Written by Alastair Reece, Head of DBpixelhouse

Last week, we wrote about the differences between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the more recent development in Virtual – Mixed Reality. We talked about the key strength of VR – its total immersion of a user in a different world – also being its Achilles heel, particularly in events, where immersive is powerful but engagement is critical.

Immersing a customer in a world can certainly engage them, but if you don’t get it right it can also disconnect them. We talked about the fact that Mixed Reality offers a way to alleviate this dissonance, by combining real and virtual and enabling brand ambassadors to become a part of the experience rather than a redundant bystander. But which might you use when, and how are they being used in the events world already?

Critically, as with any tech solution, it’s important to think about the type of experience being created and what its objectives are. Do you want to totally blow your customer’s mind by placing them deep in the bowels of your brilliant product, giving them an insight and educational journey that you couldn’t come close to without the medium of VR, but from which you are ultimately excluded, or do you want to be able to talk them through and walk them through, explaining and demonstrating, answering questions as you go.

Neither is “right”, just “right” for you. Do you want an experience which piques visitor’s interest, bringing them onto the stand, and then gives them an enjoyable, interactive gaming experience embedded with branding and laced with product information which educates whilst it entertains? Is the experience designed to be the starting point of a conversation about your product, or a complete educational tour? Are you using VR to demonstrate your product in action in a way you simply can’t achieve in real-life, or to imbue it with additional qualities which help tell your brand’s story more effectively. Or are you an event organiser, running a press conference or a Summit and looking to transform a live-stream session into something beyond impressive? Or perhaps a venue or a stand-designer wanting your customers to really experience the space you’re offering?

Starting with the objectives helps us to pin down what needs to be achieved and prevent the potential “for-the-sake-of-it” use of tech which never quite lives up to expectations. The exciting thing about virtual is that not even the sky is the limit – we can literally create any environment, producing endless opportunities for creativity. We’ve delivered virtual solutions at both ends of the immersive spectrum – from full room-scale, 360 vision fully-interactive branded environments which transport the user to another land, to screen and camera combinations which enable users to look more closely at the inner workings of a jet engine and delve into the layers of engineering and mechanics on-screen, with a guided tour

Meanwhile, in the USA, some conferences are beginning to equip delegates with headsets which, using Mixed Reality, could transform the setting of the event – propelling the speaker into space, as they deliver a talk about the history of the planets for example. Instead of powerpoint slides, the audience has a 3D room-scale view of each of the planets in turn.  Or the speaker is perhaps not even present in the room, but a 3D hologram, delivering a keynote remotely but in a far more engaging way than the flat on-screen method of old (which will suddenly seem so achingly old-fashioned!) Watching a live sports game, users could enjoy the benefits of watching a TV, with the pleasure of a live game – replaying a goal, calling up stats on a particular player for example, or concert-goers could manipulate the position of the performer and stage, so that they feel like they have a front-row seat.

A few years ago, there was a gold-rush on the development of apps for events. Coming soon, will be the rush of developers creating content to augment a visitor’s experience, using headsets instead of mobile. And you heard it here first.

To hear more about the use of VR and AR in events, check out EIN’s event tech talk. (Embedded at the top of the page)

Alastair Reece is Head of DBpixelhouse, experts in event technology and digital content for events. To learn more about DBpixelhouse visit https://www.dbsystems.co.uk/get_inspiration

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