May 19, 2016 - From a young age we're taught that humans perceive the world through five senses. What is perceived is then translated into experiences, which make up reality as we know it. Virtual reality presents these senses with a computer-generated environment that is, to some extent, explorable.
A term most commonly associated with the gaming world, virtual reality has in recent years expanded its practical capabilities. Every year, it comprises a large part of the Google I/O conference and in the world of event technology, the notion of using VR to enhance attendees' experiences has itself become a reality.
The Evolution of VR
The end of 2015 saw the largest boom of VR products in the marketplace. A few notable companies that have entered the field include Facebook with their $2 billion dollar purchase of the Oculus Rift, Sony with the PlayStation VR, and HTC's Vive. So what has drawn these big players to the virtual reality game?
The initial inspiration behind virtual reality technology was to revolutionize the gaming world, as indicated by the Oculus Rift's successful $2.4 million Kickstarter campaign. However, it's the potential for innovation in using this tech that's got the industry in a frenzy. After his company purchased the Oculus Rift, Mark Zuckerberg wrote on virtual reality, "One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people." There are already multiple developments underway that use virtual reality for education, applications, marketing, and storytelling.
Incorporating Virtual Reality into Events
Technological advancements have forever changed the event industry. Imagine being fully immersed in an idea, a product, or a company's cause, all while remaining in a central location. Virtual reality makes this all possible, and allows brands to re-imagine how they communicate their message.
According to Smart Meetings, "virtual reality’s most obvious benefit is that it puts prospective clients, including planners, into any physical location—without viewers having to be physically present." For brands, the ability to fully immerse prospective buyers in products provides a more enjoyable experience for the consumer. Furthermore, it better allows them to visualize how this product could affect their life. Layar's report on consumers and VR demonstrated a 135% increase in the likelihood that a consumer would make a purchase when they saw an augmented reality version of the product.
Imagine putting on an event without the costs of finding an arena and managing tangible arrangements. Instead, replace that with the simple cost of renting a server to host the event. There's the chance that virtual reality could eventually take the place of physical venues. People all around the world could attend events from the comfort of their own home, which means your event would be more accessible to an infinitely larger audience.
Storytellers are currently developing methods of using virtual reality to change how an audience receives stories. For example, at Sundance's New Frontier event, attendees wearing VR headsets were greeted by sci-fi themed movie scenery as they wandered into the exhibit. The event took place at multiple venues, and included feature films, installations, and live performances. These experiences combine the immersive elements of virtual reality with the creative aspects of storytelling.
Virtual reality can offer attendees, organizers, and marketers an entirely new form of engaging entertainment, having influence on buyer intent while saving on costs and extending brand reach.
How do you plan on using this technology at your next event? Tweet @EventbaseTech and let us know!
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