I’m Stefanie Palomino, the proud co-founder of red lab, an innovative agency in Berlin specialized in creating high impact digital events. This is the start of a series where I’ll share the tools I love most and that I use frequently when designing digital events for my clients.
For this first post, our team recently interviewed Almas Abulkhairov, the CEO of SpatialChat, which we regularly use with our clients here at red lab. Our team spoke to Almas about one of our shared passions—tools, tips, and trends for making digital events special—in this case, spatial. Here’s a summary of our dynamic conversation.
Hi Almas! As you know, we work with brands around the world to make their digital events more impactful, exciting, and futuristic. As the co-founder of red lab and a fan of helpful tools for large groups with a purpose, I love using SpatialChat. So, thanks for meeting with us today, and for your awesome work. Could you start by telling people where you’re based?
Yes! Hi Stefanie, great to be with you. We have our headquarters in Cyprus, where I’m based, but we have team members based in seven countries around the world.
And why might a team want to use SpatialChat? What do you all do?
SpatialChat is a video chat for your online event of any size. We bring casual meetings and networking experiences for your online conference, webinar, corporate event, all-hands-on-deck workshops, and summits, as well as online parties. I’ll explain later in our conversation why it’s better than Zoom for these purposes.
Great. And what drove you to create this company, on a personal level?
At a certain point, as co-founders of a company, we moved apart. It hadn’t always been this way; we missed the contact. So, we built out the solution we ourselves needed.
Amazing. Okay, so of all the events companies and organizations have hosted using SpatialChat, what was the most outstanding one?
The one that comes to mind was really big and special. 40,000 people in the data science gathered, and 25,000 joined SpatialChat. It was a huge event. It felt like a big summit but online. It was really magical to see something that we normally feel only in real life happening digitally.
Since you’ve seen so many events yourself, do you have any tips for creating a great digital event?
Yes! Rehearse the event in advance. Send everyone manuals with best practices. Essentially, if it’s not Zoom, you need to send a one-pager on how to use the software. Always have a host, someone moderating. I’ll also say that it’s especially important to know in advance and prepare well if there is some disability on the team. You always want everything to be accessible, so no one is left out of the conversation. Expect diversity and ask participants for their needs in advance.
Is there an upcoming feature that those of us who use SpatialChat should be excited about?
We’re actually working on a transcription feature for the deaf community. Also, throughout the summer, we’re increasing stage capacity to 20,000 people. So any number of people will be able to join. That’s exciting.
When you yourself look into the development of the next five years, what are the big trends for events?
Broadly speaking, events are going to continue to be hybrid, meaning the inclusion of online and offline attendees. Zoom helped communication to commodify, so that’s great. With increased adoption of 5G and the advent WiFi 6 (already supported by iPhone 11 and more), the on-screen quality will approve.
What do you think the pandemic did for communication?
I strongly believe that we were always moving forward to the virtualization of communication. The pandemic served as a catalyst.
A lot of people are still using Zoom for events. Why switch to SpatialChat?
Zoom is great for one-on-one. I can focus on you, or I can split the screens equally. But when a lot of people join the call, 100 or even 50, it becomes not great. Only one person can speak. Well, technically, everyone can speak. But it’s not professional. So, everyone has to stop and wait to speak, and sometimes it gets awkward if two people speak at once. In Spatial, people can easily break off and have side talk without disturbing the main event. It’s a many-to-many type communication.
What drives you currently to do this work?
I believe communication should be affordable and accessible. That’s one of my mantras and core beliefs, and I think we’re continuing with that tradition with SpacialChat.
What about 3D communication platforms? Does that idea excite you?
Absolutely. 3D requires high processing power. Generally, it’s younger people who are open to using it. But the average session currently is about 50 minutes. Otherwise, people get dizzy. It’s a work in progress when it comes to many-to-many, or even one-to-one, communication.
Who uses SpatialChat?
We have hundreds of Fortune 500 companies using SpatialChat currently. They like the audio breakout rooms, because they help team members to build trust. Networking events work really well with us. They like to look for new opportunities. The 2-3 clusters, 12-15 people on average, works well for building trust, and facilitating new opportunity exchange.
Academia has also used SpatialChat quite often. UPenn, Harvard language learning classes, and many more. They like that the participating students can breakout into different rooms on their own in groups. Poster sessions work especially well, where students or scientific employees share their work or specific findings.
Any type of event segment that organizers should consider if using SpatialChat?
Definitely have a Q&A if you’re using SpatialChat. Have a speaker, then a Q&A. It works very well, and I’ve seen it time and time again.
Okay. Let’s zoom out, no pun intended. If you could wish for something, what would it be?
Faster adoption of the vaccine.
Thank you, Almas! I’ll keep being a fan.
Thank you, Stefanie and red lab team!