How Will Augmented Reality Influence and Enhance Events?

How Will Augmented Reality Influence and Enhance Events?

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Augmented reality has recently exploded in popularity among the general public. That’s in no small part thanks to technology catching up with the visions of augmented reality developers. In turn, consumers have embraced the concept, using their smartphones and special headsets to interact with such content. This is especially noteworthy considering that limited attempts to develop similar experiences have fallen flat in the past. 

What’s especially exciting for creative producers and others involved in developing and executing events is the potential to use AR as a significant component of such gatherings. This new form of visual engagement has strong, novel and interesting elements of interactivity and immersion involved. Using it to get a point across, enhance a presentation, introduce game or competitive elements, or otherwise engage an audience is an intriguing prospect. Let’s take a closer look at some of the unique advantages offered by AR, and how those attributes could pay off at future conferences.

“It’s no surprise AR is a hot topic when it comes to enhancing events.”

Gamification and Encouraging Interactions
AR overlays the real world with additional streams of information. One well-known example is Pokemon Go, the smartphone-based game that places characters from Nintendo’s game and television series onto the local environment through a phone’s screen via a combination of geo-mapping and AR. Players see the real, local environment around them populated with Pokemon. To find new creatures, gain rewards and otherwise complete objectives, players physically travel through their neighborhoods and beyond. As Forbes contributor Elad Natanson said, the scavenger hunt aspect of the game was a major attraction to players and part of the reason why the game skyrocketed to such popularity during summer 2016. How could this aspect of AR potentially apply to a conference setting? Encouraging attendees to wander and seek out information can supplement the time they spend listening to presenters and introduce a welcome change from a mostly stationary event. This can also be an excellent team building exercise for employees at corporate meetings. Social elements can be emphasized through AR as well, and could encourage intermingling and conversations at appropriate times. Ars Technica highlighted how Facebook believes AR and virtual reality are a collective step forward for social networking, part of the reason it spent $2 billion to acquire VR headset maker Oculus Rift in 2014.meta-vision

A conference that includes these kinds of activities can capture the attention of attendees through novelty, in a way many other elements of an event can’t. Introducing elements of games and competitions as appropriate, and offering different ways to learn more about an event’s major topics or other participants, appeals to attendees and supplements the purpose of the gathering.

Heads-up Displays and In-The-Moment Information
While the idea of games and socialization that support the goals of conferences is an exciting one, it’s not the only way AR could influence these events. Using AR as a heads-up display – where a variety of information is projected onto the screen or headset of a user without fully obscuring vision – during speeches and discussion sessions can enrich the experience in a number of useful and engaging ways.

One consideration is displaying charts, graphs and other related information in context as a speaker gives a presentation, providing the chance to download assets like reports and white papers for later reading at the moment a speaker mentions them. For events with international contributors, simultaneous translation could be displayed on smartphones, making it easier for attendees to follow along. All of these applications have something important in common: They bring information to the audience on an individual yet collective level, personalizing the experience while also making it easier to view, capture and understand information.

With so many potential applications in play, it’s no surprise AR is a hot topic when it comes to enhancing events.



Alford Media