The future is now! The reality of virtual reality in conferences and events
From holograms, facial recognition, artificial intelligence, mixed reality worlds and more the last few years have seen truly impressive technological developments. We are now living in the futures predicted by the likes of Arthur C Clarke and George Orwell!
For the events industry, this brings with it a whole host of new and exciting possibilities to engage delegates, slicken management processes, and satisfy clients. By 2020, it is predicted that both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality platforms will have revenues topping $120 billion and create a dramatic upheaval in every industry on earth. This includes the conference and events industry where these technologies have already started to break through and disrupt the norm. Here at UKSV, we’re particularly excited about the opportunities which Virtual Reality and Augmented reality bring to the party…
So what are VR and AR?
Virtual Reality immerses users in three-dimensional computer-generated simulations of images or environments which can be explored and interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way. Devices like the Oculus Rift and the PlayStation VR have made the general public more familiar with this technology which is continuing to develop and become more accessible.
Augmented Reality, as the name suggests, superimposes computer-generated images sound or text onto real-world environments. Often used on smartphones, some of the most popular examples of AR include Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters.
But how will these platforms be used in events?
We’re big fans of gamification, a trend which has now well and truly cemented itself in the conference and events space. Gamification is powerful in incentivising delegates and helping them make meaningful engagements at your event.
As has been proven with the popularity of Pokémon Go, augmented reality is a powerful platform for gaming. The fact that you can almost guarantee that every attendee at any given event will have a smartphone in their pocket to allow them to access the virtual worldwill enhance gamification at conferences, leading delegates on journeys to find information by unlocking QR codes and engage with events in new and exciting ways.
It’s our prediction that VR will soon add another dimension to speaker slots and presentations. As VR can be used to replicate real and imagined environments for us to explore, we foresee the platform being used for educational purposes and demonstrations – enabling staff and customers to visualise the future and have their say before it becomes a reality. Imagine virtual reality presentations – pop on a headset and be guided through an interactive and visual representation on a company’s future; from new buildings, sales plans, product developments and more, the options are almost limitless.
The last few years have seen a shift in people’s expectations as delegates have come to expect more individualised and personal experiences. AR and VR will be powerful tools in ensuring each attendee feels like they are uniquely involved in your event.
AR has the capabilities to register attendees through facial recognition. This means that there’ll be no more need for digital or paper tickets, as the individual themselves will be their own ticket – what’s more personalised than that! This will also slicken processes as delegates will no longer need to be responsible for remembering their paper or digital tickets – simply get their face scanned and away they go.
In 2018, Jabil conducted an Augmented and Virtual Trends Survey which predicted that it will be another three to five years before we’ll experience true, unconstrained AR/VR applications. Judging by its current potential, the capabilities and possibilities of VR and AR within events seem almost limitless and we’re looking forward to utilising them more and more for our own clients.