Why You Need Mixed Reality at Your Next Event
With so much vying for the attention of your audience today, it is more important than ever to create an experience at your events that will captivate and engage guests. Depending on the type of event you are at, you may not only have to compete with other vendors and scheduled programming, but you will have to tear your audience away from their phones and the demands of the email or social media, forcing them to focus on you and your products. Mixed reality can help you enhance the guest experience at your event, leaving your audience awe-struck and inspired.
Simply put, mixed reality refers to the scope of technologies currently available to create a variety of virtual experiences and compositions using real-world and digital spaces. The spectrum of mixed reality technology options is known as the Mixed Reality Continuum and contains four primary categories: real environment, augmented reality, augmented virtuality, and virtual reality. Each category integrates physical and virtual objects together to create a unique experience, the difference is in how much of the world created is digitally-generated. In addition to covering the range of experiences available, the phrase mixed reality can also be used in reference to an independent technology or concept that blends virtual and physical elements.
Mixed Reality Events
There are many benefits of mixed reality at a variety of events. Regardless of whether you and your organization are the only benefactors of the event or you are partaking as one of many exhibitors at a trade show, incorporating VR technology to create a new experience for your audience will produce a memorable and unique platform to help you stand out from all others in your space. Just like the technology itself, the advantages of using virtual technologies are continuously expanding. However, there are a few important reasons to consider using virtual reality at events.
Any good marketer or salesperson will be the first to tell you that creating word-of-mouth buzz and excitement around your product or services is one of the best ways to attract new customers. Integrating mixed reality technology into the pitch of your products at an event or trade show will help you connect with attendees and give them something to talk about. Fortunately, mixed reality technologies and the experiences they create are still somewhat of a novelty so many people at the event will be eager to give it a try. Not only will this build your reputation within the event and venue, but if users share their interaction with the technology on social media, you will continue to reach an audience far from and long after the event. In some cases, you may even be able to access and harvest the content that attendees generate and post on social media at a later time to create marketing materials to use in campaigns or at other events.
Once you have compelled people to come to check out what you have to offer, keeping their attention is crucial, especially at large events with multiple vendors such as conferences or trade shows. Without technology, many have been left to ply their audience with silly games or snacks just to keep them in their space long enough to hear a pitch. Mixed reality technologies, however, do all the work for you. Once word gets out about the experience you have developed, people will be lining up to give it a try themselves, and this is where your biggest opportunity lies. Guests will be eager to try your mixed reality environment, but while they wait you can use the time to provide demonstrations of your product and have meaningful conversations with your guests about the problems your product can solve for them.
Trade shows and conferences are still very popular in many industries because they can help organizations to launch new products and initiatives or showcase updates and features of existing ones. In some industries, however, it can be difficult to highlight the benefits of a product or create a meaningful hands-on experience and so companies are left to display a marketing video about it. While it may be effective in communicating the features, two-dimensional content is not an engaging way to interact with your customers, and you will find that they quickly lose interest and move onto the next thing.
In addition to using mixed reality to grab and keep your audience’s attention, you can also use it to develop a hands-on product interaction that won’t just tell a customer what your product can do but will let them experience it for themselves. In a completely customized virtual environment, your guests will be able to experience the capabilities of your product offerings and give them a new level of understanding about what you can do for them.
Tips for Augmented Reality Events
While leveraging this new immersive technology is an exciting opportunity to engage with your customers in a completely new way, it is important to be careful in how you choose to implement augmented reality technology at your next event. There are a few guidelines to be aware of as you consider how you will integrate mixed reality technology at your events.
Understand the technology. It may seem obvious, but the first step to integrating new and complex technology is to develop a deeper understanding of what it is capable of and how it works. Not only will this help to keep your expectations in check regarding what is feasible for you to create, but it will help you communicate more effectively with vendors, event planners, and other stakeholders about what is needed to make your plans come to fruition. Be sure you have a firm grasp on what mixed reality is and is not, as well as the ways in which it can be delivered including:
- Device-based: One of the simplest ways to create and enjoy a mixed reality experience is to deploy is as a device-based scenario. To access it, one would only need a smartphone or tablet equipped with the program or application in order to interact with the environment around them. This technology has become one of the most popular mixed reality experiences in the past few years with apps such as Pokémon GO. As the most accessible form of mixed reality, it is perfect for the events industry.
- Wearable: As the name suggests, wearable mixed reality requires the users to wear a piece of technology in order to partake in the virtual experience. An augmented reality wearable will still allow the user to see their immediate real-world environment with virtual elements overlaid, whereas a virtual reality wearable will transport them to an entirely new world. These devices are one of the most immersive ways to experience mixed reality as users are able to move their heads and use their hands.
- Mirror: Using a reflective surface to display additional imagery or information, mirror mixed realities is one of the less immersive options available. However, they are able to provide a number of benefits to certain industries. For example, you might be a mirror reality device in a hair salon or clothing store which allows customers to view and “try on” different styles without making any real changes. In an event setting, mirror realities can help draw a crowd, entertain guests, and demonstrate products depending on your offerings.
- Transparent: Perhaps the most stunning and advanced of the mixed reality displays are those used for transparent augmented reality. Using transparent LED or OLED displays, the technology is able to create a completely virtual, three-dimensional environment and elements. Guests are able to view the display from all angles without the need to wear a mixed reality headset or use their phones. Not only is it awe-inspiring and attention-grabbing, but in an event space, you would be able to create immersive product demonstrations.
Make Sure it Adds Value. Being without a technology-enabled experience might be better than having one that does not add value to your presentation. During the planning and design phases of your mixed reality environment, be sure that the concept aligns with the rest of your presentation. If it does not, or you are unable to communicate its relation to your offerings clearly, your guests may become confused about what it is you do, or worse, you may create an unforgettable experience that completely excludes you from memory.
Start Simple. Learning how to leverage mixed reality technologies to engage your audience successfully won’t happen overnight. Just as with other marketing techniques, you will need to test and adjust a number of iterations before you find what works best. To that end, it is best to start simple and build on the experience from there. This will also help you ensure that the technological aspects of the event work properly and seamlessly before creating more opportunities for complex realities.
Find the Right Partner. Despite your best attempts, you likely won’t be able to become an expert in all of the mixed reality technologies available which is why finding a technology partner you can trust is critical to the success of your virtual experience. An experienced vendor will know all of the intricacies of each type of virtual experience and be able to help you ideate, design, and build your creation. This can help you save time, as opposed to create the various elements yourself while keeping you informed of the status of the project.
Working with Vario Reality
At Vario, we work with clients to create unique event experiences that will delight and inspire guests using a variety of tools and technologies. That is why we have developed our newest offerings, Vario Reality. Using cutting edge applications that are completely customizable to your event needs, we can help upgrade your guest experience with rich, enticing, and immersive content while enhancing the sales process to produce your most successful event yet.
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 mixed reality headset or walking into a designated space. Our virtual reality stations are presented in stunning 4K and equipped with a heart-pounding soundtrack that will fully immerse your guests in a new experience. Our AR 360 technology, on the other hand, is specifically designed for the meetings industry to help differentiate your marketing and branding from those around you in a crowded space by creating a new space with 360-degree videos.
Contact us today to start developing a unique and exciting interactive experience at your next event. Our team is well-versed in all mixed reality technologies and will guide you through the process of selecting, designing, and building your next great mixed reality event.