7 Things You Need to Know About the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference

Our most in-depth look yet at our virtual event and all-new platform.

It’s hard to believe, but the start of the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference is less than one week away, running from June 15-17 and 22-24. For those of us on the teams at CMA & SIMA, our first virtual Conference has been a project almost a year in the making.

Early on in the process, we decided we wanted it to be different from any virtual conference that had come before. We had a vision to create a futuristic virtual campus to host the event and envisioned a Conference with broadcast quality presentations – something more like a cable newsroom than the Zoom-meeting-like virtual events we had been seeing in 2020 and 2021.

This week, we’re here to give you the most in-depth look yet at our 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference. If you’re planning on attending, be sure to read on so you can see what to expect. If you’re still on the fence, well, you’re DEFINITELY going to want to read on, because we promise you, this is an event you will definitely regret missing, when it’s all said and done.

So, without further ado, here’s our in-depth look at the platform, with 7 Things to Know Before You Go to the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference.

  1. You’ll Arrive in Style.

Every day you’ll enter the ARC Virtual Campus in downtown Chicago in style, arriving by air, by water from Lake Michigan or via the Chicago River. We worked with the world-class architects at HKS to not only create the campus, but model animations that walk you to the different locations on the campus. Take a look at this arrival by water and the journey into the main lobby!

  1. Build Your Own Personal Agenda

Among the first orders of business, you’ll want to open the schedule and start building out your personal agenda for the Conference. Click “Add to Agenda” next to any session to add it to the “My Agenda” tab. This will ensure you don’t miss any of the sessions you want to see.

Add sessions to “My Agenda” to build your personal schedule of events.

What are the sessions like? When it’s time for your keynote, breakout or Emerging Technology Session, you’ll “virtually travel” to one of our lecture halls. Each session includes a preproduced presentation, set in the virtual lecture hall, with stunning graphics. After the preproduced portion of the session, we’ll bring in the presenter for live Q&A moderated by one of our CMA|SIMA staff members.

Want to see what one of the sessions looks like? Check out this 5-minute sneak peak of our breakout with Devin Long from Trinchero Family Estates, The Democratization of Data and Rise of the Chief Data Officer:

  1. Get Ready to Network

When you first enter the ARC Virtual Campus platform, be sure to click the profile icon in the far upper right-hand corner. Select “Account Settings” and build out your profile. We’ve built in LinkedIn integration to make this step extra easy, but it’s an important one for networking!

Once you’ve got your profile ready, it’s time to start building your network! We have several options to help you connect with other attendees. The first is perhaps the most straightforward: reaching out directly. From the “Attendees” tab at the top of the screen, you can access the full attendee list. From there you can book a meeting using the built-in scheduler or start a conversation thread with anyone via direct message (DM).

Start a new DM with anyone here. Active DM conversations can be accessed at any time via the chat bubble in the upper right corner.

Finally, you’ll want to be sure and check out our Networking Events! Under the Networking tab on the top menu, you’ll find a number of prescheduled events where you can build your network. Join Moderated Group Discussions, hop in a “20 in 20” and make 20 new contacts in 20 minutes, join virtual cocktail parties and more!

  1. Join the Conversation

There are several ways to interact with your fellow attendees, beyond networking. Keep the conversation lively with your impressions and key takeaways from the Conference via the “Activity Feed.” Access this at any time from the right-hand menu in the lobby to see comments, pictures and more from other attendees. You can also participate in the conversation on social media using the hashtag #CMACON2021.

Share your Conference experience with other attendees in the Activity Feed.

  1. Check out the Virtual Tech Expo

The Virtual Tech Expo is one of the coolest new features of the 2021 CMA|SIMA Conference. Each sponsor has a 3D modeled booth on the Tech Expo Bridge. In the booth, you can chat with or schedule meetings with our solution providers, you can view their pre-produced Tech Talk videos, you can download documents on their solutions and so much more. Be sure to check out the augmented-reality-enhanced 360° views of the Tech Expo on your mobile device!

Each exhibitor has a dedicated booth where you can interact and learn about their solutions.

  1. This is the Future Home of ARC

This year’s Conference will mark the official launch of the Association for Retail and Consumer Professionals (ARC) – parent organization to the CMA & SIMA. The Conference digital platform is a sneak peek into how we will deliver content to members in the future. In the coming months after the Conference, we’ll be opening additional buildings on the Campus, including a state-of-the-art Research Library, a Training Facility, a dedicated Member Services area and more!

Our cutting-edge digital campus will host a robust ARC member experience.

  1. Help is Always Easy to Find

Last, but not least, we want to make sure you get the very most out of this year’s virtual conference. When you first arrive on campus, you’ll be greeted with a welcome video that will give you a quick tour of the campus and help you quickly learn how to interact with the features of the platform. Along with that, we’ve also included several quick how-to videos, a robust FAQ and an instant chat feature if you need any help along the way.

Above all else, we want to ensure you absolutely blown away by an unforgettable, first-class experience at this year’s show. We’ve put countless hours and an immeasurable amount of blood, sweat and tears into making this our biggest and most memorable Conference to date. We couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.

If you haven’t registered yet, now’s the time to grab your seat! We look forward to interacting with you and hearing your impressions next week at the show.

Save your seat now.