As already reported, due to the pandemic, the 2020 FISU World Forum will be held in a digital form in Budapest between 12th and 14th August. The information technology will be provided by rentIT, a company that has been on the market since 1996. Interview with Zsolt Kiss, founder and Executive Director.
Please introduce the company and its profile briefly.
The company has been involved in event information technology (IT) since 1996. We provide the necessary IT background for various events such as conferences, different events and exhibitions. We also provide services are based on information technology. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there have been a lot of changes which our company had to adapt to. We compiled a virtual event platform that includes registration, web-conference, streaming and conference application. This could be a response to the problem that although different events are basically banned worldwide, we can still secure an experience online that is very similar to that of real events.
As regards the FISU digital forum, through the virtual exhibition function both the exhibitors and the guests can visit a complete exhibition in an interactive way which could have been built in real. Users can also watch lectures in in plenary and workshop rooms.
How is your platform different from that of Zoom and Teams?
We cannot and do not wish to compete with these platforms. They use an entirely different approach. We do not offer a simple web-conference or groupwork solution but an event platform as we are familiar with events. It is important to emphasise that our system is completely customised and can be branded. As the technology is our own development, we can be as flexible as possible when it comes to satisfying users’ needs. Our Virtual Event Platform includes an interactive stream- and web-conference and other functions also support interactivity (quiz games, chat, vote). At the virtual exhibition, users can even start a video conversation with the exhibitor, but it is only one exiting function of the many.
Is the platform easy to use?
Absolutely. We wanted to make sure that following the registration, users can easily get access to all the important functions by simply clicking on one link.
What kind of digital events that are similar to this one have you organised?
We have been involved in a number of similar projects in the past few months. We have implemented a digital forum for Vodafone, we have organised public award ceremonies, webinars and a great deal of virtual conferences. We also held a very interesting virtual public meeting where we had to provide voting services.
What is more work: organising a normal or a digital event?
To organise a digital event takes the same amount of time as a real event, Moreover, it can be even more work. Although organisers do not have to provide accommodation, meal and transfer, to create a virtual space of high quality requires a lot of work.
Are digital events the future?
Although I ma managing an IT company that offers solutions to digital challenges, I must admit that technology cannot dominate events such as forums and conferences. These events are remembered because people meet each other and share their experiences personally. Not even the best online solution can make up for the real personal experience. I believe that we can soon return to the world of real events, but at the same time digital solutions will still be an option in medium term. However, they cannot be compared to the experience of personal meetings.