EIC and Vsef Join Forces to Further Develop Digital Event Data Standards

June 2, 2022

The Events Industry Council (EIC) and Vsef, founded by Explori as the global data format for the digital events industry, formed an alliance to further the mission of establishing data standardization for digital events to help organizers drive growth and innovation.

The EIC, a global federation of more than 30 member organizations representing more than 103,500 individuals and 19,500 firms and properties in the events industry, works to establish professional standards of excellence across the entirety of the international events community through initiatives including the CMP Program, the EIC Sustainable Event Standards and the long-standing Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) Commission.  

As the industry continues to face challenges in effectively leveraging the inconsistent data formats used across the digital event platform landscape, the new alliance comes at a critical time for the industry and is hugely significant, according to Amy Calvert, CEO of the EIC.

“As the global voice of the business events industry, the EIC works to establish international industry standards, and the global VSef initiative has focused on the area of digital event data standards and developed a comprehensive solution on a not-for-profit basis,” Calvert said. “We are delighted to bring our APEX Commission and VSef together to further develop and establish these essential data standards.”

Mark Brewster, founder of Explori and VSef, echoed Calvert’s sentiments and applauded the alliance as a way to further the cause of data standardization, which he said is crucial for developing event strategy.

“Ultimately, it is vital for event organizers to keep a firm grip on their data assets, and in terms of digital event data, the events industry has become a challenge to navigate effectively with every platform operating in their own data silo,” Brewster said. “This leaves event organizers with the unenviable task of operating in an incomparable, opaque and inconsistent landscape, which presents significant barriers to multi-platform integration, consistent measurement and the essential insights that event planners need to develop strategy.”

Brewster added that while it is not currently clear where the lines will be drawn between today’s event technologies and the rapidly evolving metaverse, which in his opinion, will be a huge channel for the events industry. What is clear, he added, is that data is an essential asset for all event organizers.

“Unless they can gain control, access and ownership of their digital event data, I fear that huge opportunities for growth and innovation will be missed,” he said. “VSef is an important step in eliminating silos and putting the control of data back in organizers’ hands. It also offers enormous benefits to the platforms themselves.”

The Vsef initiative has garnered accolades from numerous companies that hold digital events.

“To create the right analytics and insights along the entire customer journey, we need to be able to integrate consistent data from a plethora of event technologies into our data lake and blend it with data from other marketing and communication channels,” said Stephen Rose, head of global communication services for Siemens. “It is not realistic for every individual platform to manage the unique data requirements of every [organization], and equally, it is not viable for every [organization] to work around each platform’s unique data format.

Rose added, “The solution is to have a robust industry data standard, and that is why we support Vsef.”

VSef was launched in early 2021, with the aim of creating a global standardized data format that can be used to simplify the process of moving data between event platforms, sales and marketing systems and business intelligence tools. Using a universal data format and API makes the process easy for organizers, as well as offering access to a better range of event metrics and engagement KPIs. The goal is to inevitably lead to improved digital event experiences for organizations, benefiting their brands and the customers and stakeholders they serve.

VSef recently unveiled the second iteration of the standards, VSef 2.0, which includes a range of new features, allowing it to better meet the needs of international audiences as well as allowing for the unique data variables each platform captures.

Since its inception, VSef has received backing from many leading event organizers and platforms, including Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions, Tarsus Group, Emerald Expositions, Clarion Events, Grip, Balluun, Notified, Swapcard, Accelevents, ExpoPlatform and many more.

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