Joint industry initiative launches to unite event data

A working group of event organisers and technology platforms announces Virtual Standard Export Format (VSef) a universal format for virtual and hybrid event data.

The data standards have been developed collaboratively by a cross-industry working group. Founding members include ten global event organisers and leading event tech platform partners, who have come together to create a shared industry-wide standard. VSef is run on a not-for-profit basis, open to all event organisers, and any platform can choose to adopt the standards. 

Dr. Barış Onay, chair of the VSef working group, remarked; “The silver-lining in the pivot to digital has been the data-rich environment we organisers now find ourselves in. 

But, we have a huge standardisation job at hand if we’re to benefit from this newly found trove of data. VSef has been designed to solve this problem; to provide an open source standard. I for one am looking forward to receiving data from different platforms in one format!”

VSef was launched and is steered by Explori, the leading insights provider for the events industry.

Explori CEO, Mark Brewster, adds; “Our research suggests organisers use, on average, four different event technology platforms. The data produced by these platforms often looks very different from one provider to the next. Three-quarters of organisers told us they found it challenging to integrate data from virtual platforms into other systems.

These challenges are barriers to learning, progress and business intelligence. That is why we brought together a working group to create a universal data format that enables events to consume consistent data regardless of which platforms they are working with.”

The initiative has already received widespread support from industry bodies and communities.  UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is the Founding Association Partner and set to adopt and advocate the standards.

Anbu Varathan, UFI President, explained; “The group of companies that came together to work on VSef represents a great cross section of the UFI membership. As the global trade association for our sector, we know about the importance of unified and aligned data sets, and we are working to promote globally accepted metrics and terminologies. 

We recommend that every business events association joins us in supporting and promoting VSef to their members as a collaborative way forward for our industry.”

The standards will evolve over time, building on feedback from organisers and platforms.  More information about VSef, including guides for organisers and platforms wishing to adopt the standards can be found at