When Collision, one of the biggest tech conferences in North America, announced that it was moving its entire three-day event online, the team had to get moving.
With over 450 speakers with notable names like Arianna Huffington, Shaquille O’Neal, and Margaret Atwood, and networking possibilities with hundreds of tech startups and businesses, Collision needed to deliver all the perks of being at the conference virtually.
It was a substantial undertaking to be done in just a few months.
“Collision is a software company at its core, so they had this vision to put the world’s best tech conference online,” Sunil Sharma, Collision co-host and managing director of Techstars Toronto, told Daily Hive.
Specially, they have over 50 engineers, data scientists, product owners, and designers who have building the online conference.
The Collision app just launched on June 16, offering an advanced interface and user-friendly experience for conference-goers to get in touch with other companies to effectively network.
“We’re quite optimistic that this is an exciting way to experience an online conference.”
Last year, it was hosted in the city, with over 30,000 people in attendance. The plan was for it to be hosted in Toronto again this year — then the pandemic hit.
But, Collision has every intention of bringing the conference back to Toronto in-person next year.
For Sharma, having the global conference in Toronto only puts a positive spotlight on Canada.
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“Canada has a tremendous tech scene happening. This conference is meant to boost Canada and globalize our opportunities. All eyes are on Canada, and while you’re here you discover that Toronto is amazing.”
The conference, brings together more than 170 countries, allowing them all to meet in one place.
And, what sets Collision apart is the high amount of interaction between start-ups, where people are matched based on similarities and industries. There are also CTO’s looking to hire the next engineers or tech talent to strengthen brands and companies.
Therefore, it was more important than ever, for the virtual experience to provide attendees with the essential benefits of the conference.
“It was very hard, but achievable,” Sharma said.
Web Summit, which puts on the Collision conference, already had tech employees that could build the software for the conference in-house. But for any other company that does not have a savvy tech understanding, transitioning to online would be extremely expensive and difficult due to outsourcing and lack of creative control.
While the downside to having a virtual conference, means cities take a hit with tourism and people do miss out on the in-person interaction, Sharma believes there are many benefits for being online.
Because Collision is offering an interactive online experience, attendees can find the right connections and meet people easily through the app, which provides full profiles of speakers and attendees, matching people based on profession and interests.
People can then introduce each other on the app and other social media, starting a dialogue that can be used during the conference.
“That is when it becomes incredibly powerful,” Sharma said. “If it’s just an asymmetrical experience of watching content then I don’t think virtual events will take over in-person conferences.”
And, for the self-proclaimed introvert who finds networking daunting, virtual can offer an easier alternative.
Plus, if an attendee wants to see talks back-to-back, getting to the room on time is no longer a problem.
“Some of the venues are huge, and you need to walk for kilometres to get from one room to another. Here you can do everything efficiently.”
Collision from Home
When: June 23 to 25, 2020
Tickets: Now available online
Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Collision from Home