BPA Worldwide Acquires Digital Events Data Standards Group VSef

September 22, 2022

BPA Worldwide, a leading global assurance provider of media, technology, events and sustainability standards compliance, has purchased VSef, the global data format for the digital events industry, founded by Explori. The move is the next step following its collaboration with VSef to create a single industry standard for digital events.

Digital events and digital components of in-person events are important elements of an event organizer’s portfolio, explained Richard Murphy, president and CEO of BPA Worldwide, adding that after leveling off after pandemic highs, the digital channel is expected to grow. 

“The ability to gather, process and share data efficiently is critical to achieving scale, and we want to recognize the excellent work of Explori and the VSef team to mobilize industry support and develop this data format,” Murphy said. “We are excited to take the lead and continue the journey. We will work with the industry associations and industry leaders to increase awareness, adoption and advancement of digital events, and digital events data solutions.” 

VSef was launched in early 2021 in response to the rising uptake of digital event platforms and the increase in virtual event experiences. Its goal of creating a global standardized data format for digital events received backing from many world-leading organizers and platforms, including Informa Markets, Reed Exhibitions, Tarsus Group, Emerald Expositions, Clarion Events, Grip, Balluun, Notified, Swapcard, Accelevents, ExpoPlatform and many more. 

Within a short time, VSef recruited the support of the event industry’s leading strategic partners, including the Events Industry Council (EIC), UFI, Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) and International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), which were keen to assist in expanding the global reach of the initiative.  

The lack of data standardization was an issue simultaneously identified by BPA, which launched the Reporting Standards for Digital Events (RSDE) initiative with the support of its own working group. Over the next nine months, BPA and VSef began a collaboration with the goal of creating a single industry standard for digital events.  

With the digital event platform market having developed more rapidly during the pandemic than it has ever done in the past, it became clear that a data standard for digital events was essential in enabling event organizers to have consistent data and insights across the plethora of digital event technologies used, according to Mark Brewster, founder and CEO of Explori and VSef. 

“It has been a pleasure to work on such a progressive initiative for the industry, as data is key to the evolution of events and to ensure the betterment of our sector,” Brewster said. “Under Explori’s leadership, the VSef initiative was launched, and now we believe that BPA is the perfect party to continue with this work into the future, drive awareness and increase adoption of common data standards.”

David Audrain, CEO of ExpoDevCo and SISO, believes the addition of VSef to BPA’s portfolio will be a boon for the industry. 

“Data standardization is an incredibly valuable resource for all of the industry, as it provides efficiencies and time and cost savings to both providers and users, as well as better-quality data, which is the ultimate goal of all,” Audrain said. “The industry has been well served by the efforts of Explori in creating VSef, and we look forward to further success under BPA.” 

BPA will announce the next steps in the coming months, including a licensing opportunity for audit bodies to offer certification to the standard. 

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