Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the most hyped technologies of the last decade. Global
giants Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook have all invested billions in building the
hardware, creating software, and developing applications.
Event professionals are jumping on the trend and realising the potential of VR in
transforming their events. The short; VR in the event space is here to stay and its the ideal environment to
utilise the technology’s potential.
We’re seeing VR restaurants pop up, car manufacturers turning mundane road trips into action-packed theme-parks, sensorial VR tours of breweries and some confronting education on road safety thanks to VR experiences.
VR totally takes over your guests’ senses. It is about completely commanding your
audience’s attention. It offers unparalleled engagement and concentration when
compared to a video or spoken presentation. If you’re seeking to entertain, connect and
delight, it enables total freedom of imagination.
There are several off-the-shelf VR experiences such as real-world simulations of
climbing Everest, diving on the Great Barrier Reef and the like. If they fit with the theme
of your gala dinner or topic of your conference, they’re a great ice-breaker and novelty
to get your guests talking.
This is as tangible as you get in a virtual world. Experiencing touch, excitement fear and
While consumer adoption of VR for gaming and entertainment at home has been much slower
than expected, savvy operators in the event space and enterprise have been the quickest to
realise its potential.
Virtual reality can be an excellent vehicle
for team building exercises and business
activities aimed at strengthening goals
and creating a strategic focus.
A shared VR activity is a perfect
icebreaker for attendees that haven’t
met. There are many off-the-shelf VR
puzzles and games that get people
working in teams and are perfect for this.
More businesses want to show their
audience instead of just addressing them
through words or endless PowerPoint
slides. During a keynote address, instead
of just talking about a subject, why not
immerse the audience? The presenter
asks the crowd to put on the headsets
and continues to address them as they
explore a simulation of the content under
The CEO of Intel, Brian Krzanich,
kicked off the CES 2017 conference
with an incredible VR experience
cementing themselves as
heavyweights in the area. Intel placed
260 VR units in chairs for all press
attending the event where they
embarked on an incredible journey
starting with a wingsuit flight over
Moab, Utah where they then landed
on the desert floor. Shortly after, the
flyers were shuttled to Vietnam to
take in the sights of Ban Goic waterfall.
After experiencing more spectacular
scenery the VR tour ended with court
side seats at an NCAA basketball
game. Once they removed their virtual
reality helmets, they found themselves
sitting back in the audience at the
event in Las Vegas.
This example shows Krzanich and
other industry leaders use virtual
reality at events to completely
change the way attendees experience
VR technology has also enables
connectivity for conference attendees
spread interstate and internationally.
It enables virtual attendance for those
who can’t be there to experience
the presenters and multimedia live
while wearing headsets at home. VR
lets people from around the world
meet in the same place at the same
time simply by putting on a headset.
Meetings and breakouts can also be
run using VR conferencing tools like
Get visitors to your stand or display excited about engaging with
your brand via a VR experience. Give them an exciting branded
challenge or demonstration that gets their adrenaline pumping;
it’s a great way to stand out and be remembered.
One insurance provider used VR to promote its products in
a rather unusual way. NRMA Insurance designed a car crash
simulator to show how car safety features have improved over
three decades. “Victims” put on a VR headset, climb behind the
wheel of a showroom car, then (virtually) crash into a barrier at
the same speed that actual crash tests are conducted. The user
then goes through the same simulation, only behind the wheel
of an older car with fewer safety features. Users have firsthand
experience of being in a major car accident and walk away
unscathed at the end, but left with a lasting impact.
A large U.S. home improvement
company, Lowe’s, helped customers
bring to life their design vision with
Holoroom. Customers can design
their kitchen or bathroom and view it
in VR using Oculus Rift in-stores, and
take-home a free Google Cardboard
viewer to enjoy their room design
whenever and wherever they choose.
This application of VR could be
applied for various products and
services to help generate sale and new
leads at exhibitions and trade fairs.
They say doing is far better for
learning than just seeing or hearing.
And when you can’t physically
demonstrate the new product, service
or solution VR is the next best thing.
VR is an excellent training platform
because it’s cost effective and the
closest you’ll get to doing it in real life.
Any simulations feel real to the user.
Users can make a decision that feels
impactful, but it can still be changed
or reset entirely. This is particularly
useful for the medical industry
where a wrong action can result
in death. VR provides an effective
vehicle for learning new applications,
technologies or sales training on new
products such as a latest car model.
The possibilities are endless.
Since 2018, German logistics company
Deutsche Bahn uses VR for immersivetraining experiences using an
application called Engaging Virtual
Like with any media, using the right technology to appeal to your target market will
make your campaign more effective. It’s no secret that VR is more popular among
younger users. 50% of users between the age groups of 20-29 and 30-39 are veryinterested in virtual reality, with only 6% expressing no interest at all.
