Earlier this month, we at TechQuila had an opportunity to interview Mr Madhu Nair, Director, Product Marketing at AirMeet. The majority of the interview was about AirMeeet’s growth over the pandemic and their plans for the future. We also learned what exactly an online event platform is and how it is different from online video conferencing platforms.
Interview with Madhu Nair, Director, Product Marketing, AirMeet
I was quite intrigued when I first used Airmeet, but I want to know what the whole idea behind Airmeet is?
“Airmeet’s story is the identification of the remote world as the future of modern communities and businesses. Even before the waves of COVID started, the potential and the need for a platform to host events of all sizes were identified.
Physical events bring good experience. But that also came with a lot of constraints. First, people had to travel to places to attend these events. Second, the availability of great speakers for events became a problem since they had to travel. Third, the logistics, efforts, and resources that went behind each of these live events were tremendous. All these restricted the scope of knowledge sharing across the globe. The co-founders recognized this and wanted to break this barrier and bring anyone and everyone together for networking and knowledge sharing.”
The internet is flooded with a bunch of video-meeting clients such as Zoom, Skype, and Meet. So, how is Airmeet different from them?
“Firstly, this is not a video meeting client. That is a completely different space. These are two very different categories of tools built for very different needs.
The other reason why these two are very different. On the previous era the tools were built for either 1:1 conversations or smaller groups. Many customers are trying to force-fit their 1:1 video conferencing tools to try and solve for more complex human interactions, that too at scale. But if you start increasing the number of people, the interaction capabilities and engagement points break. Airmeet solves this.
So, Airmeet is a platform that helps people come together for a much larger interaction experience. This could start from 1:1 to thousands of people with multi-track events with speakers, sponsors, attendees and organizers.
In short, Airmeet is a virtual and hybrid event and interaction platform.
Unlike the meeting solutions in the market, Airmeet gives space to host any event, from big to small, from meetups to mega conferences. As a result, our customers, in fact, get innovative with the space that our platform provides.”
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So Airmeet defines itself as an online event platform? So, what is this online event, and how is it different from people attending zoom or meet calls?
“Events are a huge part of businesses, helping them scale faster, grow more connections, and identify potential new business deals. Meanwhile, the people who attend these events share knowledge, network, and, most importantly, experience.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put an unexpected halt to this. But businesses wanted an alternative to run events still, to keep their conversations alive with their connections.
Events are hosted at both smaller and larger scales. Larger events have many nuances like multiple parallel sessions that participants attend at their will, breakout sessions to interact and network with people, booths and workshops running parallelly, and more. While the current meeting solutions have the capacity to host smaller events like meetups and webinars, they cannot scale to accommodate the grandeur of larger events. Airmeet is a platform for any events, be it small or big.”
What is the scope of the online events market in India? Is it something which we can expect to grow in the near future?
“Without doubt. This is inevitable.
As we earlier mentioned, it is not just events. This is for all kinds of interactions.
Imagine ourselves. In big Indian cities, all of us hate the traffic and travel to and fro from work. But at the same time, we also want to spend time working together. Especially in India, people are starved for a good hybrid model.
And this is just for work.
Imagine the same for interest-based communities, where they have to make time to meet outside of working hours. All this is solved if you can bring them together meaningfully.
And meaningfully does not mean a Zoom or a Teams or GMeet. That is good for small plain conversations. Airmeet takes those and elevates meetings into conversations, conversations into relationships, and events into engaging experiences. Attendees and organizers walk out of the event smiling!
The virtual events industry has experienced exponential growth over the last few years. Unfortunately, events faced a huge impact during the first wave of the pandemic, with most of the events cancelled or postponed. But thankfully, virtual event platforms came to rescue events for all kinds of industries and helped them continue achieving what they had planned for.
This shift persuaded industry professionals to believe in this new era of online event planning. People are now opting for more virtual and hybrid events than ever before, indicating that this category will continue to develop soon.”
We know that video conferencing clients recorded a massive surge over the last year due to pandemic. So, did Airmeet also witnessed some surge due to the pandemic, and if so, how did you guys handled it?
“March 2020, when the pandemic was in full swing, our free plan offered all meet-up features up to 300 attendees/events.
Airmeet was the virtual office base for hundreds of companies. We tried to support small and growing businesses to collaborate and interact without being limited by the pandemic.”
Since most of us are working from home and using video conferencing platforms for work or personal life has become a need for us. So which platform do you use?
“We use Airmeet at Airmeet.”
“Our lounge acts as our office space. When at the office, we catch up with colleagues for quick meetings and get going with our work. But, the Work From Home environment started crowding all our calendars. With Airmeet, we hop onto chat rooms with colleagues without having to block huge chunks of time, get our conversations done, and save our time to get going with our work.
To bring that feeling of belongingness, we have a virtual cafe, where teammates and friends gather to spend some time off work for quick coffee breaks.
We also use Airmeet as our 24*7 walk support lounge to support our customers.
Our product serves as an all-in-one platform for all the employees at Airmeet.”
We have seen multiple reports of Zoom having security flaws and recent events where big tech giants were even the victim of data breaches. So how do you guys pursue users’ security and privacy, considering you guys might be hosting some important meetings with a bunch of serious stuff being discussed there?
- We are ISO certified
- GDPR compliant
- The events on Airmeet are encrypted end-to-end
Do you think Airmeet could serve a significant role in shaping up the future online community in India?
“Our vision is to empower organizations to achieve effective collective progress. Being a virtual platform, it can connect people across borders and achieve their goals seamlessly.
More than a platform, Airmeet serves as space for all our customers to innovate and use Airmeet according to their needs. This flexibility of Airmeet helps organizations to continue their businesses as usual.
One of our customers, TLDC(Training Learning and Development Community), runs its innovative community events and meet-ups on Airmeet. This knowledge-sharing community expanded its scope of delivery from just within California to other parts of the world. With Airmeet, they made a major difference for many by expanding their reach to the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands for the first time.”
Airmeet just got its mobile app recently. But don’t you think it is late for releasing a mobile application when the competition already has a stronghold?
“We are the first ones to launch an app for the events platform.
But either way, we also believe in some core tenets. We want to solve human problems. And we use technology for it. This is a different way of thinking than just ticking boxes without fully addressing first principles. We are heavily investing in the mobile experience for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is a key part of our hybrid model. Mobile allows customers and organizers such expanded reach beyond being tethered to space when attending an event. It also brings online and in-person attendee experiences together. This is still an evolving space, and we are at the bleeding edge of digital event experiences.”
How does a video conferencing platform function, especially Airmeet?
“To clarify, Airmeet is not just a video conferencing platform.
Customers can host events, invite participants across the globe, run multiple parallel sessions, contextually connect participants to networks.
Airmeet also facilitates year-long engagement to keep the conversations flowing and to build relationships with their communities.”
So, what is coming next from Airmeet?
“Airmeet is on the solid path of levelling up the event experience for organizers, sponsors, participants, and the hybrid event experience. The product team is working towards bringing in real-time event and booth analytics to gauge audience engagement and overall performance. There will also be improvements around analytics to measure audience engagement.
Airmeet will also integrate with crucial platforms like MailChimp, Interprefy, Salesforce, and SugarCRM.
Hybrid experience will soon be enhanced by allowing online and offline people to interact via speed networking.
And there is much more in stock. Airmeet is gearing up to become a one of a kind hybrid events platform for the new world.”