Virtual Reality and its Possibilities
In a digital world where we all seem to be permanently attached to our gadgets or smartphones, the push from brands to create ever more content to promote themselves in the digital arena is an obvious one. Yet conversely, face to face events or exhibition shows still remain supremely popular.
Humans are inherently social creatures and exhibition shows allow us to communicate with one another, discuss/share our thoughts and engage with brands that interest us. By visiting an exhibition stand we form a view of a brand or service or product. We feel, touch and engage with the brand and these physical features allow us to forge a stronger connection with the brand.
We feel however there is a natural synergy between the physical space of a stand and the virtual opportunities within it. Immersive or three dimensional experiences can enhance message retention by engaging the senses. Perhaps more importantly virtual reality (VR) has the potential to decrease physical build costs, allowing exhibitors to provide a messages within one headset, reducing the need for huge stand spaces. However it is worth recognising that VR is still very much in the developmental stage and is not within its challenges.
So if you are considering the use of VR within your stand design there are few important points to contemplate when you’re considering using this medium:
- Is it right for my audience? The single most common mistake is to let the technology drive the message and not the other way. Who doesn’t want to consider having a piece of cutting-edge equipment to exhibit on their stand, but is it a correct fit for your audience/event?
- What platform should I use? Will it be Oculus Rift, which presents very high definition video and audio – but will need multiple headsets and at least one video feed to an external screen to allow other delegates to see what is being viewed. Conversely you could go down the route of Google Cardboard, which allows the user to download and keep lower resolution content on their own device, taking the viewer home with them and allowing them to share content with colleagues? These days it is possible, thankfully, to use a common platform that outputs content to both devices, but consider carefully which one of the two platforms to use on your exhibit.
- How will I handle traffic on the stand? VR by its very nature is an immersive experience and delegates will be happy to wait in line for a while to try it out. However there is a limit to the amount of time they’ll be prepared to wait. VR can also be isolating so think about what you do with your audience before and after they’ve enjoyed the experience. Don’t just let them walk away, make sure they understand what they’ve learned and give them a chance to speak with your staff so they can refer them to other activities. Also, calculate the amount of time the experience requires and number of headsets you will provide, bearing in mind that each unit is likely to need an adequate amount of space to allow the users move around.