for future events, where access to innovative concepts and substantial networking opportunities will be central.

© GCB / Luis Bompastor

BOCOM as a successful example of an event format for the future

At "BOCOM - Experience Borderless Communication" on September 3rd, numerous protagonists of Germany’s meetings industry successfully demonstrated their readiness for future event formats – especially considering the current global pandemic – as well as their willingness to continuously drive forward these formats with innovative partners. The hybrid and multisite conference enabled attendees to experience and test new technologies and ideas on how cross-border, effective and sustainable collaboration and communication of the future look like - in an innovative, accessible and participatory way. Several hundred participants met on-site at the central conference venue in Berlin, at the hubs in Amsterdam, Essen and Vienna as well as virtually from all continents to be inspired and to discuss how we may work and communicate in the future.

© GCB / Luis Bompastor

Room for ideas instead of „business as usual“

BOCOM’s agenda was developed collaboratively with partners from the corporate, agency and science fields. The agenda put a special focus on reflecting on the past months’ experiences and discussing new solutions. Throughout the morning and afternoon sessions, BOCOM featured speakers from very different backgrounds – from the corporate world, academia, city marketing organizations and hospitality to tech specialists, event professionals, start-up entrepreneurs, sustainability experts and artists. In addition to the Conference Area, BOCOM’s Interactive Area provided all on-site and virtual participants with various opportunities for testing new formats in a Corona-compliant manner: Whether in the virtual reality workshop, experiencing virtual locations with VR glasses, during in-depth discussions in the Speaker's Corner or in the interactive engagement canvas workshop. Thanks to Remote Simultaneous Interpreting and the concept of Silent Conferencing, language barriers were of no concern at BOCOM. All live guests were equipped with headphones and a receiver to choose from different audio streams. Participants attending via the livestream also had the option of switching between German and English.

Test lab with a scientific foundation

One of BOCOM’s essential building blocks is the scientific evaluation conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO. All participants – regardless of their location, on-site or virtual – were invited to express their motives for participating in BOCOM, their expectations and needs, and especially their assessment of the different formats of the hybrid multi-site congress by means of a questionnaire. The research aims at identifying, among other things, how the multi-site setup affects participants regarding the transfer of knowledge, interaction and networking as well as how the participants experienced different formats. Another key question of the evaluation revolves around BOCOM’s ecological sustainability performance. The evaluation’s results as well as recommendations for future actions will be published within a few weeks. In the spirit of constant advancement, BOCOM’s initiators invite all guests and partners to share their experiences even beyond the research process to take new formats and experiences to the next level.

Dual focus on personal meetings and digital interconnection

Even with the changing circumstances, BOCOM was able to showcase how hybrid events can be staged successfully when innovative concepts are in place. Nonetheless, strong hygiene and security concepts as well as first-class technological infrastructure for a hybrid event’s virtual elements will be imperative. Nonetheless, this is only the beginning of novel approaches “made in Germany” through which the meetings destination Germany will provide space for both personal encounters as well as for connecting people in the future.