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Microsoft’s LinkedIn has announced that it is launching an audio-based virtual events platform before the end of the month, to be followed by a video product in Spring.
“We want to make it easier to host virtual round tables, fireside chats, and more,” said product manager Jake Poses. “Some may want the event to be more formal, or less formal. Some might want to communicate with their audience, to open up to the floor. We’re giving professionals interactivity and support.”
The service will initially launch as free, though it is suspected that Microsoft will introduce ticketed events in the future.
The platform is being built internally in LinkedIn without integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem and aimed at career development, professional topics and other LinkedIn-centric areas of expertise.
The service will be run directly from LinkedIn’s website, and will not require any additional software to host, record or run events. See mock-ups of the service below:
“Our philosophy is to put the organizers in control,” said Poses.
Poses felt virtual and hybrid events were the future, and would make attending events more accessible.
“As long as I could remember, I have gone to talks and meetups. These are the mainstays of how professionals communicate and learn things,” he said. “But they require money, time to travel, courage to go into a room and speak, and space to run an event. Our belief is that moving from in person to virtual is actually democratizing and opening up access to many more people.”
The service will launch in beta by the end of January 2022.