Special Preview: Don’t miss Phil Hamstra’s Smart Monday IMEX session to see dozens of examples of real work applications in the meetings and events industry. The following is a simple intro to VR on the MICE industry.

Ready or not, VR is here today

While virtual reality technology will not alter the fundamental needs of human communication, it will alter the format and medium of that communication and is therefore a core issue for meeting professionals. Counter to popular opinion, this technology is live and powerful today, and gaining adoption and market share Although, this tech has yet to break through the “tipping point” of broad adoption, meeting professionals need to be well-versed in currently available options. In order to do so, meeting pros need to understand the content, the technology to deliver that content, and how to apply both to further the strategic goals of their event stakeholders.

Why VR is so Powerful

What makes virtual reality different from other media formats is that it seeks to immerse your senses in the content, fooling your brain into processing the experience as if it were really happening. Compared to traditional video media, VR content is more engaging, more memorable, more persuasive and more interactive. You may even be surprised if your company or client has ready-made content that could be deployed on even the most basic VR setup. Immersive content can be as simple as a 360 video to give a tour of your event space, or as complex as a custom-made digital environment showing the repair of a heart-valve. There are even 1000’s of applications currently available for free or minimal cost in the oculus store, ranging from games to world-building apps.

A Wide Range of VR Applications Available Today

Perhaps the biggest barrier to broad adoption is the cost and general goofiness of the equipment needed for VR. Until the immersive contact lens comes out, quality VR requires a relatively powerful computer, a pair of bulky goggles, and handheld controllers. The good news is that the equipment is becoming increasingly miniaturized and the cost is falling rapidly. The good news for meeting pros is that VR equipment, kiosks and booths are becoming increasing available from meeting technology suppliers, including Meeting Tomorrow. Some low-cost solutions include the Oculus VR and Google Cardboard that work with most smartphones.

The most important part of adopting any technology is the impact it can have on furthering you strategic goals. Meeting pros should be advised against using VR tech purely as a gimmick, but instead to provide real value to attendees and stakeholders. While the following list is general, it includes applications that Meeting Tomorrow has seen in the field multiple times in progressive meeting formats:

  • 360 degree and interactive tours and demonstration
  • VR meeting and collaboration spaces
  • Games and branded experiences
  • Immersive medical demonstration and education
  • Immersive simulation and training
  • Interactive arcades for tech focused events

Make sure to sign up for Phil Hamstra’s talk at MPI Smart Monday at IMEX America to see dozens of real-world examples, and find ways to integrate new technologies in your meeting, tomorrow.

About the author:  Phil Hamstra is the VP of Strategic Initiatives at Meeting Tomorrow. He loves reading science fiction, learning new skills, and hanging out with his family.

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