In a recent sneak peek of the Fresh Summit virtual platform, Jamie Hillegas of PMA showed off what the platform will look like and how attendees and exhibitors can navigate through it to make the most out of their experience. “Nothing can completely replace an in-person event, but there are a lot of opportunities to be had in this virtual world, as far as the amount of people who can participate and the way we can connect with each other. We’re excited to see that come to life this year, for people to benefit from this event and to see how we can use this technology to add value to future, in-person events,” Hillegas says.
PMA Fresh Summit 2020 Homepage.
When you enter the platform, the first page you’ll land is the homepage (see above). “On the left, you’ll have your personal profile, and across the top of the page you see the different navigational tabs. There will be different ads on the right side, and at the bottom of the page you can see all the different event sponsors. From this page, you can update your profile by adding a short bio or description of yourself and add your contact information (which is only visible to others when you agree to connect with them). Here, you can also find your bookmarked companies.
The marketplace, rather than being laid out like a show floor, is a webpage consisting of a sortable list of companies. “You’ll be able to sort the companies in the same way that the show floor was segmented last year: by produce, floral, solutions, etc.,” Hillegas says. “Additionally, you can sort them by pavilion, or by first-time exhibitor or product category.”
The marketplace page.
When you click on a company, you’ll be brought to their company page. “Here, you’ll see all the content that they’ve added to their page – product information, videos, and more. You have the availability to chat directly with the company or click on one of the team members from a list at the bottom of the page to chat with a specific team member. Across the top of the page you can see the available meeting times and schedule a meeting with the company – but can also make video calls with your connections on the spot,” Hillegas explains.
Company marketplace page.
Fresh Ideas Showcase and mobile app
Even in the virtual format this year, the Fresh Ideas Showcase will be a part of the show. “It will be set up in a similar fashion as usually, so the categories across the top are the same ones you are used to seeing. It is a way for buyers and attendees to find products that were launched in the last year,” says Hillegas.
Fresh Ideas Showcase.
The Fresh Summit platform will be available through a webpage as well as through a mobile app. “The mobile app will be ready this week, and it will have all the same options and features as the website. You’ll be able to get notifications of chats and meetings sent to your phone, and make your video call meetings through your phone as well,” Hillegas says.
“You can’t just pick up an in-person show and put it online. People absorb online material a lot differently. That is why we have strived to make the platform as multifaceted and easy to use as possible. There will be a variety of ways for people to find companies, and recommendations will also just pop-up, making it as easy as possible to form those connections we’re all looking for,” she concludes.