Microsoft is looking at keeping its events virtual even after the pandemic ends following the runaway success of its first virtual Build developer conference last year.
The tech giant was forced to cancel its signature in-person events last year instead making a rapid switch to an online only version.
The unexpected silver lining to the pivot was a massive 2,500 per cent rise in attendance which gave Microsoft pause for thought when planning its future events.
Microsoft Build saw attendance increase to 179,000 in 2020 from just 6,200 people at its in-person event in 2019. Around 250,000 people attended March’s all-virtual Microsoft Ignite, with more than half new attendees.
Bob Bejan, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of global events, said all of its summer sales conferences will be online this year, and that even when in-person meetings return they will still have a major digital component.
“In my opinion, it’s so much more interesting to say, ‘What does the new world look like?’ than, ‘How long until we get back to what we used to be in?'” he told Business Insider.
“Especially if you’re a global brand.”