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Digital Twin technology pushes the boundaries of events

Live Group’s CEO Toby Lewis explains why the technology of the digital twin is the way forward for the events industry.

The ability to simulate plans for clients’ products online is the promise of digital twins, and that’s what Lewis is excited about.

The Covid-19 pandemic is changing the way communications are run, says Lewis. “In the middle of travel disruption and health concerns, the need to deliver impactful communication for internal and external stakeholders remains critical.

Virtual events and digital twins offer all the benefits of an event – without the need to travel or meet in large groups. Create quality content, build engaging agendas and keep your audience engaged throughout.”

Live Group, now in its 45th year, has been at the forefront of this technology, either delivering a standalone virtual event, or running one alongside existing projects.

“We were an event specialist agency building event tools, where normally event tools are built by tech specialists. We were building our own which were specific for the events we were running and have a selection of digital tools which we can use.”

Keeping ahead of the curve is what Lewis is interested as well as sustainability. “We have been able to react in new and interesting ways and pushing the boundaries of digital capabilities.

“We’ve been looking at the environmental impact of events. You fly people in, there is a huge amount of temporary structure which has to be removed.” That’s where digital twin technology comes into its own, dispensing with the need to dismantle the physical footprint of a traditional event or conference – and therefore less landfill.

“We were thinking about digital twin technology before Covid-19 came along for some of our clients, including EY where they needed to engage with 5,000 of their core business people. Rather than empty out half their office each day, we did this hybrid event out of a broadcast studio.”

Not surprisingly, many in the industry have been clamouring to find out ways to not only survive but thrive in these challenging times.

“We have been completely inundated with clients and other event agencies coming to us and asking us about our digital twin,” Lewis says.

“We are adding a broadcast stream – but not really changing what would have happened at the traditional event. We are also adding a third stream – which is our platform – our hub. This allows us to open up a pre-event area where we can post on-demand videos and workshops, where delegates can comment and network before the virtual event itself.”

What is a digital twin?

It is an exact digital replica of something in the physical world, made possible thanks to Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that gather data from the physical world and send it to computers to construct and calibrate.

The concept of a digital twin has been around since 2002 when Michael Grieves at the University of Michigan first used the terminology.

Creating a digital twin allows insights into improving operations, increasing efficiency and ironing out any problems or issues that arise before the version in the real world.

Case study

Live Group organised the African Investment Summit 2020, which drew 2,000 delegates, 21 African leaders and the UK Prime Minister. As a direct result of the event, £5bn was made in deals.

Boris Johnson opened the summit, saying: “This is the first time the UK and quite so many African nations have come together for an event of this size”.

The summit had two simultaneous live-streamed sessions, VIP lunches, and a drinks reception hosted by Prince William and Kate Middleton.