Swiss Virtual Expo, the first metaverse “made in Ticino”

Swiss virtual expo the Metaverse fair | Meteca

In the previous article, we talked about metaverse and today we want to introduce you Swiss Virtual Expo, the first completely business-oriented Helvetic metavers e, promoted by ated-ICT.

Ated-ICT Ticino is an independent organization, founded and active in the Canton Ticino since 1971, open to all people, companies and cooperation interested in technologies and digital transformation. Ated collaborates with the most important public and private institutions, organizations and referential companies, along with other associations close to the technology field and innovation.

What do you mean by Metaverse?

One of the most frequently recurring terms in the digital conversations concerns the “metaverse”. It is a word coined by Neal Stephenson in the cyberpunk novel Snow Crash (1992) to represent a three-dimensional space in which physical people can move, share, and interact by using customized avatars (source: Wikipedia). Actually, the term hit the headlines in late October 2021 when, during the annual Connect conference, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, explained the social network’s future, which would become a virtual world. «The metaverse can be considered the next chapter of Internet, it is made just to connect people and Horizon is the platform that we are creating. You can think of a metaverse as an epitomized Internet: instead of viewing the contents, you are inside them» he said. Then, Zuckerberg announced the change of Facebook’s name in Meta.

And what do you mean by ated-ICT Ticino for Metaverse? What pushed ated to start this incredible experience of building a Metaverse, being the concept still so futuristic and poorly known?

Cristina Giotto, President and Director of ated-ITC Ticino, also creator of Swiss Virtual Expo, reveals: «In hindsight, the orientation described by Mark Zuckerberg two weeks after our Swiss Virtual Expo’s launch is definitely aligned with other immersive experiences that, even in our Swiss territory, are being exploring with great success. Our Swiss Virtual Expo, in fact, opened almost a year ago to the audience and winner of the Grand Prix Mörbius Editoria Mutante is based exactly on the metaverse. Swiss Virtual Expo is the first digital exhibition promoted in the Swiss Confederation, in which Ticino, Swiss and international companies have the opportunity to introduce and promote themselves in the domestic and global market. In a metaverse, or rather an immersive space, in which audience can explore as if it were a traditional event, there are some areas totally dedicated to live or on-demand seminars and workshops, in addition to customized stands, booths and showrooms of various sizes. A virtual place that has the opportunity to create settings larger than half a million square meters, capable of hosting up to 12 stands, 700 booths and 100 showrooms with very reduced CO2 emissions. A result that cannot be imagined in the real world, but that we promote with great pride because it is in our ated-ICT Ticino association’s DNA to be a little bit visionary and always close to innovation».

How did the companies and territory reply? Did they contribute to this development?

Cristina Giotto continues: «So far, hundreds of Ticino, Swiss and international organizations and companies have joined our idea, thanks to the opportunity to introduce and promote themselves in the domestic and global market. Each pavilion – of the 12 originally planned – is extended for over 30.000 square meters, let’s say 5 football fields, constituting a very immersive space with reduced environmental impact and focused on business, which emphasizes Swiss excellence and international partnerships throughout the world. Realities like:  Die Post, EOC, Swisscom, SBB, Cornèr Banca, RSI, SUPSI e USI, TIO/20Minuti, Corriere del Ticino, Città dei Mestieri, Migros, Gastro Ticino, MyLugano and others are present in the various booths. Here users can explore the stands as if they were in a traditional exhibition but with digital pavilions, finding some areas entirely dedicated to live or on-demand events, seminars, masterclasses and workshops, as well as stands, customized arenas and showrooms of various sizes. At the moment there are: 1 event arena and 6 thematic areas, going from the SMEs & professionals’ world to health & wellness, also focused on culture, tourism and events without forgetting the craftsmanship and inclusiveness’ world».

What is the added benefit that Swiss Virtual Expo can give to the Swiss and Ticino territory and its business field?

«Swiss Virtual Expo turns into a new communication and digital marketing channel, apart from being an immersive place to visit and know in order to “do some business” also for Ticino and Swiss companies. So far, the digital marketing channel closest to the metaverse is undoubtedly the one composed by social media. However being on the social media, like Instagram or LinkedIn, requires directing several financial resources and all the creative efforts through that specific community, that is actually present on that channel. Meanwhile, the opportunity to be in a marketplace inside the metaverse, or in Swiss Virtual Expo, regards the possibility for every virtual exhibitor to benefit from the other exhibitor’s activity and from the overall communication of the Expo. It’s like opening a physical shop in a country road, or inside a mall. In the marketing field, the “positioning” is, in fact, a very strategic variable for promoting oneself inside a market that no longer has boundaries and is nowadays completely global».

At Meteca, in our daily support activities dedicated to the companies that approach the digitization in the creation of IoT projects and products, we still discover a very strong resistance to the change and fears of a world that is still misunderstood in a certain way. Is it something that you have also found out during the process of building and spreading of EVS? How did you face the problem?

«We have been working at Swiss Virtual Expo for over two years, because during the pandemic, when we had time and, above all, the curiosity to understand in which directions the innovation’s frontier was moving, we met Rossano Tiezzi, Advepa Communication’s Commercial Manager. With his reality, the right harmony was immediately established in order to create together a new paradigm along with events in a completely immersive format. A modality that two years ago had not been baptized with the metaverse’s term yet. The idea was to experiment the use of a digital and immersive platform which had to be useful to promote and emphasize the products and services even through new ways of expression and fruition. The difficulty concerned make it clear to our local entrepreneurs that they would have the opportunity to experiment in a pioneering format, which was unprecedented. We have somehow passionate and convinced them whether meeting them and listening to their needs, but also showing them examples and situations changed from the evolution that has taken place in the gaming’s world (or rather, the videogame industry)».

Do you think that training (courses, webinars…) could be a useful tool to overcome these experienced resistances? Do you carry out education activities with SVE?

Francesca Prospero Cerza, Swiss Virtual Expo Business Developer, continues: “Yes training helps. We recently launched an event arena to achieve this goal, that is, to organize trainings directly in the metaverse, instead of using standard tools such as zoom-type platforms. In fact, the participantsenter the metaverse with their own customized avatar and arrive in an even arena settled in a television studio, where they can interact with speakers and personalize the environment with their visive identity, logos, colors and information; just as they like. Developments in the medium and long term have the purpose to increase elements of training and entertainment engagement. We also organize digital awareness and literacy activities such as “Swiss Virtual Expo on the road” or the proposal of some thematic master classes. Swiss Virtual Expo can be considered as a cutting-edge marketing and communication element to exhibit its products and services and, thanks to the huge visionary enthusiasm, beyond the “traditional” offer with classic stands, we have increasingly developed solutions in order to support companies and institutions to train, inform and digitize processes to improve their internal efficiency.

Have you ever thought about the possibility for other development offered by the connection between Metaverse and Internet of Things in order to combine the physical resources of the real world in digital metaverse? Are you open to any collaborations with companies in the IoT sector?

«Undoubtedly Swiss Virtual Expo is able to combine the green component with the chance to design technical objects in 3D, by creating remote demos and prototypes from a sustainable perspective. The world of IoT is very interesting for us, also considering the widespread diffusion of products like smart devices or home automation solutions which, in addition to overcrowd our houses, are undoubtedly normal for the youngest generations. Just look at our sons or younger children’s behaviours, you will understand that all their digital experiences take place through tablets or smart or IoT-based solutions. And that’s why we are open to identifying opportunities for collaborations or partnerships in order to connect exhibitors and visitors of Swiss Virtual Expo with those who produce or innovate in the IoT sector».

Ated’s female team