Audience Engagement Can Be Shaped by Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is basically an artificial computer-simulated world.
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A user can have any kind of experience with VR such as get immersed in an incredible made-up universe of a fantasy game, get a window into another part of our world which cannot easily be accessed, or present the existing world in a new and exciting way through graphics or animation.
Although VR has been in the pipelines for development for years, but 2016 will be remembered as the year it finally came to fruition and things really happened as far as VR is concerned with the world of event marketing having the bulk of its advantages.
Immersive VR finally available
18 months or so ago, event professionals had strong inkling that VR was about to go ballistic when Google Glass’ ‘replacement’ – Microsoft’s HoloLens – was announced. Instead of being a heads-up display-based ‘smart companion’ designed to be worn at all times, which ultimately did not resonate with users; the HoloLens provided a more temporary yet more immersive experience.
The heavy long strides towards advancement in technology over the past few years implies that Virtual reality is now becoming accessible to everyone and all through this process the events world has been dreaming about virtual reality.
An example is an event by Samsung, its unpacked event on 21 February in Barcelona which was held to reveal its newest offerings to an audience of fans. People who owned the Samsung Gear VR were given a special innovative treatment – they were able to see the event live streamed in 360-degree VR from center stage (or they had a choice to view from three other viewpoints) thus taking thereby taking virtual audience engagement to a whole new level.
Upping the audience engagement ante
VR technology is becoming more accessible and affordable gradually, thus, bringing about a breakthrough in audience engagement and event professionals are reaping the amazing potential benefits.
Virtual Reality can create a huge virtual space, creating cost savings in terms of exhibitions and trade shows. Clients can ‘display’ their entire product range virtually – lowering costs and lessening the need for expensive logistics and other requirements that might incur heavy costs.
Bringing Virtual reality to the public has been a bit of a problem in the way of the cost of the headset and technologies associated with the usage. Google has another offering, Cardboard – a low-cost ‘entry level’ smartphone-based headset made literally of cardboard and low-cost plastic lenses – which is aiming to reduce the cost VR brings.
Google Cardboard might be the device that will make VR use a normal regular experience for ordinary people with over five million of the headsets distributed in 19 months. 1.3 million alone via a New York Times giveaway late last year. Compatible apps have been downloaded 25 million times which seem to confirm this fact.
Samsung’s Unpacked event is just the beginning of the best that is yet to come when it comes to virtual reality. With VR headsets becoming mainstream gadgets, to provide a unique, immersive live event experience for huge numbers of people anywhere in the world will be a piece of cake.
These developments will be heart lifting for marketing and event professionals as in times past customer engagement has been limited by geographical reach, budgets and the restrictions of technology. Now, with VR, anything is possible. It is possible to provide entertainment and engage a lot of people all over the world for a fraction of the cost of organizing a global event.