IMEX Blog: How VR is changing the face of the events industry

Ahead of her trip to IMEX 2017 Victoria Bell, business development executive, at The Brewery discusses how VR is moving from the world of science fiction into the real world and what this means for event professionals everywhere.

Most people will agree that when it comes to business, face-to-face interaction simply can’t be beaten. However, in a globally connected world, that simply isn’t always feasible. Rather than settling for more traditional forms of communication, Virtual Reality (VR) is creating the next best thing by immersing users in a virtually constructed replica of the real world. In Lehman’s terms, this means virtual venue tours, virtual venue styling and eventually, perhaps, even the first virtual event!

Starting at the very beginning of event planning, imagine conducting site visits in Beijing, Paris and New York all on your lunch break and from your office in Las Vegas. As is usually the result of new technology, it begins simply by saving us time and eventually expands to changing the way we live.

The technology requires a headset and ranges from the super simple Google Cardboard, which utilises a smartphone device, all the way to Samsung’s Gear VR which includes an inbuilt screen powered by Oculus. Having recently launched our own virtual reality venue tour, we can attest to its benefits having already seen a 20% increase in global business as a result.

Our new venue tour allows users to instantly jump into the virtually constructed grounds of The Brewery and navigate through all the venues spaces from your smartphone. Upon putting the headset on, users will be met with a high-definition, 360 degree view of the venue and can navigate the spaces via an interactive menu controlled solely by looking at a series of virtual tabs and pointers.

Although VR tours are impressive, what’s truly exciting is the future capabilities of virtual and augmented reality technology. The buzzword of the last few years, personalisation really comes into its own with virtual reality. Imagine tailoring an event to each individual in attendance, curating what they see when they walk in to a venue, what elements of an event are stressed and who they are connected with.

This could mean highlighting guests who have similar business interests at a networking event or virtual signage and directions to a specific stand at an exhibition, making the entire experience feel more personal and custom-made. Good events tell a story while creating a shared experience for attendees, and through VR, this is exactly what event organisers are set to be able to do.

By taking the first steps into the world of VR, our new virtual venue tour is our promise to stay at the cutting edge of event technology. The Brewery already has a well established reputation for state-of-the-art facilities and, as we introduce the next phase in technological advancement, we will ensure that we continue to be at the forefront of an every-changing industry.