Sometimes the future doesn’t seem that far away. In some cases, it feels a little too close, and instead of embracing what it may hold, the instinct is to cling to what feels familiar. No matter what great effort is taken to slow down the inevitable, we eventually find ourselves marveling at the inconceivable. When technology starts to take us places never thought possible, our perceptions tend to shift. The inconceivable suddenly becomes attainable.
The once fictional dream of being transported to a place that isn’t held back by time restraints isn’t imaginary anymore. In fact, the concept in the technological sense goes as far back as the 1950’s with a spike in interest in the 90’s. Unfortunately, the results didn’t meet the hype and the idea of Virtual Reality became the antithesis of innovation. Virtual Reality (VR) has since come a long way with a continually evolving technology that allows us to have new experiences while invoking our senses. Simplified, VR is a three-dimensional computer generated the world that gives users the ability to immerse themselves in an environment and interact with it. It’s gaining traction and more places are offering the technology to clients and consumers. No longer a niche technology, this scientific wonder is nothing to be timid of. It’s fun, engaging, and it’s already being used at trade shows. Virtual Reality can create an experience your attendees will be sure to remember.
Virtual Experience, Real World Pay Off
Closing the gap between availability and privilege, VR is more accessible than ever. In the world of trade shows, it’s bringing viewers a first-row experience to what would otherwise not be possible within the constraints of a show floor. New research from Greenlight VR showed positive results for brands that used Virtual Reality to market their products. Out of 1300 respondents, 53 percent of them were more likely to purchase brands they experienced using VR over products that were not marketed using the technology. This is good news for trade shows that utilize the benefits VR has to offer.
There are several ways to implement VR to extend and enhance your exhibitor’s ability to make connections. The intended goal will determine what type of application is used. Shape the experience by using any of the following:
Virtual Reality Headset
To create an immersive experience, a headset is used to make a life-size environment with seemingly no boundaries. There are different brands and types of headsets that can also provide head tracking, motion tracking, and eye tracking.
Creating an immersive interactive experience allows the viewer to not only have an amazing view but can also interact with the virtual environment.
AR is a blend of technologies that create an enhanced live view of a real-world environment rather than replacing the real world image with a computer simulated one.
Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE)
This technology ditches headsets altogether in favor of a VR environment where several walls create a cubical type room and are used as projection screens. This creates an immersive surrounding that allows multiple users at a time.
- Take advantage of what VR does best by providing one of a kind experience. Tell a story and transport viewers to far-off locations by showing them where products come from. For example, at a perfumer show, attendees were able to visit the lavender fields in Amsterdam that supply the product with its signature fragrance. As viewers were enjoying the tour, the experience was enhanced with the release of lavender essence.
- Virtual tours can be given to providing an inside look at how products are manufactured. This gives viewers a better understanding of what the process looks like and builds consumer confidence.
- Not constrained by reality, create an in-store experience that allows shoppers to walk around and pick up and feel products. This gives attendees a way to try out products before making a commitment.
- Develop a VR tour of an office or space designed by an architect or a custom built trade show booth. This allows attendees to be in the space without even leaving the show.
Product Demonstrations and Tutorials
- VR headsets are a great way to demonstrate larger items that couldn’t be transported to a showroom.
- If space isn’t the issue, but certain applications are limited due to content or subject, VR headsets are a great way to demonstrate procedures. An example where this would be useful would be in the area of medicine.
- Host workshops that teach attendees how to use a product or learn a new skill. Give attendees wearing a VR headset the opportunity to have meetings with key players in the industry where they can collaborate and share ideas.
Tips for Success
- Aim for 2-3 minutes in length for attendees. It keeps things moving and is just long enough to capture and hold someone’s attention. A longer tutorial is appropriate for investors or executives, as a more lengthy and comprehensive demonstration might be needed to fully showcase the brand and product.
- Don’t make an experience that is intense or possibly frightening. Stay away from things that can cause anxiety, such as heights and confined spaces.
- Be careful of using motions that are too quick and might cause an attendee to experience motion sickness.
- Make sure the VR ties into the brand and product. If the experience has no relevance, it doesn’t matter how enlightening it is, it won’t help to make a sale.
Bringing the World Closer Together
Technology has a way of impacting our lives be it subtle or extraordinary. It often collides one world with another, marrying it in ways that make it a perfect match. As a Trade Show Manager, it opens up opportunities that have the chance to change perceptions and broaden the understanding of how business can be done.