November 17, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Liam Neal/Near Far Productions

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has launched its digital platform to the industry, showcasing what’s possible with what the venue is calling “connected event design” at a hybrid event attended by over 300 people last week.

“The last 18 months has been incredibly challenging,” MCEC Chief Executive Peter King told the in-person and virtual audience last Thursday.

“But we knew that we had to find new ways to connect.”

“We do have to find ways to create a high impact, authentic, broad and total connection. We’ve been looking at this in the time that we’ve been off and…looking at the ability to reinvigorate the way that we engage,” said King.

“The MCEC likes to consider itself to be a leader in this space and…we decided fairly early on that business as usual was not an option – we knew that we were going to have to do things differently when we came out of COVID and we’ve been looking at ways to connect beyond the traditional events delivery methodology.

“This is what today’s all about. This is about connected event design. The latest ideas, [an] immersive and human approach to online events, wherever you may be in the world.

“Today really is looking at what is possible out there.”

King highlighted the new permanent venue within a venue at MCEC, THE LUME, an “incredible use of our space” as a digitally immersive gallery, which will be resident for at least five years and offers a space with impressive branding opportunities for corporate groups. King also spoke of Melbourne Skyfarm, an urban farm and event space being built on the roof of an MCEC-controlled carpark nearby the venue.

As far as MCEC’s digital platform goes, it comes with dedicated digital event managers, the benefit of MCEC’s AV expertise and works in tandem with the venue’s in-person offering.

Thursday’s event included a clever cross behind-the-scenes to the virtual event control room and a panel discussing hybrid and virtual events.

Following the official proceedings, there was also an opportunity to experience the virtual networking component of the platform which allows connections between virtual and in-person delegates as well as the ability for attendees to create their own virtual rooms for a chat.