Implementing AR and VR in event management can help organizers provide an immersive and engaging experience to attendees.
Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies have already gained the confidence of the events management industry. According to a survey, about 88% of event organizers planned to use virtual reality solutions. Also, about 87% considered using augmented reality solutions to provide an entertaining and engaging experience to attendees. Clearly, these immersive technologies are in high demand in the events industry. But before you start investing in AR and VR in event management, here’s a look at some of the dos and don'ts of using these technologies.
Before businesses employ AR and VR solutions at events, they need to understand the basic concepts about the technologies. They must have insights into how these technologies function so that the technologies can be utilized to their potential. Some of the things businesses must be aware before implementing these technologies are:
Businesses should be aware of the technologies and what exactly each technology does. They must understand the pros and cons of augmented as well as virtual reality solutions. The businesses must then decide which solution would prove to be the best at an event exhibition. Both these technologies provide an immersive and interactive experience to the attendees, but one technology can prove better over the other depending on the type of business and the products displayed at the event.
The technologies are evolving rapidly, and businesses, too, must be aware of the latest developments in the sector. With both these technologies, the hardware and software both play a major role in their success or failure. Thus, businesses must be aware of the latest hardware and software options that can be utilized at the event.
Although AR and VR provide for an engaging and immersive experience, businesses must not use these technologies just as a gimmick. The technologies must be utilized to their full potential and must draw visitors, keeping them engaged in the experience. The product or feature demoed with these technologies must incite the user and potentially result in business and growth opportunities for the company. The demos shouldn’t feel gimmicky at the least, even if they don't turn out as engaging as they were intended to be.
Businesses must partner with a tech company that has expertise in AR and VR solutions. Often times, businesses adopt methods to cut down their spending on technologies. This can, however, do more harm than good for the company. Hence, businesses must be careful about choosing their technology provider. They can collaborate with a high-end solution provider and decide on the best possible immersive experience solutions for events. They can get a know-how of the ways the technologies can be utilized and determine which technology suits them the best at events and expos. Now that you have a better understanding of the technology, here’s how your business can leverage AR and VR solutions at events.
Augmented reality is relatively easier to implement than virtual reality solutions. A mobile device with augmented reality capabilities is enough to leverage the technology. Using augmented reality, businesses can project additional information about various products. Some of the ways augmented reality can be used at events are:
A mobile or a tablet with AR capabilities can be utilized to interact with the AR content. Device-based AR has a broader reach as most of the smartphones people carry today have AR capabilities. The individual only needs to open the AR app or scan a code to enjoy the AR content. For example, individuals can use device-based AR on their mobile phones to project a car model on display and view it in multiple colors. They can get information about the various parts of the vehicle, too, by clicking on the respective items. Device-based AR is the most economical AR solution as it requires a minimum investment in hardware.
Wearable AR devices include smart glasses like Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens. Such smart glasses can overlay virtual information onto the real world. Wearable AR devices provide the most immersive augmented reality experience. Wearers can easily move their heads and hands as wearable AR devices are non-obtrusive. Businesses will, however, need to invest in the hardware for providing attendees an immersive augmented reality experience with wearable devices.
Transparent AR-capable screens are the most advanced form of augmented reality solutions. Transparent AR technology utilizes a transparent OLED display to project a three-dimensional environment over a 2D screen. Viewers can have a 360-degree experience of immersive experience without the need for a mobile phone or a smart glass.
Virtual reality provides for a far more engaging and enriching experience than augmented reality. With virtual reality, users can experience a different place altogether without physically being there. Or it can be used to enable individuals to attend an event at the comfort of their homes virtually. Virtual reality enables a 360-degree immersive and engaging experience. Users can be provided in-depth information about the product they see on display. For example, car manufacturers can use virtual reality to transport an individual to their workshop to enlighten them about how the cars are actually made. An infrastructure-based business can use virtual reality to showcase how their products can actually be utilized on-site. The benefits of using virtual reality over augmented reality include minimal distractions, better engagement, and a better graphical environment. The only downside of virtual reality is the need for VR devices.
A number of businesses have already leveraged augmented reality solutions at their events. These solutions have proved useful in engaging the audiences and keeping them hooked. Here’s a look at how Cirque du Soleil utilized augmented reality solutions in preparation for their stage shows.
Cirque du Soleil has teamed up with Microsoft to leverage augmented reality in their stage shows. They employ Microsoft Hololens to design sets and plan shows. With augmented reality solutions, event planners and organizers can virtually place objects in real-world environments. The choreographers and directors can then choreograph dance sequences around these virtual objects. Planning a show usually takes eighteen to twenty-four months. A large portion of the time is spent in set designing and how the performers will interact with the various set elements. With augmented reality, the time required for set designing and choreographing sequences is expected to reduce drastically.
Virtual reality has the power to transport an individual into a virtual world and provide a 360-degree immersive experience. Budweiser came up with the Budweiser beer garage concept to enthrall audiences at SXSW 2016 using virtual reality solutions.
At SXSW 2016, Budweiser brewed an immersive experience for visitors using virtual reality. With virtual reality headsets, attendees were given a virtual tour of the Budweiser brewing plant. The virtual reality solution provided for an immersive 4D experience. Attendees could experience scent, sound, and wind effects as they moved around in the brewery. They could even smell the hops that are used in beer production. This provided for an inciting sensory experience to the attendees. “We wanted to create an inspiring environment that showcased how we have been using digital innovation to create relevant and tech-forward ways for consumers to experience our brands in all parts of their lives,” says Tina Wung, director of digital strategy and innovation at Anheuser-Busch InBev.
The use of AR and VR in event management can transform the way individuals experience events. Although augmented reality faces many challenges, the major challenge of using augmented reality and virtual reality in event management is the limitation of one’s own imagination. Augmented reality and virtual reality can be used in every aspect of the events management industry as envisioned by event organizers. These solutions can help keep attendees engaged and provide them a ‘wow-ing’ experience.
Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.