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November 10, 2020

How Augmented Reality is Transforming Events

Immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) have the power to give companies a competitive edge by innovating operationally, as well as standing out from the crowd. Across the events sector, embracing AR has the potential to fundamentally change the way that events are delivered and  revolutionise the attendee experience. It can also give businesses new and innovative ways to boost their brand profiles at events such as trade shows and product launches.

Recent Advances in AR

Augmented reality (AR) is an immersive technology that overlays digital content over the real world. It can be accessed through a variety of widely available hardware including smartphones and tablets, as well as wearable tech such as the Microsoft Hololens 2.

The recent advances in AR technology, such as the development of creative tools and platforms including ARkit, coupled with the rollout of the 5G network means that high quality augmented reality content is increasingly accessible to a broad range of audiences who are on the go outside an office or home environment. 

These developments mean that augmented reality has the potential to supercharge the events industry, from work-related conferences, product launches and trade shows through to entertainment-based events such as festivals and major sporting events – and beyond. The Coachella music and arts festival provided festival goers in 2019 with an immersive stage experience via AR features on their smartphones.

Enhancing the attendee experience

Ensuring that attendees have an unforgettable and positive experience is at the heart of any successful event. From developing engaging programmes and supplementing presentations and performances, through to simplifying practical information to make attendance a logistical breeze, augmented reality can help event organisers to connect with attendees in innovative and novel ways. This includes:

  • Gamification of the attendee experience

Adding an element of interactivity can be impactful at a variety of events. Mini games can help to engage attendees in a fun and relaxed way. For example, as making new contacts is a key driver for attending professional events, AR networking games can help to facilitate new connections by providing a useful icebreaker by sparking conversations around pre-determined topics.  

  • Accessing supplementary resources during presentations

For business events, speaker presentations can be taken to the next level with the use of AR. Rather than relying simply on powerpoint slides that flash up information, it gives speakers a tool to invite attendees to actively participate. This makes presentations more compelling and strengthens connections between the person on stage and those sat in the audience.

  • Finding the right way with digital wayfinding

Attending events at large and unfamiliar venues can be a little overwhelming. By replacing or supplementing physical maps wayfinding with interactive floor plans and maps, attendees can benefit from a hassle-free, personalised guide to pinpoint where they want to go – and how to get there.

Boosting brand profiles

For events such as trade shows, product launches and exhibitions, augmented reality content can be visually stunning, giving brands a wow factor to increase customer engagement and sales. But AR can go way beyond a simple marketing gimmick; it has the potential to be a tool to offer audiences customised experiences and present key information in a way to help inform their purchasing decision making and reinforce positive brand connections. 

  • Exhibiting customised products

Trade shows give businesses the chance to showcase new products and services to a captive audience. But for some, this can be challenging. For example, for car manufacturers, displaying all their vehicles can be logistically impossible due to space constraints. But AR and 3D modelling provides a tried and tested solution. Visitors can get up close to explore and interact with a fuller version of a company’s range by being able to customise elements such as colours and interiors.  

  • Going viral and extending reach

Attention grabbing AR experiences don’t just connect with people on site – their reach can be amplified beyond the walls of the venue. From Snapchat on demand geofilters through to eye catching bespoke company AR experiences, combining content with hashtags can offer attendees the feel good factor that can be shared virally across social media platforms.

  • Diversifying sponsorship opportunities

Augmented reality can also give event organisers additional revenue streams through innovative new sponsorship offers, giving businesses the chance to engage with potential customers and gain brand exposure. For example, Coca-Cola’s AR campaigns in sports stadiums highlight how sponsors can have a positive impact on the attendees – creating memorable experiences for the individual during the event, as well as having a longer lifespan through sharing content more widely. 

Augmented reality and the future for events

A great event has the power to connect people, as well as to educate and entertain – and augmented reality has the potential to revolutionise how events are organised and experienced both now and in the future. By blending reality with creative digital content, thinking creatively and embracing new opportunities means that the sky’s the limit; And that’s a future we’re happily getting a ticket to!

Want to find out more about how you can integrate augmented reality into an event? The Future Visual team is here to help. Contact them today to start your AR journey.