Live and In-Person: How Events Have Shifted in 2022

August 16, 2022

Exclusively Sponsored by SmartSource

The past two years have transformed how we work, interact, and hold events. Hybrid and remote work options have taken a firm hold in the professional sphere alongside more traditional in-person work environments. In the same way, in-person events transformed into virtual ones, and while we have seen a shift back to in-person meetings, conferences, and trade shows, virtual components and novel innovations remain.

In addition to the familiar structure of trade shows, conferences, and other events, innovations we forged out of necessity during the pandemic have transformed the events landscape in 2022 in unexpected ways.

Asynchronous options are as simple as recorded webinars made available to those who can’t attend due to time zone or other constraints or as mind-bending as metaverse experiences. The metaverse is a concept in which an online space becomes a proxy for physical reality, allowing people to see and interact with each other without being in the same physical area. The possibilities for metaverse events are endless and range from allowing virtual visits to museums at odd hours to holding a live concert held in a purely virtual space.

Digital assets such as QR passes, smartphone tickets, or digitized event materials made touchless attendances easier. And more novel creations like non-fungible tokens (NFTs) made it easier to trade assets without exchanging physical money. Hologram projections also took a huge leap in the last two years and are being used in various exciting ways, including creating immersive experiences or 3D/360 holographic views with touch-free gesture recognition technology.

Natural Language Processing (NLP), like Azure’s technology, used by Microsoft at its conference, is growing in functionality, and the potential applications are increasing. NLP can provide real-time artificial intelligence-powered translation of speech in many languages and can be used on virtual conference platforms, for in-person conversations between event attendees, or for various online marketing and business applications. Companies like Meta, Google, Kudo, and SyncWords have developed and are refining applications for purposes as diverse as training modules, conferences, and social networking.

We can also expect a shift in “always-on” events in 2022 and beyond. Instead of events held on a specific date and time, many offer them on-demand so participants can log in and out when convenient. This form of asynchronous content is still in the early stages. Still, experts believe events will soon be run this way so as to attract wider audiences, engage a distracted generation, and cater to the flexibility people have adapted to since the pandemic.

As our digital and physical realities continue to spill into one another, the innovations – and technology – will continue to transform at staggering rates. In fact, many innovative tech solutions launched during the pandemic are being adopted by events companies keen to relaunch in-person events. By utilizing event technology, venues can host successful events that are bigger and better than ever before.


Solutions developed for hybrid or live events help event producers and business teams continue to plan and execute training sessions, conferences, and trade shows. And they can do so without the headache and overhead costs associated with upgrading their technology infrastructure and team member skills.

In short, the way we work, interact, and even play has been rethought and remade over the past few years. From virtual meetings to flex work schedules and hybrid conferences, we have adapted to a new way of interacting with one another and balancing our lives. Technology is helping us transition back to live and in-person events in 2022 while adding new dimensions to the overall event experience.

SmartSource provides increasingly vital services while staying on top of technological advancements, providing solutions ranging from complete audio visual event production to equipment rentals.

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact