Published on April 2nd, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Can AR Breathe New Life into Industry Events?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic there were signs that the big event style of conference was in trouble. Shrinking budgets, overwhelming logistics and many other variables were making conferences less of a priority. This post by Emil Alon at AR Insider offers a perspective on how AR and VR could dramatically change the event experience and perhaps for good even after the world weathers the coronavirus. For tech conferences, this seems like a no-brainer anyway. They should “walk the talk” by proving how emergent technology can solve issues like costly physical events. Attend your next event in VR and you may never stand in a crowded conference expo again.
Conferences and events have historically presented excellent opportunities for businesses of all kinds to get out and network and learn from industry experts. They enable collaboration across topics of all kinds; from branding and lead generation to industry education. During an unprecedented pandemic like what the world is currently experiencing, we need to look to new ways to approach these events that enable the same kind of innovation and relationship building while being mindful of everyone’s health and wellbeing.
The costs often associated with both planning and attending industry events can be staggering. They often take a year or more to line up. For businesses, it can really add up between buying booth space, travel expenses for teams, and developing the collateral to present. It’s often one of the largest line items in a marketing budget. As marketers get more and more pressure to keep costs under control and show ROI, event participation has come under more scrutiny.
There have been many attempts to do more digitally by offering videos and virtual events such as
webinars. But these tend to be one-off experiences that don’t provide all the social and collaboration benefits of in-person events. Until recently, this social element has been very hard to replicate digitally.
Augmented and virtual reality have the potential to bring valuable change to this industry by delivering highly immersive, collaborative digital experiences with all the social benefits of events. These technologies are able to gather detailed data that can be used to personalize event content and participation for each company or each participant segment. Like many new technologies, AR and VR went through an early phase when the cost and complexity of implementing solutions for use cases such as events were prohibitive. It often required significant development budgets and large ongoing maintenance costs just to produce one application that wasn’t always scalable. However, today’s fully productized immersive solutions offer highly accurate and precise AR technology plus administrative tools and flexible business models that make it easier to implement, manage and scale.
With the right combination of VR and AR software, any event venue can be transformed into an
intelligent digital environment and once digitized, can provide event marketers with the ability to inject an ongoing stream of new content and immersive experiences. Not only are AR events immersive, but they can also be much more efficient to produce & manage. Once a venue is digitized, content can be injected into the space remotely, access can be managed via an administrative tool remotely, and administrators gain detailed data analytics that can serve to improve content, customize experiences and create event efficiencies.