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14 Sep 2022

BPA Worldwide Acquires Digital Events Data Standards Group, VSef

BPA Worldwide, a leading global assurance provider of media, technology, events and sustainability standards compliance today announced the acquisition of VSef, the global data format for the digital events industry.

VSef was launched in early 2021, as a response to the rising uptake of digital event platforms and the increase in virtual event experiences. Its goal of creating a global standardized data format for digital events received backing from many world-leading organizers and platforms, including Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions, Tarsus Group, Emerald Expositions, Clarion Events, Grip, Balluun, Notified, Swapcard, Accelevents, ExpoPlatform, and many more.

Within a short time, VSef recruited the support of the event industry’s leading strategic partners, including the Events Industry Council (EIC), UFI, Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which were keen to assist in expanding the global reach of the initiative.

The lack of data standardization was an issue simultaneously identified by BPA, which launched the Reporting Standards for Digital Events (RSDE) initiative with the support of its own working group. Over the next nine months, BPA and VSef began a collaboration with the goal of creating a single industry standard for digital events.

Richard Murphy, President and CEO of BPA Worldwide, commented, “Digital events and digital components of in-person events are important elements of an event organizer’s portfolio. After levelling off after pandemic highs, we expect the digital channel to grow. The ability to gather, process, and share data efficiently is critical to achieving scale.” Murphy continued, “We want to recognize the excellent work of Explori and the VSef team to mobilize industry support and develop this data format. We are excited to take the lead and continue the journey. We will work with the industry associations and industry leaders to increase awareness, adoption and advancement of digital events, and digital events data solutions.”

Mark Brewster, Founder and CEO of Explori and VSef, added, “The pandemic saw the formidable emergence of digital events and the positive effect that this has had on the digitization of the events industry both in-person and online. The platform market has developed more rapidly than it has ever done in the past. It became clear that a data standard for digital events was essential in enabling event organizers to have consistent data and insights across the plethora of digital event technologies used.

“It has been a pleasure to work on such a progressive initiative for the industry,” Brewster continued. “Data is key to the evolution of the events industry and to ensure the betterment of our sector. Under Explori’s leadership, the VSef initiative was launched and now we believe that BPA is the perfect party to continue with this work into the future, drive awareness and increase adoption of common data standards.”

David Audrain, CEO of ExpoDavCo and SISO, commented, “Data standardization is an incredibly valuable resource for all of the industry as it provides efficiencies, time and cost savings to both providers and users, as well as better quality data, which is the ultimate goal of all. The industry has been well served by the efforts of Explori in creating VSef, and we look forward to further success under BPA.”

Next steps will be announced by BPA in the coming months, including a licensing opportunity for audit bodies to offer certification to the standard.

 

To find out more about VSef visit www.VSef.io. To learn more about RSDE, please visit www.RSDEGlobal.org

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Testimonials

  • “The silver lining in the pivot to digital has been the data-rich environment we organisers now find ourselves in. But, we have a huge standardisation job at hand if we’re to benefit from this newly found trove of data. VSef has been designed to solve this problem; to provide an open source standard. I for one am looking forward to receiving data from different platforms in one format!”
    Dr Bariş Onay
    Chair of VSef
  • “As the global trade association for our sector, we know about the importance of unified and aligned data sets, and we are working to promote globally accepted metrics and terminologies. We recommend that every business events association joins us in supporting and promoting VSef to their members as a collaborative way forward for our industry.”
    Anbu Varathan
    President, UFI
  • "At Grip, data democratization is at the core of our strategy in supporting organisers to move markets forward faster and providing greater value to exhibitors and visitors. We’re excited about being part of the VSef initiative from the very beginning and making it easier for organisers to move data between solutions in the event technology stack will be crucial for gaining greater insight into events and their success."
    Warith Nassor
    Product Owner - Data, Integrations and Insight. Grip
  • "Data is the key to growth in the event industry. It helps organizers better serve their communities, create brand loyalty and create logical, long-term strategies. VSef will make it much easier for organizers to collect the data used in making critical decisions without having to sacrifice customer experience and their technology stack."
    Robyn Duda
    Founder, RDC
  • "Our position on data is and always has been that it should be accessible, freely available, and owned by organisers, which is reflected in our Data Manifesto. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Mark and the wider Explori team and we are proud to be early adopters of the VSef initiative, which is an important step in standardising metrics and in allowing organisers to easily compare these metrics across platforms."
    Mykyta Fastovets
    CTO, Expoplatform
  • "We reside at an inflection point in the global events industry. Our immediate embrace of normalized data is going to decide the extent to which we define our value and fuel our growth. VSef is an ambitious project that deserves universal support across platforms, organizers, and industry organizations. We are pleased to take these first steps with the VSef team and their growing partner community."
    Tony Lorenz
    SVP Strategy, Intrado
  • "The need to unite event data has been a topic of conversation at Event Tech Live and within the community for many years. It's fantastic to see the experts and advisors behind VSef taking the mantle and moving this forward for the benefit of the whole industry. I am proud for Event Tech Live to be a founding member and look forward to helping drive this initiative too."
    Adam Parry
    Co-founder, Event Tech Live
  • "Data is a crucial issue in digital events and setting a framework for data standardisation and industry collaboration is key to future industry success. We are excited to be partnering with VSef on this important initiative."
    Sophie Ahmed
    CEO and Co-Founder, Virtual Events Institute
  • “Now more than ever it is important to collaborate, share and connects minds for a better future of the exhibition industry. VSef is a perfect example of collaborative knowledge!”
    Enrico Gallorini
    CEO, GRS Research & Strategy