Yes, We are Going Virtual!

Sep 1, 2020 | Industry

By Vince Edivan

As ARA made the decision to take our 77th Annual ARA Convention and Expo to a completely virtual format, I was like a lot of other people who was not only disappointed, but a bit skeptical about the how successful this could be. Shortly after this decision, I got to attend my first fully virtual conference. Within 10 minutes, I went from being a skeptic to a believer. So much so, that I would not be surprised to see many traditionally 100 percent live events become either fully virtual going forward or at least a hybrid of both virtual and live content.

One of the advantages we have discovered is the ability to “produce” the sessions. Previously our speaker would take the stage and deliver their content, and sometimes be accompanied by a slide deck, or perhaps a video clip or two. This year we will have the opportunity to pre-record sessions. From a participant’s perspective, this will create a much more interactive environment.

Have You Ever Wished …

Have you ever been sitting in a conference, or seminar, and the speaker said something that made you think of a question? In a traditional live environment, there are several reasons why you may not get the opportunity to ask that question. No time for Q&A at the end. Too many people surrounding the speaker after the session. You get distracted or begin talking with someone else.

This is where the virtual event will actually be more intimate. If at any time during a speaker session you have a question, you will be able to use the chat feed to ask. Each session will have a live chat feed running and will be monitored by a live person. And although much of the content will be pre-recorded, all of the sessions will have a live component, such as a live Q&A with the session presenter. This is where the moderator will be able to curate all the questions that come in and address the speaker. So, your question won’t be missed!

Have you ever been to a conference and then returned home and wished you would have taken better notes? Well, as an attendee to our virtual EGDE 2020 – 77th Annual ARA Convention and Expo – you will have access to all of the content for a while after the conference is over. No more wishing you could remember that idea, or suggestion that you heard. Simply pull up the session and re-watch it on demand!

Have you ever attended a conference and wished you could attend two or more sessions at the same time? Well now you can … kinda! Because each session will be recorded and available on demand, you don’t have to worry about missing one session so you can attend another. My suggestion is to attend the one you think you might have the most questions so that you can participate in the live chat and the Q&A. But, even if you are watching an on-demand session after the conference, you will still be able to see all the chat that was recorded during the session. So it’s likely that your question may have been asked and answered!

Super Expo

If you’re wondering what a virtual Expo Hall will look like, keep an eye on our social media for teasers and images to help give you the look and feel of what you will be experiencing. Vendors will have the opportunity to show product and promotional videos, provide informational documents, have one-to-one live video interactions, and can even present a webinar!

You have the ability to set appointments with exhibitors of choice, initiate interactive live video chat, grab videos or materials in an “eBag” to review later, and ultimately spend quality time getting the information you need without the distractions of the trade show floor. Traditionally, the Expo is where you’d discover ideas that provide ROI through efficiency, innovation and added value. This year is no different. Take advantage of this great opportunity!

Speaking of distractions, everyone enjoys the time at live events spent talking in the halls, at the bar, in the lobby. We will all miss those in-person discussions. The next best thing is we will have individual chat rooms set up just for this. There will be discussions by topic so you can drop in, read, interact, network and share ideas. Of course, you should bring your own beverage!

Get Registered

Event registration is now open, and you can enroll yourself and your whole team very easily! Closer to the event you will see more details on social media on what to expect. Just think – no travel expenses. No hotel expenses. No food expenses (other than splurging for lunch for your team on site). These cost-savings will allow you to register more of your staff as a great team-building experience for your company! REGISTER TODAY at

Over the next several weeks we will be working diligently with all our speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors to build what we believe will be a fantastic, dynamic, interactive, and educational convention. We look forward to “seeing” you there and being able to interact. You will be surprised how much you are going to feel like you are actually physically together with your peers.

Views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or position of the Automotive Recyclers Association.

Vince Edivan is ARA’s Director of Member Relations. In his role, he represents ARA at state industry events, working to connect with current and potential members. Since 2006, he has worked in the wholesale auto auctions, vehicle remarketing, and the salvage industries. 

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