Innovative Transformation Has Started In Seoul MICE Industry


Following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to the virtual or hybrid events faster than imagined, which is a new trend of events that rises as a potential breakthrough for the MICE industry. The development of the meeting technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), the internet of things (IoT) and many other information and communication technologies are considered more important than ever during this crisis and also expected to lead the growth of small and medium sized enterprises. There is also an acceleration of meetings technology within the MICE industry from existing companies implementing such services, as well as start-ups coming up with innovative solutions.

In COVID-19 era, most of the venues in Seoul have taken the year 2020 to reinvent themselves with advanced technologies, in preparation for the new virtual era. In addition, the venues that hosted in-person events during the pandemic implemented extensive new protocols like pre-registration, temperature checks, face masks, gloves, elevated hygiene, social distancing and density monitoring.

Coex Convention and Exhibition Center

Seoul’s largest and Korea’s busiest convention and Exhibition Center, Coex has extended its business and engaged a new strategic partnership with NexTech AR Solutions, a leading provider of virtual and augmented reality experience technologies and services for eCommerce, education, conferences and events in Korea and Asia Pacific region. Through this collaboration, NexTech and Coex will transform the Korea’s MICE industry by offering virtual and hybrid event services to bridge the physical and virtual worlds, and help event planners to create memorable, one-of-a-kind events with exciting and interactive features, unlike ever before.

The NexTech’s virtual event platform combines best-in-class technologies, ranging from AR for 3D product modelling and human holograms to enterprise scale streaming services with customised language packs. The platform offers a safe, inclusive and convenient option for those who cannot host in-person events at the convention and exhibition center, and will provide an essential marketing and networking tool to clients, visitors and exhibiting companies alike, even after the pandemic.

By bringing everyone together again, Coex also introdu-ced Coex Live, a web streaming service that combines today’s most advanced audiovisual technologies with the detailed planning experience of the Coex team. These hybrid event services are in response to the new demands being generated from the evolution of conferences and exhibitions in the digital age, as well as part of Coex’s efforts to continue introducing cutting-edge solutions to its events and services.

In addition, Coex Art Hall will be converted from a small theater to a virtual studio, offering comprehensive virtual hybrid services so that webinars and teleconferences can be held concurrently. Addition to the hybrid event solution, Coex also provides a wide range of services, such as Coex catering service, event production (stage backdrop, signage), webinar system, IT & utilities, in-hall theatre and more.

Check out some prominent hybrid events that held in Coex:
(i) 19th Seoul Cafe Show 2020
On 4 November 2020, the 19th Seoul Cafe Show 2020 is back in Coex with a hybrid format, featuring exhibitors in all four of COEX exhibition halls with a total space of 36,007m², together with online exhibitors, as well as on- and offline participation for the show’s World Coffee Leaders Forum. The cafe show grabbed eye balls worldwide with its customised live streaming products marketing sessions by famous coffee-related YouTubers. With zero-contact exhibition, the respective PR staff from the corporate booths will proactively promote their products when approached by YouTubers with a microphone and camera.

(ii) 59th World Franchise Expo 2021
From 25 to 27 February 2021, the 59th World Franchise Expo 2021, a hybrid event where industry experts and leaders will offer advice both in person at Coex and via online seminars for those Interested in starting their own business in Korea.

More than just an event venue, Coex is well equipped with advanced event technologies to host and service all types of physical, virtual and hybrid events, which will fully support event organisers to reach wider audiences with memorable virtual and in-person experiences, and increase operational efficiency, engagement and sales.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)

Since opening in 2014, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) has welcomed about 50 million visitors to its exhibition and events, as a key venue for major designed-related shows, exhibitions and events as well as a major tourist attraction. DPP is the first project in Korea to employ 3D digital construction management and administration, and continues to innovate with the widest variety of exhibitions and events, creating synergies with neighbouring communities as well as with artists and designers from around the world. 

DDP resumed its operation by taking the strict safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including professional disinfection of the entire DDP once a week, daily disinfection of door knobs, railing and more every 3 hours, placement of hand sanitisers at every entrance, thermographic inspections and requirement of face masks for all employees and visitors. In addition, reservations are recommended, as the number of visitors is limited due to the ongoing social distancing regulations amid the pandemic.

At the moment, many programmes in DDP have gone online to ensure the safety of the participants, while in the process of equipping the centre with advanced events technologies. DDP also takes its initiative to engage with renowned exhibitions, in helping to boost morale and mental health during the prolonged quarantine. The interactive artwork themed “Animals of Flower, Symbiotic Lives II” was one of several at the exhibition “teamLab: LIFE” that installed at the DDP as a solo exhibition from 25 September 2020 to 4 April 2021, attracting a large number of visitors despite the ongoing pandemic.

Located at the level 2 of DDP, Seoul-On is a video conference studio that equipped with a state-of-the-art 35m long extra wide LED display in addition to high-resolution video, sound, light equipment. A relay system also enables real-time video transmission. The studio space is suitable for virtual gathering such as lectures, conferences and forums, with a capacity of 120 people. Seoul-On can also hosts various events such as talk shows or lectures once the pandemic is over. 

In the efforts to overcome COVID-19 and prospects for the design industry in the future, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Design Foundation created the Seoul Design Startup Center ‘CO-STATION’. It is a Youth Design Startup incubation facility that offers an active start-up environment for the next generation of talented young designers.

Oil Tank Culture Park

Located in Mapo-gu, the Oil Depot is a private access-controlled oil reserve site for the past 40 years, has been transformed into an eco-friendly cultural complex for festivals, performances, exhibitions and village markets since 1 September 2017. The Oil Tank Culture Park comprises of 22 soccer field-sized culture spaces in 6 oil reservoir tanks (T1-T6), giving visitors a wonderful cultural experience.

A media facade performance was held at the Oil Tank Culture Park by using the wall of T6 tank as a canvas, as part of the 2020 Seoul Is Museum Public Art Festival. The media facade show themed “Beyond Imagination” is a performance that using light to console the tired minds of the citizens due to COVID-19, as well as coloured the autumn night with beautiful lights.

New Innovative Studio for Artists

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will make an “Immersive Studio” equipped with advanced system to support the artists who faced new challenges of online performance in COVID-19 era, such as having difficulty in creating a quality online performance and lack of experience in video production. This new studio is a comprehensive facility for creative production that can be used from practising to video shooting and editing.

Equipped with all necessary tools and equipment for video production such as stage, sound, lighting and filming, this one-stop or all-in-one studio enables artists to produce high-definition (8K) video performances. The Seoul City Government is planning to remodel the closed Seoul Creative Center in Namsan into a zero-energy building and open an “Immersive Studio” in the first half of 2022.

Foreseeing the growth of hybrid events in 2021 and beyond, MICE business players are encourage to shift their focus into hybrid events by incorporating unique elements that will help their events stand out, including the easily accessible AR, quality streaming that goes beyond the standard consumer tools and options for translation packages. At the same time, when the crisis is over and in-person events are back on deck, the added virtual dimension can function as a critical revenue generation supplement or a viable alternative for organisers who are thinking of cancelling or postponing their in-person events. Be innovative and resilience till we meet again in Seoul!

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