Monday, 23 March 2020 03:52

Brisbane tech expo QODE now a ‘virtual expo’ due to COVID-19 Featured

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The coronavirus crisis has prompted Queensland organisers to turn to the Internet to deliver an “Australia-first” virtual expo - QODE - partnering with You Tube to stream live, and free of charge, its Brisbane technology and innovation conference which will be staged over two days this week.

The decision by QODE expo organisers follows the Australian Government’s announcement on new social distancing measures and restrictions on the number of people that can attend public events due to health concerns over COVID-19

Conference organisers have teamed up with Brisbane Virtual Reality company, Visitor Vision, to stage the event on Tuesday and Wednesday 24 and 25 March, and stream it online offering “a new way for people to view the conference exhibits in this unprecedented time”.

QODE’s focus is the future of technology, and Chief QODE Officer Jackie Taranto said, “One of the key reasons people attend conferences is to visit the exhibitor booths to gain further insight into the products and information available, and for those exhibiting, it’s a really important way to access that market”.

“We wanted to ensure attendees could still have that experience, and now they can. Using Virtual Reality, they can walk through the exhibitor booths as though they’re at the convention centre and can even jump on a call to chat with the exhibitor as they would face-to-face.”

Taranto says that as a result of the program being online, the exhibitor can access information about who has visited the booth, the company they’re from and if they’re interested in chatting further, “which is often more information than they might be able to gain about a potential customer in a traditional expo setting”.

Queensland Government Information Minister Kate Jones said moving the event online was in the best interests of all Queenslanders.

“No one can think outside the box quite like an entrepreneur or a small business person,” she said. “The organisers of QODE have been clear – the show must go on. Or in this case, go online. In the true spirit of this event, rather than cancelling the festival, they’re taking the entire program online.”

“This festival is about showcasing our best and brightest to the world. What better way to achieve that, than by sending the world a message – we have the resilience and the brains to keep this show on the road.” Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said it was fitting that a technology-based solution would see QODE Brisbane proceed.

“These extraordinary circumstances call for innovative solutions and what better way to ensure this important global event goes ahead than by embracing the latest technology,” Cr Schrinner said.

“While it is unfortunate that thousands of world-leading experts and delegates will not experience our great city at this time, I am pleased that Brisbane will still facilitate discussions on the technology trends and issues shaping the way we live and work.”

Speakers from the United States and Israel are among those taking part in the virtual event, with some local speakers including Nine CEO Hugh Marks and Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Paul Bertsch.

QODE is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and the City of Brisbane.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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