Could virtual and augmented reality be the next big thing in the meetings and events industry?

By Barrett Cordero, President of BigSpeak, a world-leading office of speakers representing business icons, best-selling authors, thought leaders, and celebrities.

We know virtual meetings and events are here to stay, because our Fortune 1000 customers are booking for 2022 and beyond, and Zoom and Google Meet are going nowhere. But how will this technology evolve and what does it mean for meetings?

People have adapted to the recent paradigm shift from work from home. We are not far from the next iteration, which I think is immersive augmented reality (RA) and virtual reality (VR). It is the natural evolution of video capabilities.

Augmented reality technology provides an interactive and immersive experience that enhances the real-world objects in your environment with visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, or even olfactory components. On the other hand, virtual reality technology can simulate a completely different world or mimic real world experiences.

Millions already use AR / VR daily via smartphones, from Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok filters to playing Pokemon Go. To repeat, the technology is already here. Now it’s a matter of When the turning point occurs for mass application and adoption.

You may be wondering, what sense does AR / VR technology make and how can it be valuable to speakers, businesses and society at large?

Believe me when I say that virtual reality and virtual reality are applicable to any industry or business, including live entertainment, events, education and meetings. Surgeons use AR / VR to practice highly technical surgeries, therapists use it to desensitize phobia patients, companies can use it to offer virtual tours or to allow clients to try products and even car manufacturers l ‘used to give virtual lessons on how to repair the car. Airline pilots have been using it for decades! Now it’s just starting to become general.

What makes AR and VR valuable to the event and meeting industry is their practical nature and their ability to simulate live experiences. With AR / VR, the audience can learn, explore, and see up close things they should travel far. Having been docked inside due to the pandemic, people want nothing more than to actually experience instead of seeing.

We passively watch TV, computer, and phone screens all day long, but we want something newer, more exciting, and more interactive than that. Most keywords, whether face-to-face or virtual, are not interactive. People watch and listen, but do nothing. AR and VR could conduct a simple online webinar or regular event and make it an immersive and more memorable experience.

Like laptops, computers, and smartphones, he predicts that virtual reality headsets will be the next addition to the modern workplace. For example, Facebook’s Oculus Rift (now out of print) is around $ 300. It’s the same price as an iPad, but it offers a totally immersive experience. Think about it: a one-time investment of $ 300, unlike the average ticket for an event for $ 400 plus the cost of ground transportation, meals, and a hotel.

The good thing about AR / VR technology for events and meetings is that anyone can use it from anywhere in the world, including the comfort of their own home, eliminating the cost of travel and travel. For Fortune 500 companies, it’s not at all obvious. RV meetings will be more cost effective, good for education, and massively accessible.

For example, you could attend your entire 50,000-person staff, unlike your 500 top leaders who normally return to the staff and share what they learned. Instead, everyone in the company attends the immersive experience and listens to the messages and interacts in real time, on the day of. In addition, the company does not have to incur the cost of the trip in both dollars and time. This is extraordinarily powerful; this changes the game.

As a speaker office, my company knows that main speakers will use AR / VR in their presentations to suit the market. It’s more dynamic than a standard Zoom call or face-to-face presentation. Think of narratives through smells, visual and auditory channels; we anticipate something like Disneyland’s “Soarin’ Around the World ”or“ It’s Hard to Be an Insect ”excursions. RA and VR tools could also be used to teach hands-on lessons or simply to entertain during meetings. There is plenty of room for creativity and interaction.

Exploring the potential of having our staff implement AR / VR in our meetings, we imagine that we will play some games and do so from the comfort of home, without having to travel in the middle of winter, or from the east coast or wherever.

In some cases, AR / VR can replace face-to-face events; in other events, it may be supplementary. Face-to-face events will always be relevant and will continue to be more experiential, although RV meetings will increase and eventually may be the vast majority of meetings.

Now is the time for companies, event planners and speakers to start thinking in advance about the potential to increase their audience’s experience with virtual reality and for companies to take advantage of this highly attractive, entertaining economic solution. and futuristic for meetings, training, and events.

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