So when German railway company Deutsche Bahn wanted to recruit young talent they
turned to VR experiences at a careers fair. Candidates could experience first-hand the
lives of train conductors, electricians, and construction workers.
The recruiting team found that exposing candidates to this experience resulted in
higher-quality applications and candidates who were interested in the positions.
“The idea is to give people a really good insight of the jobs at Deutsche Bahn. We want
applicants to get a close look over the shoulder of an electrician or a train driver. That
is something that makes the application process very tangible and very satisfying. We
can show how fascinating jobs are in the real world,” says Kerstin Wagner, head of talentacquisition at Deutsche Bahn Mobility Logistics.
Show your donors the actual impact
of their contribution in a way they can
almost touch and feel. Guide them
through a ‘before and after’ experience
that illustrates exactly what you can
A VR campaign does something many
cause-driven organizations all over
the world struggle to achieve. Virtual
Reality can show donors exactly where
their money is going and the outcome
it achieves. Toms: Virtual Giving Trip.
Toms, a popular shoe company, is
well known for donating one pair of
shoes to a child in need every time
a customer buys their own pair. The
charity found a new way to inspire its
customers to give by taking them on
a journey while wearing a VR headset.
The Toms Virtual Giving Trip is narrated
by Blake Mycoskie, the founder and
Chief Shoe Giver of Toms, and one
of his colleagues. As they describe
the story of Toms’ founding, their VR
experience takes viewers on a trip
through Peru, where Blake and the
shoe-giving team visit a school of
children who are about to receive the
shoes they need for the first time.
From a virtual factory tour to product experience, VR can amp up a sales force and help
them truly understand the product and your objectives. Beyond the event, a portable
VR version of the content can be used to inspire their customers!
Some companies aren’t limiting themselves to brining just products to their tradeshow,
instead they’re using VR technology to bring the entire building with them. What better
way to immerse customers into your brand.
In 2016, Anheuser-Busch gave SXSW attendees a VR tour of their Budweiser St. Louisbrewery that involved seeing, hearing, and even smelling different parts of the
facility. Users wore VR headsets and were led on a tour of different rooms to learn about
the brew. When they toured near the hops that went into the beer, brewery employees
held actual hops under the attendees’ noses. And of course, attendees got to taste the
Create an immersive experience
that’s more engaging, interactive
and persuasive than mere video. It’s
more interesting and better at holding
attention than simply presenting in
the traditional form. VR is a perfect
platform to take your audience deep
into where you want their minds to be.
The most important factors to consider
in using VR at your event is what
purpose does it serve, what story
does it tell, and how are you going to
obtain, customise, or create it? Avoid
using VR purely as a gimmick. Instead, provide real value to attendees and stakeholders. The most important
part of adopting any technology is the
impact it will have on your strategic
Ask yourself what the goals of your
event are first and then see how you
can leverage VR to help get you there.
Here’s some questions to think about
when considering VR:
The goal is to make the experience
more useful, impactful or memorable
than what has been done previously, no
matter what your event.
VR can be experienced with something
as simple as a cardboard holder for a
smartphone paired with VR apps, or a
high-tech immersive helmet and hand
sensors wired up to a supercharged
PC. The biggest emerging category of
hardware in VR is stand-alone glasses,
where the computer, vision, and sound
are all contained in one battery powered
lightweight device with
wireless capability. A leading example
of this is the Oculus Go, which is the
model that Encore Event Technologies
deploy on our events.
Keep in mind the realities of the
space required if you’re using VR
for a competitive team challenge. If
attendees are expected to swing, duck
and dodge you’ll need to allocate
enough room to avoid any ‘real-world’
Many industries are now awash with
great examples of VR and although it’s
a little too soon to call it mainstream,
it appears that we are reaching the
tipping point. The technology is
becoming cheaper and the number
of companies producing these
experiences is growing, which can
only mean we will see it more not only
at events but for a widening number
Business investment will likely be a
strong driver with demand to create
virtual meetings in a time-poor world.
There are already products coming to
market that enable meeting attendees
to dial into a boardroom and see, hear
and interact with each other as if they
The question now is not if, but when
and how you will be using VR in your
At Encore we love finding ground-breaking event applications for
new tools like VR.
We’ve already produced experiences for many
event types and purposes and are thrilled at the possibilities it
This is event planning on a new level. The ability to put your
event ahead of the game offers memorable occasions not soon
Contact us to explore how we can take your next event to virtual
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