South Korea’s MICE (Meeting, Incentive trip, Convention, Exhibition) industry is working on strengthening its software (SW) capabilities. It is either going to work with outside SW companies or form its own groups in order to hold online or virtual exhibitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ecomice, which holds exhibitions or events on its own or for others, established an in-house SW development team back in May and it also registered itself as a SW company through Korea Software Industry Association this month. It is planning to set up a homepage for events and develop platforms for consultation and virtual reality (VR) exhibition.
“As events held by the government and other road shows are beginning to be held online, the government and road show hosts are requiring MICE companies to participate in biddings as a “SW company”.” said CEO Hong Hoi-jin of Ecomice. “In addition to participating in biddings as a SW company, our goal is to develop our own online virtual platform.”
The company is planning to use a virtual exhibition platform for events starting from the second half next year after developing a B2B (Business to Business) consultation platform. CEO Hong explained that the entire MICE industry is considering either strengthening its SW capabilities or introducing outside solutions.
There are also many MICE companies that are looking into using “ENGAGE platform” that KT and D’Carrick are providing to companies in South Korea. ENGAGE platform is a platform where various events can be held within around 30 virtual studios and auditoriums. It is scheduled to be used for three to four events that will be held by the government starting from next month.
“There are many limitations to offline event such as epidemics prevention and limited number of people and invitation of guests from overseas.” said CEO Kim Seok-joong of FAKE EYES that develops virtual exhibition platform. “Online events and online and offline events being held side by side have become new trends within the MICE industry, and many companies from small and medium-sized companies to major companies that have their own exhibition halls are looking into these new trends.”
This change within the MICE industry can also be seen through “Realistic Convention Contents and Services” development project that was given by the Ministry of Science and ICT and Korea Radio Promotion Association as part of “5G Contents Flagship Project”.
Around 20 consortiums made up of MICE companies and SW companies applied for a project that selects one or two companies that will look to secure necessary technologies and knowhow on online and virtual exhibition. Selected company r companies will also look to turn their outcomes from the project into assets and improve its or their business structures.
Strengthening SW capabilities is a choice that the MICE industry has to make in order to survive as offline events are beginning to be replaced with online events due to COVID-19. If a company does not have capabilities to hold an online event, it will not be able survive any longer.
There are also many obstacles that the industry has to overcome. One of them is to make its platforms as light as possible so that its online events feel like offline events as much as possible. It also needs to persuade its customers and built portfolios as online and virtual exhibitions are still unfamiliar to many people.
“Besides international meeting, convention, and exhibition, there are still many other areas where virtual platforms can be applied to.” said CEO Jang Yun-yeol of WinnersCommunications. “However, it will still take some time in order to familiarize people with a concept of virtual platform.”
“Although our members are highly interested in online and virtual exhibitions, their platforms still need more development and be more effective before they can be applied.” said Executive Director Lee Byeong-yun of Korea Exhibition Organizers Association. “Because there are many webpage-level solutions, we are in a process of finding appropriate technologies and methods.”
Staff Reporter An, Hocheon | email@example.com