By Jose Antonio Tejedor, CEO and founder, Virtway Events
We are seeing many areas of our lives become digitalised; from the way we interact with our friends and colleagues to how we manage our finances. The world of conferences is no exception, and many event organisers have been experimenting with innovative technologies to improve the conference experience.
3D virtual world technology is one example that has excited many in the sector. This technology can recreate physical conference spaces in the digital world and provide people with avatars through which they can interact with each other and the environment.
3D world technology offers an immersive solution
Other technologies, such as videoconferencing have also attempted to digitalise the conference experience. However, the outcome in this particular instance is often sub-standard, with users not being able to use the same physical and spatial cues that they would in real life. They are often low quality, and do not live up to the promise of feeling like you’re in the same room.
A conference organised in a 3D virtual environment, however, is truly immersive and represents the closest thing to recreating the traditional conference experience. 3D avatars and 3D VOIP technology allows attendees to interact with one another in a natural way – being able to talk, react and move around as they would in the physical world. For instance, should two attendees wish to discuss an issue in private, they’ll be able to break away from a larger group to find an appropriate location out of earshot of other participants; something which isn’t easily done when videoconferencing.
Virtual conferences are easily adaptable and scalable
The technology is incredibly adaptable, and the spaces can be scaled to the requirements of the organisers. If you wanted, you could host a meeting in another country, or even another planet.
In most instances, 3D virtual conferences aren’t limited by venue capacity; delegates can simply log in from their own device in a place that is convenient for them. Similarly, being hosted in the digital realm, organisers don’t have to think about parking or public transport connections either, as attendees aren’t required to travel to the event.
This is economically beneficial as a conference will be able scale without having to pay larger fees.
More people may attend the events
Physical conferences can be costly and timely. Employees take a lot of time out of their professional and personal lives, which can discourage delegates from wanting to go as they may have work or personal commitments that take precedent over attending a conference.
Virtual conferences will not suffer from this problem, users are immediately transported to the conference without having to physically travel there. They can also log in and out at their convenience, reducing dead time and fitting attending an event seamlessly into their daily workflows.
As such, many delegates – who may’ve not been able to justify the logistical or financial cost of going to a conference – may now choose to go to an event, due to the ease of attendance provided by 3D virtual world technology.
Does this spell the end of the traditional conference?
Despite their benefits, virtual events will not entirely replace the need for physical conferences. Of course, face-to-face meetings will always be better in certain instances. It is easier to make connections and develop longer term relationships through face-to-face meetings.
Does this increase in digital conferences herald the end of the physical conference? Probably not, but it is likely we will see more, smaller conferences go online to help increase participation through lesser costs for the organisers and delegates.
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