The current down turn in the economy has encouraged companies to utilize cost saving measures when conducting business. The value of virtual events/meetings is a reality in the 21st century and continues to rise. When companies think about the cost of employees attending events they think about the expenses incurred such as, the cost of flights, hotel rooms, ground transportation and meals; the cost savings of a virtual event is staggering. Will virtual events take the place of face -to-face events/meetings? In my opinion, the need for face-to-face events will always exist but companies will now consider their options and determine the best approach based on the circumstance. Virtual events have been very successful for companies and attendees; the virtual event reaches individuals who may not otherwise be able to attend a live event. Companies who have conducted virtual events have been pleased with the format, visibility and attendance so it can be considered a win, win situation for both the company and attendee. However, the biggest challenge for the attendee has been difficulty navigating through the system which may imply that virtual systems may need to be more user- friendly as their popularity increases. Currently, Second-Life is a household name in the virtual world but I am sure many more companies will arrive on the scene and provide competition
The popularity of social media, e-mail and thus, virtual networking has opened the door to the virtual world; I think that the virtual environment will continue to be a serious player even when the economy recovers.