Virtual reality might not be a widespread staple of the events industry yet, but it will be in the next decade. In fact, it’ll be one of the hottest trends in events before we even know it. So while the use of VR is still pretty limited in our industry, here are six ways that virtual attendance is going to be a big player sooner rather than later.
1. Virtual Attendance at Weddings
No matter how well a wedding is planned, certain guests just can’t attend. However, now they can be there via VR. That means your guests can get footage that puts them in the middle of the event and all the experiences. They can look around, listen to the vows, and get the next best thing to actually being there. Virtual guests can also interact with the bride and groom, giving them a way to say “congrats!” from afar.
2. Virtual Conference Attendance
Save guests the inconvenience and expense of travel by holding a virtual conference. This will allow users to interact with various speakers, network, listen to lectures, and participate almost as if they were there. It’s a trend that’s already popping up in areas such as sports, concerts, and other live events — so why not the world of conferences? Ready to try? Here’s how to plan a virtual event in 7 simple steps.
3. Virtual Speakers
Some of the best speakers are often overbooked, meaning you have to catch them between events and make sure they have plenty of time to travel. Well with virtual attendance, that’s all changing. Instead of having to travel to speak at your event, busy speakers like Malcolm Gladwell and Tony Robbins can attend virtually and deliver their message. Because let’s face it, the better the speakers, the more traffic you’re going to have at your event.
4. Virtual Tours
Virtual reality for events can also include tours of the venue. If your guests aren’t sure that they want to attend, a virtual tour can be just the ticket to get them excited about your event. It’ll give them a taste of the experience and enough information to make an informed choice.
When your attendees are already sure that the trek will be worth the time, they’ll show up with less skepticism and more excitement. That means happy attendees and more word of mouth before your event even happens. Learn more about ways to engage event attendees with augmented reality, too.
5. Virtual Attendance On the Go
Everything is moving to mobile these days, and virtual attendance no different. In fact, many users are already relying on their smart phones to function as their entry point for virtual reality. But the VR add-ons they’re using have a huge range when it comes to tech quality.
On the lower side of the spectrum is Snapchat’s VR Lite offering, while more highbrow options include Samsung’s Gear VR and the Cybertron PC CLX. Some event professionals are already taking advantage of these types of mobile options because they know that pretty much every potential virtual attendee has access to a mobile device.
6. Virtual Reality Presentations
Are your potential vendors not quite ready to unveil a new product out in the world? They can still give attendees a test drive by holding a virtual presentation — even if the actual product can’t be there. In fact, the Guinness World Record for most people using virtual reality displays occurred recently at a presentation for the YPO EDGE event in Vancouver. During the presentation, the CEO and co-founder of Mobileye surprised the over 1,800 participants by allowing them to drive a driverless car using virtual reality.
Now you’re ready to use virtual reality to improve every event!
Many events are well on their way to taking advantage of virtual attendance. And while you may not be using it yet, this tech trend is going to sweep the industry much sooner than we know it. But hey, at least we know venue capacity won’t be much of an issue.
Have more ideas about how virtual attendees can be a part of events? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments or on our Twitter. (And don’t forget to check out more event trends in the free download below!)