Remember how Keanu Reeves was transported to that white space with all the guns in The Matrix? That’s real now: You can transport your event attendees there with augmented reality and virtual reality for events.
From Pokemon GO to “dog face” Instagram filters and IKEA furniture planning, AR and VR tech is all around us.
But what does that have to do with events?
In this article, we’ll cover…
- The difference between AR and VR
- Why you should consider using them
- The latest trends in AR and VR
- Specific ideas for how to use them at events
- Where you can get your hands on AR and VR tech
What is the difference between AR and VR?
The two terms are often (and erroneously) used interchangeably. While both technologies rely on virtual images and animations, there are a few key differences between the two.
1. Augmented Reality (AR)
AR adds one or more visual layers on top of what you already see in the real world. Think Snapchat filters and Pokemon GO. It also requires less equipment than VR does.
2. Virtual Reality (VR)
VR doesn’t rely on the world around you. Instead, it transports you to an entirely new and virtual location. It requires special equipment, such as a headset, gloves, sticks, and olfactory devices.
Benefits of using AR and VR reality at events
It can seem like overkill to splash the cash from your event budget on expensive technology. But you might change your mind once you know how awesome (and affordable) it actually is.
1. Add extra layers to your event
AR can add visual layers to your event that will enhance the sensory experience of your attendees. Imagine how much they will talk about your event afterwards.
2. Set yourself apart from the competition
If you’re working in a very competitive space (which most of us are), you can gain an edge over your competition by being one of the few organisers using AR and VR at their events.
3. Be at the forefront of new technology
There are many sceptics in the events industry, Not all event organisers will jump at the opportunity to use AR and VR. Be a first-mover and show that you’re in the loop.
4. Don’t break the bank
AR and VR trends in 2019
Both technologies have been around for some time, but it looks like AR will surpass VR in 2020 and beyond.
Key facts and figures about AR and VR
Here are some facts and figures related to AR and VR:
- Most AR users are aged 16–34
- The AR market is currently worth $3.5 billion
- AR will make more money than VR by 2020
- There will be a billion AR users by 2020
- The majority of consumers think AR is beneficial
- The majority of marketers will spend money on AR and VR
Future trends in AR and VR
And here are some of the trends in AR and VR you can expect to see:
- Education: Students and staff can run through virtual training simulations.
- Shopping: Customers will view products in their homes before buying them.
- Entertainment: Film and games will merge with virtual reality.
- Collaboration: Virtual workspaces will revolutionise collaboration.
- Driving: Vehicles equipped with AR can show visual traffic updates.
Ideas for how to use AR and VR at events
So how can you use augmented reality and virtual reality for live events? Well, you’d be surprised how many options you have…
1. Virtual attendance
It’s not always possible or worth it to travel across the world for an event. But virtual reality will soon allow people to attend events without being there physically…and still not miss a thing. In fact, virtual reality meetings for business conferences are already becoming a thing.
Tip: Read about how virtual attendance is changing events in 2019 and beyond.
2. Virtual venues
You’ve probably checked out a panorama view of a hotel or two from their website. That’s a basic example of virtual venues. Imagine how easy it would be to plan an event that way.
3. Virtual tours
Virtual venues are not just for planning. They’re also a great way to give tours. You can even enhance the tours with added sensory stimuli like smell and touch with the right equipment.
4. Augmented experiences
AR devices, headsets, glasses and contact lenses can literally add an extra layer to your event space. Pair it with your event software to add virtual signage on top of what your attendees see.
Tip: Check out how a smartphone can add layers on top of what you’re already looking at.
5. Live results
Events relying on donors and sponsors can ask them to don a VR headset and see the results of their support. Transport them to a remote location where they can experience it first hand.
Tip: Read this article to understand the deep impact VR experiences can have on donors.
6. Virtual name tags and business cards
Networking is important, but remembering names is difficult. AR can solve that problem with virtual name tags and extremely cool business cards you can see with a smartphone.
Tip: Check out SnapCard’s AR business cards and start saving up money for your own.
7. Product features
There are only so many product features you can demonstrate to customers at a trade show or a business conference. But AR allows you to show them all the product features and then some.
Tip: Look at this long list of retail companies that have used AR to show product features.
Everyone loves a good game (especially if there’s a neat prize). Both AR and VR open the doors to next-level gamification of your event. Have attendees compete in a virtual space.
Tip: Learn how you can increase audience engagement with AR gamification.
9. Photo booths
Photo booths are a staple at many events, but AR technology takes it up a notch. Attendees can easily change the background and add both images and animations to their photos.
How to set up AR and VR at events
If you’re sold on either concept, it’s time to look at some companies that can help you set it up for your next event.
Check out these AR and VR rental companies:
Ready for the future?
Augmented reality and virtual reality for events are a great way to spice things up. Although they may currently be a bit pricey for smaller events, they’re bound to become cheaper in the coming years.
Got some first-hand experience with either AR or VR? Leave us a comment in the section below and let us know what you think of it.