By Louisa Toyer & Isabelle O’Brien
The events industry is fast paced, high pressure, and constantly evolving. With clients wanting more bang for their buck, and attendees begging for more engaging, interactive content how can events professionals keep delivering outstanding and appealing events?
One answer to this challenge is the incorporation of virtual reality into events. While it is a relatively new technology, virtual reality is moving out of the realm of entertainment and is creating new paths for immersive interactions that can be customised for new user experiences.The novelty of Virtual Reality at events also allows it to have a greater impact on attendees, making a more memorable experience.
Two examples of how to incorporate Virtual Reality into your events are to have virtual vendor demos and using virtual venues.
Virtual Vendor Demonstrations
Virtual vendor demonstrations typically include the use of virtual reality technology, such as the Oculus Rift (pictured below) to create a higher level of interaction between stallholder/product and visitor in a small space than would have previously been possible.
Using the virtual reality technology would allow for smoother stall set up and more modern presentation as there would not be the need to bring high quantities of stock or large structures, as everything needed would be displayed in the content.
For example, at a travel exhibition a travel agent could use a virtual reality headset to transport attendees to a beach in Hawaii, or the streets of New York City or a furniture wholesaler could use it to show a virtual display room.
Virtual venues will soon become more prevalent in the event management sector. Virtual venues can be created using 360 degree video cameras, which allow for a recording of the event that is more immersive for those attending virtually – rather than just viewing a webinar, or a livestream, the attendee will be able to manoeuvre their phone or tablet to be able to see around the venue.
Such technology has been used at the European music festival Tomorrowland (if you are using a chrome browser, you can check it out yourself here – just click and drag on the arrows to see the entire festival). This technology will be able to be implemented in events ranging from birthday parties to music festivals to nation wide expo’s.
Virtual Reality technology will allow event managers to boost profitability, lower expenses, as well as reach and exceed registration targets by opening up access to the event to people internationally, without them having to physically travel to the event.
An added bonus to this, is that virtual reality technology will make the event more engaging and interactive than a simple live stream or webinar.
While the limitations include only being able to display the content to one individual at a time, the increased engagement of each user could easily be a valuable asset and shows how Virtual Reality is worth looking into for use in future event planning.