Steve Bentley

Bloc Digital at Farnborough International Airshow: Innovating the shift to the virtual world

With a reputation for providing a great platform for aviation and aerospace businesses, Farnborough International Airshow is a cornerstone of our client’s outreach strategies. It’s an opportunity for them to showcase innovations, network with key decision makers and drive business.

Having supported blue-chip clients including General Dynamics and Rolls-Royce at Farnborough shows over the years – explored in Bloc Digital at Farnborough Part One: Driving Real World Impact – we understood the impact the 2020 show cancellation would have on their opportunity to engage with customers and showcase innovation. So the idea for a truly interactive, industry-leading virtual event was born.

With COVID-19 causing a global shift to the digital world, at Bloc we’ve focussed our efforts on keeping our community resilient – from implementing remote operations to preventing skill fade through VR training. Innovating a virtual event was the next step in this pursuit.

Developing new ways for clients to reach customers, here’s how we’ve been supporting the transition to the socially-distanced, new ‘virtual’ normal with our virtual event product.

General Dynamics: From Farnborough Exhibitor to Virtual Event

For General Dynamics, a global integrator of land and missions systems, we’ve collaborated to create a virtual event to be used in place of the cancelled Farnborough Airshow. Explore it here.

Moving away from what some are calling ‘virtual events’, which simply involve content being delivered by video (webinars, zoom discussions) or websites with static images, our event has interactivity at its heart.

The platform is designed to engage potential customers through real time interaction and live conversations, closely simulating the real world event and emphasising the importance of visitor engagement.

Unlocking the ability to explore and engage with a concept or product in a 3D capacity involves the user in a deeper experience and stimulates greater interest. This idea sits at the core of our virtual event design.

Beginning at a central entrance lobby, the General Dynamics event includes a presentation area equipped with animated sales videos and the opportunity to ‘meet the team’. A showroom area provides a live 3D interactable product demonstration – where users can interact with 3D products, click on popup information to find out more about specific parts, and live chat with a sales representative to discuss in more depth. It facilitates one-on-one conversation between the exhibitor and visitors, giving the opportunity to understand needs and explore capabilities respectively.

Virtual Events: The New Normal

While borne out of a global crisis, the benefits of virtual interaction in a socially distanced world is being witnessed and harnessed by a growing number of organisations. And that may be a real legacy of the current situation.

Virtual events engage global audiences, increase accessibility and improve sustainability. With benefits over even real world exhibitions, they will drive a blended approach to communications – combining face-to-face with digital tools.

By no means will virtual replace real world events. Instead, together they will complement each other – forming more complete communications now and in the future.

To discuss how you can elevate your client engagement to a virtual world get in touch with us by emailing

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