There has been an upward trend with more and more live events adopting virtual reality (VR) technology. Event professionals have spoken of VR as a concept for many years but it is only recently that the concept has truly become a reality – pardon the pun.
Such technology can be an alternative to a physical keynote speaker and can enhance the experience of product demonstrations and education. VR is also widely used by companies at exhibitions. Due to its versatility, the uses of VR in events are limitless.
Since the initial commercial releases of virtual reality headsets, VR is getting less expensive. With the sets becoming more affordable for the mainstream market the opportunities for holding engaging events are growing all the time.
So what is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is the concept of a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which is able to be explored and interacted with by the user. The person becomes immersed in a virtual world and is able to manipulate objects and perform actions.
When can it be used?
It doesn’t seem likely (or safe!) for attendees to walk throughout a whole event submerged in their VR headset. But there are some particular opportunities to use the technology at regular intervals.
Product demonstrations– At trade shows it’s likely that exhibitors would benefit from the impact of an immersive, VR-type demonstration. This would be particularly useful to demonstrate products which are too large or valuable to bring to a show.
Training– VR has been found to be a highly effective way of helping individuals to learn, practise and remember new skills. At an event where training staff is the purpose, VR could therefore be very beneficial in reinforcing messages.
Keynote speaker– Technologies including holograms and telepresence have presented themselves as other possibilities to keynote speakers. VR is capable of taking this a step further, as all attendees in the audience can be engaged in their own personal video talk.
Fun and games– VR can also simply be used at an event as a means for fun activities which would aid networking and help with team bonding.
Augmented reality, the alternative
Toolshed communications have had experience using augmented reality, 3D graphics that appear as layers on top of objects in the real world. At a Barclaycard conference delegates were surrounded with 3D projection screens, delegates felt all the vibrations and noise of experiences including a roller coaster. The effects of augmented reality can be seen in the campaign by VISA below.
Before committing to the latest technological advances at your event, you must first make sure that they are relevant and will help you to meet your objectives.