Events Council Blog

Virtual Reality: Delivering the Augmented Events Experience

Jun 07, 2017

Consider this: By the year 2020, 350 million people will have access to virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) technology; a market segment that is projected to be worth roughly $120 billion.

To some, that can seem like a lofty projection. But consider the fact that audiences today are much more demanding than ever before. They aren’t satisfied with just content—what they crave is the ultimate experience. They are looking for methods of storytelling and content consumption that are delivered in a more powerful and compelling manner. Such demands speak directly to the use of VR/AR technology.

For professionals in the events industry, the question then becomes – How will the rise of VR/AR technology could impact live events? Wilson Tang, VP of Digital Experience with FreemanXP, believes that impact comes in the form of augmenting current event strategies.

At the recent Events Industry Council Spring meeting in Dallas, Tang spoke to Council delegates about the various ways that event professionals can use VR/AR in order to augment their face-to-face events.

For example, those in the airline industry could use virtual reality to provide the experience of walking through a jet engine and explore how it’s made and the way in which it operates—all through a virtual experience. As another example, virtual reality technology like Google Tilt can be used by professionals in the art industry can create 3D artwork as an experience at events.

Along with the many different social applications for virtual reality, and training programs that can be created to help your members and attendees practice real-life interactions, building the case for using the technology seemingly gets stronger by the day.

FreemanXP is using VR to conduct site surveys to show meeting professionals spaces and venues. This means that professionals can provide an experience to create custom tours of hotels and meeting spaces in VR. In fact, in the future, virtual reality could play such a primary role in planning that you could avoid traveling for site visits or reduce multiple site visits.

FreemanXP is also using virtual reality to design where they can design booth spaces and provide a virtual reality walk through of booth spaces in the design phase to help review and approve booth designs with vendors. As event professionals begin to think about the use of virtual reality applications, Freeman showcases a range of different use cases here.

When building a strategy, Tang suggest to consider all aspects of the current landscape, including:

As VR/AR continues to change the world around us, event professionals should look to the technology to create new digital worlds that look—and ultimately feel—real to audiences.