Virtual Reality: 7 Ways for Meeting Planners to Catch the Next Event Tech Wave

Ever since the holodeck hit Star Trek, people have dreamed of participating in fully immersive experiences. Virtual Reality (VR) is a wave of the future for event planning. Long anticipated, VR for groups is now just “on the horizon”.

Here are 7 ways that event planners will be able to incorporate VR into small and large meetings, conferences, and events as well as a glimpse at some of the emerging technology.

1. Meetings:

    Recognizing the potential of VR, Mike Zuckerberg acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. In October 2016, he gave a demonstration of how VR will eventually be used for meetings and inter-office communication. 

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    2. Conferences:

    VR opens up the door for conference participants to share powerful, fully immersive experiences. At CES 2017, 250 participants experienced Intel’s Voke VR powered by Oculus which will make shared VR in a conference environment a reality.

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    3. Marketing:

    From small events to large conferences, VR will eventually create realistic immersive settings. Virginia based A2Z Music Factory teamed up with SimpleVR to capture footage from a casino themed corporate Christmas party and render it in VR to showcase their work to potential customers.

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    4. Corporate Event Venues:

    VR gaming lounges with virtual play zones are taking shape in many destinations. From parties to galas and receptions, it’s opening up new possibilities for event venues for corporate events. Virtual reality game booths that can be set-up in just about any location will become more and more accessible. At CES 2017, Scale-1 Portal unveiled a VR booth that can be accessed without a headset.

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    5. Team Building Simulations:

    Business simulations have always been a powerful vehicle for organizations that want to maximize the benefits of team building. Up until now, the options available for designing them included video supported simulations, gamification, and facilitating experiences in real indoor or outdoor settings.Virtual reality addresses the need to make team building simulations more affordable and accessible. Through VR, teams can be transported to just about any environment in the real or imaginary world.Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, is a pioneer in creating shared virtual experiences. Linden Lab will take things  to the next level with Sansar, a virtual reality platform to be unveiled during Q1 of 2017.

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    6. Learning and Development:

    From simulated interactions with employees for management development to technical training, VR will have many applications for learning and development. VR will give learners an opportunity to participate in scenarios and experience realistic outcomes. The creation of realistic 3D models will add power to medical and technical training. Microsoft Hololens integrates VR with holographic and 3D augmented reality technology that runs on a Windows 10 platform. Event professionals who plan medical meetings and conferences will find many applications coming on-stream in the near future.

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    7. Tech Support:

    Technical support will become so much easier when customer service representatives can walk customers through realistic re-creations of complex systems and models. This will be a real time and, ultimately, cost savings for organizations. For example, Singapore’s LumenLab teamed up with India’s PNB MetLife to transform customer service interactions through virtual reality. Eventually, more event technology suppliers will use VR to provide more effective technical support to customers.

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    These are just 7 of many possibilities that will become available to the event and meeting industry as tech suppliers unveil virtual reality technology and VR evolves.

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