Going virtual – a fresh perspective to traditional exhibitions

Curious to know what it's like to be involved in a virtual conference? Going into the second year of COVID-19, event organizers have found a way to restart conferences and exhibitions, but on much smaller scales or exclusively on digital platforms.

The recent Nitrogen + Syngas 2021 is an example of a conference being moved online. This was our first virtual conference, which meant we had to approach it in a different way. And while it wasn’t what any of us were used to, it proved that large virtual events can be successful.

When it's not possible to arrange exhibitions in the traditional way, online is the way to meet. Interest for the Nitrogen + Syngas virtual conference was high – it attracted 900 delegates. I could sense the excitement of attendees who were ‘present’, as for most of us, this was the first time in a long while that we were able to gather in an event setting.

The virtual event included a three-day, multi-streamed agenda of technical papers and presentations, an exhibition for meeting technical experts and sourcing solutions, integrated networking including live video, audio and text chat, interactive discussion groups and meetings scheduling.

Sandvik’s Tube Division took part with a virtual booth where visitors could interact and chat instantly with our representatives, find literature, participate in a prize draw and more – all from the comfort of their own home. ​

Click here to watch our conference video.

The solution

As part of the conference, I presented a webinar session on Safurex®​ - a highly corrosion-resistant tube material specially developed for the Stamicarbon urea process - together with Alex Scheerder, principal engineer at Stamicarbon.

Our presentation ‘Safurex® milestone: 1.5 million years of Safurex® HEX pipe in production’ demonstrated the benefits of a long-lasting relationship and a commitment to improving the design of urea plants through innovative developments and a pioneering attitude.

It featured the successful performance of Safurex® for high-pressure tubes and Safurex® Degree HIP products like liquid dividers. It also highlighted the benefits of combining core technical material knowledge, high quality production standards and expertise on ammonium-carbamate corrosion which provides additional process safety and higher yield to plant operators.

The result

Our digital event space was engaging, showcasing plenty of information, literature, videos and branding. It was virtually ‘manned’, so as people entered, we received pop-up notifications and could send them a message, arrange a meeting or even video chat.

There was even an interactive map that let you locate attendees in different countries, and see when they were online, which enhanced our networking capabilities. There was a great level of participation and the organizers, CRU, did a really good job.

While we all accept that face-to-face is preferable, holding the conference virtually worked well and provided opportunities to forge connections with existing and new contacts. It doesn’t hurt that we also saved on hotels and flights!

As my colleague Pernilla Ersson, Marketing Communications Project Manager at Sandvik Materials Technology, said: "Since we can´t meet live right now, I think it´s a very good option meeting like this instead of not meeting at all.”

My colleague Jari Ponsiluoma, Product Manager Heat Exchanger & Fertilizer, joined me and conveys “We hope you enjoyed ‘meeting’ our experts, learning about how we support the urea industry and taking part in our prize draw to win a pair of Swiss Peak wireless earbuds!”

Were you at the event? Let me know what you think.

In the meantime, find out more about our products here.

By Barinder Ghai, Regional Technical Marketing Manager EMEA