San Diego, CA – bXb Online announced today the development of a global online event network, with initial support and collaboration from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), International Association of Events & Exhibitions (IAEE), and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Scheduled to launch in the Fall 2012, the network will offer aggregated live and on-demand content for the business-to-business marketplace.
“The majority of the content and community within the network will originate from face-to-face events,” said Tony Lorenz, Founder of bXb Online, a Chicago-based marketing agency focused on accelerating the power of face-to-face events through emerging hybrid event strategies. “Online events are still in the early stages of development, so as it relates to the network, we especially want input from those individuals and organizations not currently deploying an online event strategy. As an industry network, I feel the entire industry must have an opportunity to co-create it.”
“We are very excited about the opportunity to advance our industry through the network,” said Deborah Sexton, PCMA’s president and CEO at a press conference at the Virtual Edge Summit, held in conjunction with PCMA’s 2012 Annual Meeting in San Diego.
The network will start with a core industry channel or channels, most likely not more than four. “The industry channels currently being looked at include healthcare, food, technology and retail,” Lorenz told Trade Show Executive. He said the channels will offer content from a number of industry events, which could include corporate, for-profit trade shows and associations.
“We will not replicate trade shows online like has been previously done,” said Lorenz. “The network will have a clean look and feel that’s easy to use and navigate for the attendee. We will aggregate the content for all events who choose to participate.” There are a number of revenue and subscription models being discussed, but nothing has been finalized.
While the three associations have announced initial support, no definitive agreements have been reached. “We expect that to happen in the near term,” said Lorenz. “We are also in discussions with additional industry associations and expect to have more announcements in 2012.”
Chris Brown, executive vice president of conventions and business operations for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) believes that this event marketing industry-driven approach is key to the Network’s success. “A global communications platform, executed properly, could certainly have a significant impact on the events industry as we know it. By taking this approach, and also funding the scholarship, Tony is showing the kind of vision and commitment that is needed to finally realize the full potential of the marriage between live and online communities.”
Throughout 2012, bXb Online hopes to gather feedback from the industry via additional live and online forums. Face-to-Face Feedback Forums (F4) sessions will be established in Chicago, Washington, DC, New York City, San Francisco, London, Frankfurt and Barcelona. Locations and dates are currently being set. All F4 sessions will be hybrid events so interested industry leaders can participate in the physical event or online.