Virtual reality has become somewhat of a ‘buzzword,’ but behind that hype lies a very real technology that has the potential to change the way that we live our lives. Not least in the world of corporate events where capturing the imagination of a single reporter or investor can represent hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. Like it or not, virtual reality is here to stay, and it’s only going to become more common.
Have you ever noticed that a lot of corporate events are out of the way? Often, they require hours of traveling and thousands of dollars in costs. Virtual reality corporate events circumvent that and allow viewers to experience the event from the best view. By setting up a single camera to capture the event from the best possible angle, every viewer can experience the optimal presentation.
This obviously helps the presenter too, because those virtual reality corporate events can be pre-recorded, preventing any unfortunate mishaps. But this makes the viewing experience that much better; we can sit in the comfort of our own homes and still see the speaker right in front of us. For the company presenting it also makes branding and sponsorship far simpler. Rather than trying to integrate them somehow into the presentation you could just have their logo appear in the corner of the viewer’s vision.
This type of advertising would be far more powerful than traditional banner ads or TV advertising because the viewer can’t look away, it’s directly in their vision.
But what if your viewers do want to be there, to enjoy networking and a few drinks after? Virtual reality can be used to enhance, rather than replace, the experience of a real-world live event. We’ve already seen Intel and Facebook using virtual reality goggles at live events to give their viewers a unique presentation that integrated virtual objects and characters.
The people in the audience wore goggles that showed them exactly what was in front of their face, but also could add in digital creations. Imagine the money that companies could save by creating a beautiful virtual environment, rather than purchasing real sculptures and artwork. In recent years, we’ve also seen cars implement heads-up displays that show you your speed and other metrics without you having to look away. This kind of functionality could be applied to an event.
You might show the time, the speakers name and the best way to contact them. With the best VR equipment, you can even give the audience the functionality to look at a virtual brochure of the event. Almost everything at an event could be replicated or replaced by a virtual version, saving companies money and giving a more interactive and immersive experience.
The most common barrier to entry for companies looking to integrate VR into their events is simply the cost of buying or renting the equipment. Fortunately, the vast majority of people own smartphones, and those phones have the capability for basic virtual reality.
In fact, Samsung and Snapchat have both released small, portable and incredibly cheap headgear that can hold your phone. This allows you to replicate an expensive VR experience for a tiny fraction of the cost.
The cost of virtual reality seems to be dropping every single day, and undoubtedly the single most significant trend in VR is increasing accessibility. No longer is it something that only the first movers and Silicon Valley millionaires have access too, but almost everybody can enjoy it at a low cost.
Although the 360-degree video isn’t technically considered virtual reality, it represents a massive leap from traditional video towards a user-centric experience. By giving the viewer the control over what they see you significantly improve the content. In recent months, we’ve seen 360-degree video being used more frequently, particularly by smaller companies who want to capitalize on their first mover advantage.
The 360-degree video is particularly good at one thing; giving you perspective. This might be in the case of explaining the dimensions of the room to an employee, showing the event hall to attendees or simply showing viewers more than just the stage. The goal of all virtual reality, from the most primitive forms up to our most advanced, is to make the audience feel like they are there. In this way, a 360-degree video is far superior to even the most skilled technician using a standard camera.
Since the advent of the first social media networks, we’ve seen companies like Facebook and Twitter continually scrambling to stay at the forefront of technology. And in the past few years, they’ve unequivocally succeeded. Facebook has integrated 360-degree video flawlessly into the timelines of their users, allowing us to experience events as if we were there. But more exciting than that is the possibility that we will use Facebook as a delivery method for true virtual reality.
Facebook acquired Oculus Rift, the largest and most well-known virtual reality creator and that makes us confident that they will soon be integrating it into Facebook.For corporate events this solves the problem of delivery, they can simply use their Facebook accounts to deliver the virtual reality experience to all of their viewers. And in the past week, they announced a new $200 virtual reality headset that will make VR more accessible than ever.
Virtual reality is the future; it would be difficult to argue against that. But what exactly should we expect in the coming years? For corporate events, the use of 360-degree video will become standard and expected by viewers who can’t physically make it to the event.A virtual reality version of the event, live and after the fact, will be used by the most significant companies to make the experience more immersive, and this will filter down to smaller companies within a decade.
VR represents a new frontier for events, and the companies that are willing to leap will find themselves with a significant advantage over those that wait.