Technology and how it might impact the C&E sector is a key
focus for QHotels Event Profs Panel after working with
world-renowned futurologist Professor Ian Pearson, at the end of
One of the most fascinating discussions was about the
possibilities that Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
offer the events industry.
So we sent panel member Maninder Sahota to VR World, Europe's
largest event dedicated to augmented, mixed and virtual reality, to
uncover some of the latest trends and meet some of people behind
the technology that could change our industry.
Here's what she discovered.
"Technology has always interested me and it is fascinating to
see how our phones have evolved to become an extra limb. The world
of AR, MR and VR is also evolving and is now slowly becoming part
of our lives without us even realising.
"So attending VR World has really helped me gain a better
understanding of how we can blend it into our day-to-day life.
"I have to admit that my knowledge prior to attending was
relatively limited. I understood a little about AR because of
Pokemon Go and Snapchat but beyond that, I didn't know how it would
work for the events industry. VR, in my head, was reserved for the
gaming industry, wearing a headset and being virtually transported
"VR World has taught me the depth of this technology, and it
isn't just about fancy simulations, we can solve real life problems
in incredibly exciting ways."
While Maninder was at the show we asked her to think about how
what she was seeing might apply to the MICE sectors.
"Communications agencies seem to use a lot of VR to bring their
client's visions to life, but we need to realise that it isn't
always about selling to the consumer, it can also be used in areas
such as internal training.
"For example, if you're organising a staff training day for a
client, then you can explore VR as a way of making employees more
invested in your company. If you have developed a new product why
not showcase it to your staff through VR, rather than a
"Death by PowerPoint is always a concern, so should we be asking
speakers to explore ways of delivering talks with more immersive
"Also, our industry should consider utilising AR when designing
event apps. A Pokemon Go style model could work quite well in
an exhibition, increasing engagement with delegates, while helping
to maximise footfall and engagement.
"I am particularly excited about the possibilities around VR
headsets, as they have the ability to transport you to anywhere in
the world and into any space. The growth of these headsets could
allow event organisers to conduct multiple site visits, without
actually leaving the office. I thought this was a really
"Maybe venues should be investing in this technology, so when
event organisers attend large expos, like the Meetings Show and
Confex, they can visit a stand and rather than being handed a
brochure they can actually visit the venue, there and then, in the
"However, we also need to look at the impact that this
technology could have on the events industry. Will the need for
smaller events diminish if we have effective time saving
technologies? If a global organisation can connect all of their
employees without them having to travel, would they need an event
"After attending VR World and exploring all of these ideas, my
understanding has grown and I don't consider this is a risk.
"This technology isn't about taking away a function, it is all
about enhancement. How do we enhance a delegate's experience? How
do we, as event organisers, save time and in turn save our client's
"And that's where VR and AR can immediately add value and
enhance the industry. Conducting a site visit will always be
important to event organisers, but actually being able to quickly
see multiple venues will allow you to create a shortlist in a more
efficient and cost effective way. That could change how many
of us currently work.
"I left VR world feeling pretty inspired and with a lot of ideas
about how I wanted to research this technology to, not only
influence my personal life, but actually, how I can enhance my
professional life as well.
So what were the businesses that Maninder felt could
have an impact on the MICE industry in the near
Presenceware - http://presenceware.com/
Who are they?
A VR headset developer.
What do they do?
Developed a VR Headset for real estate agencies that allows
those purchasing a home to visit that property without actually
having to leave the estate agent's office.
Who is it aimed at?
Currently, real estate agents.
How could it improve the conference and events industry?
Presenceware could easily move over to the conference events
industry to really develop the way venues sell space. Utilising a
headset when conducting supplier visits can ensure that event
management companies and venue finding companies can see the space,
and really get a feel for it, without having to travel to the
blueprint - https://blueprintpartners.com/
A communications agency that specialises in events management,
video content and internal communications and training through
They use VR to increase engagement and improve the recall of
content as experiencing something in VR is more engaging than
traditional formats. This includes developing solutions that help
to train people more effectively as they are exposed to the same
message and receive a consistent experience. The services
also help to overcome geographical issues, by being able to train
people from all across the world without them having to travel.
Anyone that has a communication need, whether it is to a
customer or its own staff.
It is not just larger companies that look into this technology,
Blueprint created a VR spine for a chiropractor's clinic, which
allowed patients to see their damaged spine alongside a healthy
spine. The chiropractor could also manipulate the image to show
how, if left untreated, the spine would look and the impact that
would have on posture.
It could dramatically improve audience engagement by taking
audiences from being presented to, to experiencing being in a
A big application is for training, particularly when subject
matter is complex and geographically constrained.
astrivis - https://www.astrivis.com/
A VR/MR app that uses the camera in your phone to record and
retrieve 3D information in order to create content anywhere.
What they do?
Allow you to scan objects in 3D onto your phone. For an example
you could use pictures of yourself to build a personal 3D avatar or
an artist could easily create 3D objects, without the need for
additional technology or equipment.
For businesses, the app is licensed and then integrated to meet
their requirements e.g. a medical body is using the app to create
custom insoles. You use the app to scan your foot and then a
bespoke insole is created using that 3D image.
Anyone who has the need to create 3D images of objects when they
are mobile or on the move.
It could help the design, build and staging of conferences and
events, allowing you to visualise stands and venue dressings
easily, using your mobile phone.
It can help you to scan a space or venue quickly and easily, to
help build a VR/AR experience with no additional hardware.
Click here to see
VR in action.
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