Virtual Reality: the future of events!
In recent years the growth of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in events has been exponential. So much so that VR and AR have the real potential to completely change the whole events industry as we know it, if used appropriately.
It’s important to understand exactly what VR and AR actually are if we’re to understand how to apply their uses to the events sector.
VR uses computer technology to create a simulated environment that places a single user inside a fabricated world. The user wears a VR headset which immerses them into a simulated universe, made increasingly real by a sense of stimulation.
AR simulates objects into a real environment. Unlike VR, AR uses real-world space and superimposes computer-generated images into that space. You usually do this by using devices like mobile phones and tablets. A perfect example of how this works is the mobile game ‘Pokemon Go’. You can find more information about this example here.
The events industry has now taken on these technologies. More and more events are trying to create greater levels of impact by creating greater levels of engagement and they’re using new and developing technologies to bring them this. With VR and AR being the latest and most readily available interactive technology of the moment, it’s becoming the trend an increasing number of companies are turning to.
Many companies prefer AR to VR because of the level of interactivity compared to VR which is limited to a single user. It also doesn’t need any additional headgear to exclude the surrounding environment.
AR is most effective when it’s used in events to present and promote products and services at traditional trade exhibitions like the automotive sector, for example. You can now view every aspect of the car, including its interior when you’re standing 10 ft away. AR allows consumers to view the inside of a vehicle, discover its key stats, and even change its colour and features. If a car manufacturer holds a dealer conference or new car release, it’s able to maximise its options on display without the extra costs of additional space, which drives savings and allows a greater level of user interaction with an educational experience of the product. A great example of this is in the linked video below:
AR can be incredibly useful for companies, products and services with a strong physical and visual presence. It can be applied across many sectors including automotive, healthcare and fashion. If there’s a product involved in the event in question, AR can provide a more effective way to interact with the product for a larger audience.
The use of AR goes beyond just product demonstration for events, as you can also use it for the administration of events. The use of QR codes has been around for years now, but AR has made this simple idea more advanced. AR can be used for facial recognition to register attendees and can eliminate the need for tickets and apps which can be lost or not be compatible with outdated devices. Using facial recognition adds a certain futuristic element to an event as well as adding another level of security.
VR for events has had both positive and negative reviews. Some say it brings an anti-social element to events, but others argue that it has the benefit of allowing attendees to attend and experience an event without having to leave their own home. VR at events has begun to take hold where anyone who wears a headset is carried, visually to an event. Events can be time-consuming and expensive to attend, especially if there’s a lot of travel involved. As VR removes these constraints it opens up the event to a whole new audience.
Over the last few years, there’s been a massive increase in using VR and AR in games. Gamification encourages direct engagement at events and aids with the networking process. At events where education is a key factor, gamification makes the learning far more appealing to those using it. You can also improve product demonstrations with VR to give your audience an interactive experience. Previously it’s been difficult at events to allow everyone enough time with products, but with VR and the headsets each audience member can spend more time with a product and explore it at their own pace.
VR removes all the constraints of traditional events and experiences. Topshop even launched a ‘waterslide’ in their Oxford Street store to celebrate their summer season launch event- a perfect example of how bringing VR to your events can increase engagement as well as providing a perfect marketing tool. When the creative team at Topshop used VR to give their audience and shoppers the experience of riding a waterslide through the streets of London, they offered them an experience they’d never be able to have in real life, when really they were just on a basic slide in a shop.
VR brings a level of excitement and novelty as your customers have no expectations of the experience they’re going to have. It’s this experience like no other that’s the draw to having VR at events.
As companies strive to build greater levels of engagement with their audiences at events and with these technologies, VR and AR are becoming a key component. The days of simple presentations for products and services are coming to an end, with the increased use of AR to bring better visuals to the individual user. Bringing VR and AR to your events adds an extra level of value to your events, giving you the edge over your competition and ensuring maximum levels of engagement.
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Charlotte Allkins | Marketing Assistant
Charlotte is the Marketing Assistant for Helm, coming from a design background she loves creating all types of content. Discover more of here blogs, as well as, many others here!
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