Bogeun “Bryan” Song cottoned on to the importance of digital engagement long before the coronavirus forced the rest of the industry to pay attention.
The Seoul-based entrepreneur worked as an event producer for six years before launching xSync, an event management software company, in 2015.
“My first goal [as an event producer] was to make my events more entertaining by providing mobile card stunts, live polls, surveys and photo sharing. I thought that providing tools to let the crowd participate was the key to successful events,” he said.
Initially, xSync provided mobile apps to support live events, but after Covid-19, Song sharpened his focus on website development and building online conference platforms.
“I was lucky that most of the features I was providing for offline events were still relevant online,” he explained.
While some of Song’s clients preferred to postpone live events rather than pivot online, by May 2020 this thinking started to shift. He has since built online conference platforms for more than 40 associations, including the 20th International Conference on Heavy Metals in the Environment (ICHMET), a five-day hybrid event in Seoul. The platform was accessible two weeks prior to the live-streamed event, which helped boost interaction during the event proper.
“Participants were able to leave comments and questions, and there was tons of interaction even before the live streaming,” Song explained.
“Questions asked during the conference were more in-depth as participants had already read through the materials.”
While he’s a strong proponent of virtual and hybrid meetings, Song believes “tech platforms have failed to solve networking” and that such events will remain offline. With uncertainty the order of the day, he describes being an entrepreneur as “a constant hustle against the market” and believes it is his ‘duty’ to push the industry forward.
“I feel that my decisions are making a difference in the MICE industry in Korea, and that I am responsible for innovation,” he said. “Running a company means that I am trying to make money, but at the same time I’m also trying to make a difference in the world. I assume that every entrepreneur is playing this role, whether it’s intended or not.”