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How Will Virtual and Augmented Reality Affect the Event Industry?

Planners give their thoughts on two of the hottest tech innovations being incorporated into events.

July 11, 2017, 7:16 AM EDT

(Pictured, left to right): Sara Berner, Gregangelo Herrera, Tisha C. Jack

Photos: Courtesy of Readers

“It’s all about creating experiences at the event that attendees will remember: a message you want to communicate. Technology is evolving, and I think these two techniques, once used effectively, will greatly aid in providing the content at events.”
Tisha C. Jack, event manager and consultant, TCJ Events, Trinidad and Tobago

“AR provides a whole new range of interactive possibilities that will make the overall experience richer and more engaging for both attendees and organizers. The fact that AR apps often involve the use of devices also allows for massive data collection and expands outreach possibilities.”
Angela Fiore, content marketing manager, Smart Eventi, Milan

“Virtual reality is a miraculous medium with endless applications. However, it causes frustration among guests who wait in long lines for the individual experience. At events where VR experiences are a central focus, I am writing proposals where we entertain guests simply waiting in lines, rather than encouraging social exploration throughout an event space.”
Gregangelo Herrera, founder and artistic director, Velocity Arts & Entertainment, San Francisco

“I could envision this used at a product launch. Attendees would start out in an empty room and use the headset equipment to transform [it] into an augmented-reality scene. This scene would provide background and insight into the product development and manufacturing. The final destination would [be] a second room where the product would be unveiled.”
Sara Berner, independent event manager, Houston

“Many of the clients we have worked with over the years have always been keen to make use of the latest AV technology, and they’re excited about the potential of VR and AR. The challenge I think is in delivering the quality of the user experience, which can incorporate and reflect the brand and important messages clients wish to communicate. It is a very immersive experience. We just shot 360-degree video of driving around the Nürburgring race track, which worked really well. There are endless possibilities.”
John Dalgarno, creative producer, Production People, Bristol, United Kingdom

“With the challenge of international weddings and out-of-town guests, I think we are going to see a merge of virtual-reality headsets combined with live-streaming tools. Guests can feel like they are right in the thick of things even though they can’t be there in person.”
Cait O’Malley, owner and lead planner, Bourbon & Bloom, Ottawa

“VR is so cool, but the total audience is very limited. You can walk one person through a 3-D demo on VR, but it’s one at a time right now. If you’re trying to connect with hundreds or thousands of prospects at a trade show, the VR device cannot efficiently handle the volume of people you need to attract, qualify, and connect with. However, if VR becomes a standard part of everyone’s mobile device, you’ve got a better chance of integrating the technology into the show environment.”
Mike Duseberg, independent trade show magician, Palm Beach, Florida

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