The expo/show floor
Each exhibitor has a landing page (here’s one for extrusion specialist Clextral, for example) where attendees can learn more about the company, download product information and white papers, watch videos and (once the show opens) contact booth attendees, with options to exchange virtual business cards, chat via instant message, or set up instant or scheduled video calls with up to 14 attendees, said Calice.
"It's like having a super simple on-demand zoom room inside the platform."
The Virtual Expo Showcase will be available to attendees for an additional six months after the event, added Calice: "We're also planning to make the site available in the first week of July so people can begin to build out their profiles, although the programming doesn't open until July 13."
The education sessions
The education program is split into two components:
1) Scheduled events will be broadcast in real time on July 13, 14 and 15. Here, registered attendees will be able to tune into live presentations and panel debates (which will subsequently be made available on demand).
2) Scientific sessions have been pre-recorded, and will be available to watch on demand when the show opens on July 13. They will remain available for up to a year for attendees to watch at their convenience.
Feedback: ‘It would cost me twice that just to fly to Chicago, so I’m just happy to see what comes out of it, at this stage’
While this is the first time the show has been conducted virtually, so no one knows quite what to expect, exhibitors contacted by FoodNavigator-USA said they were happy that the organizers had made the decision to refund booth fees and move the event online fairly quickly (the decision was taken at the end of March), while most felt the price tag to participate in the Virtual Showcase of $800* (with upgrade fees of $1,700 or $2,500 for exhibitors wishing to add enhanced features) was reasonable.
As one overseas exhibitor told us, “It would cost me twice that just to fly to Chicago, so I’m just happy to see what comes out of it, at this stage.”
Similarly, being able to watch the education sessions – which attendees often say they miss due to clashes with booth meetings or competing education sessions – on demand, was also referenced as a bonus.
*Each virtual booth includes one complimentary attendee registration, plus up to five additional attendee registrations for $110 each.