Sandy Hammer

Co-founder, Allseated/ exVo

Based in: Netanya, Israel

Favorite quote: “No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered.” —Winston Churchill

We are on a journey and we work with the future of technology, and adapt it for the market. We watch, we learn and we execute!

How did the pandemic impact your world and how did you change course over the last year?

The pandemic impacted all of our worlds—it was an initially shocking and difficult experience, one that none of us had ever lived through in our lifetimes. We jumped into action immediately. Rather than let the pandemic stop us in our tracks, we did what we always do—innovate. Our remote selling tools and capabilities were already in place to quickly assist our community to continue to do business without meeting in person.

MoreNot So Close! New Distancing Tool Eases Transition to F2F Meetings

Weekly webinar panels allowed our community to unite and move forward together. Meanwhile, our development team jumped into action to bring users what they needed. For example, our Physical Distancing Tool allowed users to transition back to events safely by easily designing floorplan layouts that meet distance guidelines.

We also knew that virtual events would be here to stay. Even as live events make a return, the ability to offer a virtual extension to a live event would remain an important component to event strategies going forward.

Our virtual platform, exVo is the next generation of virtual events. It gives the live event experience to virtual events. We wanted a platform that mimics the live event feeling so that attendees feel connected and involved as if they were there in person.

Now that we are all virtual veterans (willingly or unwillingly), what is the skill set meeting professionals need to master to be more effective in 2021?

Meeting professionals must embrace technology to continue to be effective. With the right options, technology should be easy and intuitive to use, making it a part of all business operations and processes. Even as live events return, tech will continue to play a large part in how we conduct business, gain leads, close sales, plan and attend events. Once embraced, meeting professionals will quickly realize how much technology has to offer them and how much more effective they will be in what they do. Not to mention, it’s the way everyone is working today. You can’t not be on board.

What are your secrets for facilitating meaningful connections in a virtual environment?

Networking can really only work if we can see each other and feel as though you are connected in the same way as you are at a live event. We designed networking in exVo using gaming technology—robots with video heads to communicate along with cool, inviting spaces to enter and feel at home. It’s a simple yet most natural way to connect and allows for hours of engagement. It may be virtual, but the network within exVo feels meaningful, natural and real.

What lessons can meeting professionals learn from Fortnite?

Fortnite is a game where people feel immersed and a part of something bigger than their living room. They love the action and experience of high-end graphics and realism. That is why we focused on creating spaces as real live spaces. It gives you familiarity and excitement. It is something people want to be part of. Games are active, virtual events should feel the same—an infinite Metaverse!

How are we all going to manage hybrid or ominichannel programs without breaking the bank?

Hybrid today will only be via mobile communicating with computers (which we can do today through Skype, Zoom all the conferencing tools—so that’s the easy part). In the next year, when augmented reality becomes the norm, it might feel we are breaking the bank at first, but who thought we would spend $1,000 on a phone, right? So, when you put on the glasses, our two worlds will become one. The parallel spaces will feel like we are all together. It’s going to be a cool experience.

The Gamification of Meeting

Imagine the intuitive navigation of a conference venue personalized with branding and content, populated by floating robots featuring the faces of your attendees and the interaction of a video game. You have just put yourself in the exVo mindset. This new, 3D platform brings the live event feel to virtual events.

It empowers attendees to wander, start conversations, enter breakout rooms, visit booths—in other words explore as they would if they were in a live space. But it also put the controls in the meeting planner’s hands to grab their attention for the keynote, share updates and open and close areas of the space. The natural networking opportunities are endless and easy.