Virtual reality: a key trend in the events sector in 2019

14 Jan Virtual reality: a key trend in the events sector in 2019

Information about virtual reality comes up all the time in the form of reports, news and advertising. But do you really know what it consists of? Do you know what its current uses are, and are you aware of its potential in a sector as creative as that of event organization?

Let’s start with a definition. Virtual reality can be defined as an information system that generates representations of reality in real time. These are in fact nothing more than illusions, as it’s a perceptive reality with no physical support that’s only created virtually.

To better understand it, we can focus on its three key defining elements: presence, tracking and interaction.

True virtual reality creates a sensory experience that transports the user to another world in which they feel and interact in a similar manner to the way they would in a real environment. This illusion, which makes the user think that they’re somewhere else, is called presence.

The next factor is tracking. Following the movements of the eyes is essential for creating presence, as it means the experience changes the user’s field of vision, imitating real life. Our minds and bodies are trained to expect this, which means it’s essential. Without tracking, there would be a dissonance that would disrupt the sensation of immersion and ruin the virtual experience.

Interaction is another key element of true virtual reality. The user should be able to make changes to their environment, just as they would in real life. That means that the user is capable of interacting with certain objects in their surroundings in ways that are predetermined by the developers. This is a key differentiating element between true RV and other technologies related to RV. Generally, the more interactive an environment, the stronger the user’s sense of presence. We need to distinguish between virtual reality and other technologies and experiences like 360 degrees, augmented reality and mixed reality.

Currently, one of the companies most focused on developing this technology is HP. They offer three virtual reality experiences: A3 Overview, A3 Healthcare and A3 Security. These three virtual reality experiences were partly created and developed by Intracon in the USA, with the aim of being used as sales tools for the HP channel.

A3 overview presents the user with a set of relevant tasks to be completed using the LaserJet and PageWide printers.

A3 Healthcare transports the user to a hospital environment and presents them with the tasks normally carried out by healthcare professionals.

A3 Security is gamified and pits the user against a hacker who is trying to steal data from the MFP, whilst the user defends his or herself with HP solutions.

In all three experiences, users can touch, move and pick up different objects and components with their own hands through the Leap movement sensor. The articulation of the hands and fingers in the VR is surprisingly advanced and will become more and more sophisticated as Leap Motion technology continues to improve.

But virtual reality has uses that go far beyond just games. It can be used for training, as it’s an effective way for users to comprehend and retain content. Virtual reality has huge potential and it can be used for other purposes and in other sectors, like that of event organization.

Creativity and interaction, as well as the delivery of original experiences, are key to success in the world of event organization. We live in an age in which everyone has travelled all over the world (whether virtually or physically) and has easy access to all kinds of experiences through new technologies. That means that it’s not easy to make an event different, interesting and impressive all at the same time. Virtual Reality can help us with this and add another dimension to an event’s Customer Journey, generating a reaction and meaning people leave the event with a changed attitude.

Whether it’s a unique, innovative experience related to the brand, training using interactive applications or gamification techniques, or offering a fun, playful experience by incorporating a VR space into the event, the goal is always the same: to make an impression.

The possibilities are endless, and the best part is that RV experiences are mobile and can be designed and tailored for the target audience at a specific event. Is it expensive? The answer to that question will be different for every event and will largely depend on the company’s aims.

That which just a few years ago seemed futuristic is now a reality. High technology and immersive experiences can add another dimension to an event, as well as increasing its ROI, which is one of the main reasons why events are planned and organized in the first place.

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