In early 2020, preparations were in full swing for Matrix Networks’ 8th annual Tech MiXer. But all plans for an in-person event were jeopardized as COVID-19 struck. Not to be discouraged by the pandemic, they quickly transformed their approach and decided to move to a virtual venue. Since this event has proven to be a catalyst in building their brand, cancelling it was never an option. So with their head held high, they started to look for virtual event platforms in the market which would meet their requirements. What is Matrix Networks?Founded in 1984, Matrix Networks started as an IT service provider focused on installing key system PBX phone systems. Embracing the power of internet mobile computing, Matrix Networks began specializing in the installation and support of network infrastructure and WiFi for both hospitality and enterprise clients. From key systems to modern cloud communications platforms (Contact Center and Phone System) over the last five years, Matrix Networks has embraced the future. They support organizations across the USA, primarily in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. Why virtual? Matrix Networks, quick to evolve, moved their in-person trade show to a virtual trade show. Previously, it was held at the Moda Centre in Portland, hosting about 100-200 attendees and 10-15 vendors. With COVID-19, this was not a possibility. Why vFairs? vFairs was a popular choice amongst the many recommendations that Matrix Networks received. vFairs had the highest amount of features and functionalities with the most reasonable price. This is what stood out for Ryan Graven, Vice President of Matrix Networks. Moving forward with vFairs was a given choice hereafter. Finally, with the virtual event platform decided, the team at Matrix Networks started preparations. Tech MiXer VIII took place on October 8th, 2020. To view more of the event click here. The team was expecting to face some challenges as they endeavored to set up a virtual event for the first time. However, vFairs smoothed out the process for them. Tech MiXer VIII had a few objectives it wanted to accomplish. These were:building the Matrix Networks brand as a supplier and a trusted IT vendor providing the best IT solutions. positioning Matrix Networks as a thought leader through various educational sessions.allowing clients and prospects to come into a fun environment and see various vendors. highlighting Matrix Networks’ unique expertise and differentiators. The experience created by Matrix Networks and vFairs together in a virtual environment successfully achieved all the above objectives. To understand more of the event, let’s explore some of the prominent features that helped Matrix Networks stand out. ATTRACTIVE LOBBY TO WELCOME ATTENDEES An animated virtual lobby greeted the attendees. This feature was exciting for Matrix Networks as an animated lobby had the ‘wow factor’ which competitors don’t offer. A welcome video placed right in the front of the lobby introduced the event and gave a short tutorial guiding attendees through the entire venue. vFairs even set up a clean and appealing landing page. Ryan could manipulate the settings on the backend. This empowered him to make subtle adjustments as he had complete control and freedom to make changes as he pleased. EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS IN THE VIRTUAL AUDITORIUM The educational sessions conducted in the virtual auditorium received positive feedback from the attendees. Introduced three years ago, it was a popular experience in the Tech MiXer. Matrix Networks expanded from two educational sessions to seven with vFairs. These sessions, arranged throughout the day, were a mix of pre-recorded and live sessions. They bring in unique speakers who drive engagement levels for the trade show. Leveraging Zoom for the educational sessions made it extremely easy for both exhibitors and attendees. They could hop right in and attend the event. MAXIMIZING ENGAGEMENT IN THE EXHIBIT HALL The exhibit hall featured 17 exhibitors. These included: data infrastructure vendors such as CISCO and Meraki. colocation service providers such as iLand Clouds. business security providers. They focused on highlighting the services they offered to the attendees. Moreover, these exhibitor booths also served as a space to align contacts and prospects. Attendees could source the technology they required through Matrix Networks. The exhibit hall was designed to keep it close to reality, as a result making attendees feel as if they were in the real trade show because of the way it was laid out. Ryan again pointed out how competitors in the market do not offer flexibility and augmentation of booths. Exhibit booths can be completely customized as per each individual vendor requirements in vFairs. It was straightforward and easy to set up. Additionally, exhibitors could add documents and videos they wanted to share with the attendees. Also giving them the option to add these to their ‘swag bags’ and download later. With the chat button in each booth, attendees had the option of live audio, video and text chat. This feature enables attendees and exhibitors to seamlessly network among themselves. ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION WITH A LEADERBOARD A leaderboard was set up to encourage participants. This served as an incentive for them to cover maximum ground in the virtual space. Participants would earn points every time they visited an exhibit booth, or attended an educational session. They even earned points if they found a hidden item in the booths. The participant with the most points would get a chance to win a prize. This small incentive helps participants explore more of the virtual event. WHAT’S NEXT FOR MATRIX NETWORK? Tech MiXer VIII, held on vFairs boasts of the most successful attendee count. Matrix Networks measured the success of the virtual trade show by the number of registrations and attendee count. In addition to these metrics, the team measures the event’s success by tracking the number of deals that close in the six to eight months after the event. Matrix Networks was pleased with their vFairs experience. Ryan Graven expressed his satisfaction with the outcome by saying “It was unique; different from anything else out there”. Ryan recounts how even with a 13 hour difference between him and the vFairs team, they were very quick to respond. To keep the brand moving forward, Matrix Networks plans to host virtual trade shows in the future. About vFairsvFairs strives to deliver top-class virtual events for all audiences, with an intuitive platform that recreates physical events through an immersive online experience. With a range of powerful features and dedicated support for users around the world, vFairs removes the hassle from organizing, exhibiting at, and attending events such as conferences, trade shows, and career fairs. Contact the vFairs team to learn more or request a demo to see a virtual event in action.