If you want to see the future, you should probably put on a pair of goggles. According to a 2016 report from the International Data Corporation, revenue from augmented reality and virtual reality will exceed $162 billion by 2020. That’s quite a jump — last year, revenue from the two fields totaled $5.2 billion. As major brands like Facebook, Google, and Samsung steer consumers toward AR and VR, event organizers may be tempted to figure out how to jump to the front of the line in adopting the technology to enhance the attendee experience.
While creating possibilities in a new world is exciting, Tyler Gates, principal at Brightline Interactive, believes that successfully leveraging these emerging technologies relies on recognizing the value of storytelling. “Figure out first what the story is that you want to tell,” Gates said in an interview at the PCMA Education Conference in New York. “Because that’s really what AR or VR does. It’s a way to communicate a message.”
For example, Gates worked with FEMA to create an experience that simulates the devastating impact of being a flood. “That’s a situation that is almost impossible to recreate,” Gates said. “We were able to recreate what it would feel like to be in a flood so that people can understand the dangers and why they should take steps [to ensure their safety and prevent damages].”
In the conference space, there are many opportunities to design immersive experiences that tell stories and create a deeper sense of empathy among attendees. For example, consider a conference where teachers might be able to better understand what it feels like for their students to be bullied by wearing a headset. What about an experience that helps lawyers at a convention understand the value of representing low-income clients? (One of these already exists; it just hasn’t been used at a convention.)
Interested in learning more about how AR and VR can transform events and conferences? You can watch Gates’ presentation in the rebroadcast of Education Conference on Tuesday, June 27.