You arrive to your out-of-town conference Wednesday morning and walk into the hotel lobby to see a lit kiosk that spells out your name as you arrive. It then gives you your schedule for the sessions you previously selected, and directions to your first room. You have no paper ticket, but as you walk into the ballroom the wristband you were given briefly blinks. In the ballroom people are mingling, getting coffee, slowly taking their seats. As you move down the rows your wristband starts blinking as you near the seats in the front far right. A group of people are sitting there, one of whose wristband is also blinking; it is the sales representative from another company whom you had been planning to meet with. After a nice conversation you decide to share contact information for later, and simply touch wristbands together to do so.
The conference begins with opening remarks from the CEO. You look around but no one walks across the stage as the lights dim. Instead an image generates on stage from nowhere, a holographic telepresence of your CEO broadcast live from five states away. She introduces the opening video and disappears as the huge curved screen behind her comes alive. Displayed brilliantly in crisp LEDs your company’s year in review is unveiled. As the presentation moves into the meat of the numbers, instead of ROI statistics or graphs being displayed on the screen they are cast by 3D projection mapping onto features of the room like wall panels and pillars. You go from simply looking ahead to having information displayed immersively all around you.
When it is time for the breakout sessions you go to a side room to see a demonstration of the new product which you will be selling in the next quarter. You arrive to an empty room save one table with a dozen headsets on it. You each put one on and are thrown into a digital rendering of the product complete with cross sections you can manipulate and real world scenarios, all without ever even having the product physically there. As you are leaving the breakout session you get an email from your partner about a possible space to host clients for a dinner meeting tomorrow night, and asking when you can go tour it. You reply that you don’t need to. Instead, you tour it from your hotel room by walking through a 360° virtual rendering of the venue made from omnidirectional photographs of the actual site, all on your phone or laptop. This is day one.
The Imaginary Becomes Real:
The technology to facilitate an event like this is present and more readily available than you think. So perhaps the first question you should be asking when planning your next event is the age-old one: “what is possible”? Today, more often than not, if you can envision it then the technology exists to create it. At FLIRT we know that as your company evolves you want events that evolve with you, not events on repeat. That’s why we stay up to date and engaged with the latest and greatest of technologies in the event industry to facilitate authentically new attendee journeys.
Here’s a short, more detailed look at several innovative event industry technologies so you can be in the know to:
Data Made Personal: RFID
(Radio Frequency Identification Tags) RFID technology differs from bar codes in that bar codes are a read-only technology, meaning that they cannot send out any information. RFID tags on the other hand have read and write capabilities; data stored on RFID tags can be changed, updated, and locked. The RFID tags can be embedded in wristbands worn by attendees throughout their event.
- Send wearers event information and directions
- Personalized stations created from information collected from attendees to create a more engaged and interactive experience
- Connect you to people you have already tagged or people in similar positions from other companies by lighting up when you are near them to make it easier to find and network in a sea of hundreds of attendees
- Track attendance to booths or activities to see what was most successful
- Used for tickets for more convenient access process
- Quick and easy polling capabilities
A Visual Impression for the Biggest Needs: 3D Projection Mapping
3D Projection Mapping works by wrapping and blending the projected image so that the image can be superimposed on target surface area or object with 3D visual output.
- Displayed on irregular surfaces such as curved screens or building faces
- Capable of very large scale projections
- Gives an impression of realistic depth even when projected onto a 2-dimensional surface
Visible, Flexible, Adaptable Presentations: LED Displays
LED screens are more efficient and produce an image with more brilliance and greater light intensity. Mobile phones, TVs, tablets, computer monitors, laptops screens, etc. all use LED displays today, only on a smaller scale than those used for live event purposes.
- Used indoors or outdoors, even in direct sunlight
- Displayed as a flat or curved screen
- Applied in various screen sizes all the way up to 25ft x 14ft or sometimes larger
- Used in combination to create one larger image over multiple screens
Immersive Worlds: VR / 360°
Virtual Reality technology refers to the generation of a fully digital environment. Often seen today applied through Head Mounted Displays (HMD headsets), video from a console or computer is sent to the headset where lenses focus and reshape the picture for each eye.
- User can manipulate the virtual environment
- Remote previews of event spaces or experiences
- Interactive product demonstrations, particularly to display large or bulky products where it would normally be difficult to have physically there
- Virtual attendance at a trade show
- Applied to 360° video viewing technology
360° video is created by omnidirectional cameras that grab a spherical video capture of a space, rather than rectangular capture as used in traditional videography. The multiple perspectives of the omnidirectional cameras are then combined together to create one picture for viewing.
- Generates an immersive experience for the viewer, placing them within the context of a scene or event
- Gives the viewer the ability to control the orientation of the scene and viewing direction
- Viewed on mobile phone, desktop, or headset display and so is relatively easily accessible technology
- Useful for digital or remote venue tours to give a more complete impression of a space than traditional videography can provide
Light Come to Life: Holograms
A hologram is a way of recording and reproducing 3D images on a medium, anything from smoke, fog, water, or a specialty screen. Telepresence holograms record live video of the front, back and sides of a human subject. The information about the image and its 3D shape is then sent over a network to either a square or cylindrical screen, where the virtual human is displayed.
- Live telepresence for speakers or meetings
- Projected image will look real from any angle so could be displayed with 360 degrees of access
- Product demonstrations of new items, particularly those not yet ready for physical display
- Stage presentation elements