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Zoom to launch virtual events platform in the summer

Video call firm says Zoom Events is the "perfect solution" for our future hybrid conferences

Zoom has announced a platform for hosting virtual events that will be available to its paid tier of customers in the summer.

The service, called 'Zoom Events', is described as a "comprehensive solution for event organisers" that offers features to ticket and monetise audiences of any size.

It will include a hub to manage and share events, registration portals, integrated networking, and an analytics dashboard to monitor and review attendance and revenues. The events can be hosted as both one-offs or as part of a series of conferences that can also be made private or posted on a public directory for others to discover.

Most of those features have come from a rebranded version of the 'OnZoom' platform, which has been in beta since October 2020. This was a service for people to adapt their in-person events, such as fitness classes or music lessons, so that they could work as virtual or hybrid ones. It included tools for monetising sessions and a marketplace to search for them.

However, OnZoom will no longer be available as a standalone service as it will be folded into Zoom Events.

"It's an exciting time to be at Zoom where the pace of innovation continues to accelerate," said Oded Gal, the firm's chief product officer. "We know that people are looking for flexibility in how they attend events in the future. The hybrid model is here to stay, and Zoom Events is a perfect solution for our customers who are looking to produce and host customer, company, and public events with an easy, yet powerful solution."

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The timing of the announcement may come as a surprise to some, given that the popularity of virtual events is almost certainly going to decline as lockdown restrictions begin to lift and companies jump on the novelty of hosting a physical event.

Google, for instance, hosted its I/O developer conference earlier in the week with people allowed to attend at its Mountain View campus. MWC 2021 is also still aiming to host 50,000 people at Barcelona's Fira Grand Via in June, despite a number of high profile companies pulling out of the event.

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