“The pandemic has vastly changed people’s preferences and perceptions of the virtual space.” – Sumanyu Soniwal, Founder of Wiztales

Here’s the interview snippet from the interaction with Mr. Sumanyu Soniwal, Founder Wiztales

IT Voice Spokesperson: Please share some details about the growth journey of WIZ365 over 4 years.

Sumanyu Soniwal: To start, Wiztales is the name of our company and Wiz365 is our baby. We kickstarted Wiztales in 2018 with a singular product – an automated photo booth. The idea was to have people stand in front of a mirror which would automatically capture an image of the customer.

Honestly, we had no idea who to sell to or who would be interested in the product! But we decided to debut the product at Comic-Con Bangalore. Our most significant insight was that this product would thrive specifically in the Event marketing/management industry. We expanded our products beyond the photo booth from there and became a company that created “Experiential products in the Events space”, i.e, anything that creates the “Wow!” factor while these events are taking place. For example, we would create touch-based walls where consumers could experience the journey or story of the company in real-time via various coding and content pieces put together.

Coming to early 2020, before the pandemic, we had been engaging with a lot of event companies and had over 15 products in our arsenal, all catering to the physical events landscape. But we decided to further our reach by exploring “Virtual Events” which at that time had seen considerable success in the US. After a few months, we came up with Wiz365, our go-to event management product for all things virtual. We brought the excitement of physical events to the virtual world where we reduced geographical restrictions, audience capacities, and costs of hosting & managing events to mere redundancies. So fortunately or unfortunately, the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity for us, with people across the globe looking to virtual events when everything went into lockdown and people were forced to stay indoors. I think some of our earliest clients at the time were Flipkart, Amazon, and Google.

Cut to 2022, we now have two major products – Wiz365 and WizIt, which is our in-person DIY event experience app. It allows physical event organizers to create their web applications to help streamline administration (ticketing to payments), drive engagement & networking, and create rewarding & unique experiences for their viewers.

IT Voice Spokesperson: What is the vision behind Wiz365?

Sumanyu Soniwal: I think internally we had a consensus that physical events came with some major issues for both event managers and the consumers. Although the grandeur of physical events is something that cannot be replaced, with Wiz365 we have tried to solve for:

  1. Geographical Constraints: Events held in California would typically only be accessible to its residents and some others across the US who can afford the trip. Similarly, the financial and geographical restriction increases for people in other countries.
  2. Reduced Capacity: If a ballroom can host only 100 people, we obviously cannot cross that limit. But with virtual events, we can have upwards of thousands of people attending them from anywhere in the world.
  3. Low Networking opportunities: By removing the geographical and capacity restrictions we can see that networking opportunities have increased multifold for all stakeholders of virtual events.
  4. High Costs: Although grand, physical events can be quite expensive. However, with 3D modeling and replication, we at Wiztales have done our best to recreate cruises, concerts, and award-show with a similar if not the same brilliance as physical events.

IT Voice Spokesperson: What will be your strategies for growth in the coming years?

Sumanyu Soniwal: Over the last few years, with our continued exposure to the world of event management, we’ve learned that the event planners or the event organizers are the souls and the heart of any event. So Wiztales aims to become the leading event-tech company where we will create software to help events planners execute events more efficiently, be it physical, virtual, or hybrid events. We will build solutions for all three verticals like marketing plug-ins to improve administrations, collect real-time data on events, improve networking capabilities, better engagement platforms, etc. thereby allowing better turn-around time for these events.

IT Voice Spokesperson: How did the pandemic pave the way for Virtual event platforms?

Sumanyu Soniwal: The pandemic played a very crucial role for us. The pre-pandemic world was quite oblivious to the capabilities of virtual events (like streaming a physical event and making it live), mainly because it wasn’t necessary back then. But with COVID, a lot of things changed. The way people planned events changes with the awareness of this technology. For example, Flipkart’s event “Flipkart Business Hours”. Previously, this event was hosted across cities in-person, where vendors/ sellers used to gather at a physical location to understand how Flipkart works in terms of algorithms and how they can rank their products better or perform better on Flipkart. At these events, there would be a redressal zone, where they can resolve their problems with designated Flipkart employees. Hosting these events was extremely capital and time intensive with a limited capacity for participants. But for the last 3 years we were able to move this event into the virtual space which allowed some breakthroughs for Flipkart:

  1. An event that used to span over 3 months now could be conducted within an hour or two with people joining from various locations like Surat, Kashmir, Kolkata, etc, and other remote places which Flipkart probably could not have accessed before with Capital restrictions.
  2. People could join in from the comfort of their homes or wherever they could access good network connectivity.
  3. Information gathering was made much easier with live recordings.
  4. Redressals were improved with video calling and screen sharing capabilities, allowing reach to a larger audience.

A lot more companies have recognized these advantages of virtual events and even now with physical spaces opening up, some still prefer the administrative capabilities of virtual events over the restrictions presented by physical ones.

IT Voice Spokesperson: What major trends can we expect in the Virtual event sector?

Sumanyu Soniwal: We have to look at the larger landscape. The pandemic has vastly changed people’s preferences and perceptions of the virtual space. Many working professionals are looking out for more WFH opportunities and how they can improve this new dynamic post COVID.

For a lot of companies whose workforce is spread across cities, hosting and organizing an event becomes a major hassle. In such companies, they may opt for Micro events where less than 100 people attend the physical event and a major chunk of the audience members join in to watch the event live from their homes. We expect these kinds of hybrid events to take off in the coming months.

Another trend is that the frequency of events, in general, is going to shoot up. As I mentioned before people can try to replicate and enjoy the grandeur of a physical event without actually having to bear its high costs. But with virtual events, the logistics become much simpler and allow companies to host not just one or two physical events a year, but 5 or 6 large-scale virtual events as well – almost 3x the frequency at ⅓ of the cost.

Another great opportunity is the Metaverse – where people can walk around and interact with other participants almost like a sims interface. You can create avatars and feel like you’re at the event in person and create unique 3D landscapes.

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