What is Mixed Reality?
Ever-evolving technologies continue to rapidly produce new event elements that can be incorporated into your next production. Developing a deep understanding of such applications will help ensure that you are selecting the best and most appropriate technology for each unique event that you plan. Most recently, there has been a surge in the use of these technologies at all types of events from corporate meetings and conferences to social and entertainment productions. As a result, guests and attendees expect more from the vendors they work with to plan an event that will captivate their attention.
Though transforming your event from ordinary to extraordinary can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Mixed reality is an increasingly popular trend that can be seamlessly introduced to a variety of events to fascinate and delight your guests. Utilizing a single technological concept or a combination of multiple, mixed reality is designed to transport event attendees from a physical reality to a new extended reality or virtual experience.
So Really…What is Mixed Reality?
The term mixed reality actually has a variety of definitions. When used in reference to an independent concept, it indicates the combination of both virtual and augmented reality technologies. This category is primarily made up of digital spaces which integrate real-world objects or people dynamically into the virtual world to create new environments where the physical and digital objects can coexist and interact in real-time.
However, the phrase can also be used to classify the whole scope of reality technologies currently available and all possible variations or compositions of real and virtual objects. The continuum of what the phrase mixed reality covers ranges from a completely real and natural environment to a fully virtual platform.
Types of Mixed Reality
As indicated by the flexibility of the term itself, there are a few different types of mixed reality which could be incorporated into the design and interaction of an event. This is known as the Mixed Reality Continuum and understanding it will help you to clearly communicate the expectations and design of incorporating these technologies into your events.
Real Environment Also referred to as a natural environment, these events only utilize objects from the natural world around us. This can encompass all living things and non-living objects which are physically present in the event space. This lack of technology can help your guests focused on what you are presenting, though you may find it difficult to keep their attention for long if there are competing elements around you. Typically, virtual environments are modeled after real ones with their designs meant to reflect what would be seen in the real world accurately.
Augmented Reality Taking a step forward into the digital sphere, augmented reality events incorporate some aspect of the virtual world into the physical one. In the spectrum of reality technologies, the resulting environment is closer in makeup to the real world than a virtual one because the users remain in the natural environment. However, the implemented technology enhances their experience of the world using virtually created visuals, sounds, and other elements that appeal to the senses. This can be accomplished by layering virtual information or graphics on top of a user’s view of a live scene.
Augmented Virtuality A virtual environment in which physical objects are projected into a computer-generated one, augmented virtuality is essentially the inverse of augmented reality. Though the two environments both contain both physically real and virtually created components, this environment layers real objects over the digital world. For example, when designing a new home, you may construct a virtual representation of it. Then using augmented virtuality, you could visualize and interact with virtual furniture or appliances to easily manipulate different layouts.
Virtual Reality Finally, virtual reality is designed with the aim of providing users with total immersion in the digital world. This heightened sense of digital realness is distinct from other technologies on the Mixed Reality Continuum because it requires stimulation of all of the user’s senses at once to create the illusion of being in a completely different environment than the one they are physically present in. In essence, the technology is able to confuse or trick the brain into accepting the digitally synthetic environment as a real one. Though the virtual environment users inhabit may or may not accurately mimic the properties of the real world, Recreating virtual representations of actual objects, such as people or natural landscapes, enhances the immersion of users.
In addition to the different types of experiences, there are also different ways to interact with the technology, including device-based or wearables, each with their own benefits and challenges when integrating them into an event. For example, device-based experiences is one of the simplest and fastest ways to deploy a mixed reality experience because it only needs a smartphone or tablet to engage with the virtual content. In contrast, a wearable requires the user to wear virtual reality headsets, allowing them to see their immediate real-world environment with virtual elements overlaid.
Understanding the intricacies of these different immersive technologies is critical to their implementation. Each type of experience has a wealth of benefits, but also a set of limitations that will hinder what you can achieve with it. When making a selection, consider the environment you want to create and your goal in doing so. With a plan in place, you will be able to work with a consultant to design the perfect mixed reality experience for your event.
Mixed Reality at Events
Beyond the wow factor of the technology itself, there are a number of reasons you to present a mixed reality experience at your next event. Whether you are the sole sponsor of an event or one of the hundreds of exhibitors at a trade show, incorporating mixed reality will create a memorable experience for your guests and help you stand out from the crowd. While the list of benefits to using this technology is near limitless and continuously expanding, here are some of the top reasons to use virtual reality at events.
1. Interaction with Products
For many, seeing is believing is why many companies still partake in trade shows and conferences to help launch new products or showcase updates to existing ones. Traditional product demonstrations have been limited in their capabilities to allow the attendees to actually interact with the product, especially in certain industries. In those cases, a video has often been utilized to display the product to an audience. However, video is not an immersive experience and can only captivate an audience’s attention for a short period of time.
The interactive nature of augmented or virtual realities, on the other hand, allows visitors to explore your product on a completely new level of understanding. They will be able to experience the capabilities of what you are offering firsthand, helping them to imagine life with the product and the problems it would solve.
2. Attract an Audience
In addition to showcasing your products and their features, mixed reality can help create buzz and excitement around your event or exhibit onsite as well as on social media. By encouraging event attendees to interact with your content and share their experience, you will be able to attract and connect with a broader audience beyond those who chose to attend the event. You may even be able to access the user-generated content at a later time for other content marketing campaigns in regards to your products or other events you will be present at.
3. Engage & Entertain
The success of any event hinges on your ability to not only attract attention but keep them engaged and entertained long enough to hear what it is that you can offer. Traditionally, you might try to play a game loosely related to your products or pitch, offer a demonstration, or implore guests with food and drink to convince them to stick around long enough. Mixed reality, however, is still a novelty for many and they will want to experience the magic of it without any convincing on your part.
When implementing mixed reality technology at an event, however, it is critical that you find the right consultant or partner to work with in order to bring your vision to life. While you should have an understanding of the available technologies, an experienced vendor will know the ins and outs of what is feasible and how to help you create for your event. Plus, allowing your technology partner to develop the virtual elements as needed means that you will remain free to focus on other pertinent details for your event.
At Vario, we know that everyone who interacts with an event, from planners and marketers to attendees and stakeholders, expects to be inspired and wowed with technological capabilities. That is why we have worked to create cutting edge applications that are customizable for your event needs. We can help take your event to the next level with virtual and augmented realities that will upgrade your guest experience with rich, enticing, and immersive content while enhancing the sales process.
Vario Reality allows you to transport your guests to an entirely new environment, whether selected from our pre-built scenes or customized specifically for your event, by simply putting on a headset. Our virtual reality stations are presented in stunning 4K and equipped with a heart-pounding soundtrack that will fully immerse your guests. Our newest experience, AR 360, is specifically designed for the meetings industry and can help you differentiate your marketing and branding from those around you in a crowded space.
Contact us today for help creating a unique and exciting interactive offering at your next event. Our team is well-versed in all mixed reality technologies and will guide you through the process of selecting and building your next great experience.