5 Creative Ways Events Professionals Are Using Virtual Reality In 2020
Events planners are beginning to realise the power virtual reality (VR) have in their events.
After years of flirting and misfires, event planners across the world are finally getting hands on with VR and unlocking it’s long promised potential!
Over the last two years, Steamed Egg has been fortunate in pioneering the power of virtual reality. We have collated our top case study events that demonstrate the vast opportunity with this technology beyond gimmicks!
Below we outline what is changing to enable this shift and 5 unique examples of VR at business events.
What has changed in the last few years?
Do you remember when the iPhone first unveiled the app store in 2009? Not many of us do, as it wasn’t really until around 2012/13 that things really started to take off.
Similarly, we are only 3 years into the consumer VR market and since then, technology advancements have come on droves! Headsets are now more comfortable, offering higher resolution graphics and a variety of gaming choices. Headsets by Oculus Quest, are also more affordable starting at £400.
Setting up a VR event, can now be a 5 minute process thanks to ‘inside out tracking’ (available on the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest). This is incomparable to the old cumbersome setups which require carefully placing sensors that cannot not be touched and let’s not forget the further 30 minutes it can take to navigate the menus and get running.
More than anything else, the quality of the graphics and visuals has become sublime. If you haven’t already, I implore you to try Google Earth VR or The Lab on an Oculus Rift S and you’ll see exactly what I mean!
Use #1: Product launch day competitions
You’ve got a launch event coming up and your client has asked you to do something “innovative and a bit different”. Classic.
We can assume that most people still have not experienced VR and so this will be the answer to your innovative demands.
Google has transformed the whole world into a beautiful 3D VR environment. Now a company office, supply chain or any place you can think of on earth becomes accessible as a showcase content. It is also perfect for exciting 3D races between teams.
Competition is a turbo charger for energy and excitement at your event activations. In this case, the name of the game – we call it the ‘Egg N’ Space Race’ is to start in space and hurtle to famous landmarks on earth against a timer or an opponent next to you. Times goes on a leaderboard and the fastest wins!
Custom Story VODAFONE:
In September 2019 Vodafone launched 5G internally to their staff in their global London HQ. Soon after, this was successfully rolled out to several major cities across europe.
We created a competition, centred around the Google Earth Virtual Reality (GEVR) experience and these cities. Guests pulled cities out of a hat and had to race there against the clock to go on a leaderboard. The fastest time of the day won a prize that was awarded in front of a crowd at the end of the afternoon.
After a tense back and forth competition for first place between very rapid members of the Vodafone team, the day concluded with an astounding round of applause and cheers for the winner. This kind of activation created a huge buzz at the stand all day.
Use #2: Sustainability Events Education
In 2020, CWT Meetings & Events cited sustainability as a top priority for the $840 billion global events industry. The topic continues to rise to the top of the agenda, both in the way we run events and their content. However, bringing the issue to life can be a struggle!
The urban environments where most of our events take place seem a world apart from the locations we talk about in sustainability; whether that’s the polar ice melt or the destruction of our rainforests. This disconnect makes it hard to keep emotionally connected issues and at the forefront of our minds.
VR transports us to unique locations and creates a sense of presence within the environment. It creates the feeling of actually being in these beautiful landscapes or witnessing fires as they tear down homes, creating vivid memories far beyond any 2D video. These visuals are ingrained in us long after we would if we read or heard someone speaking about them.
The super power here is its ability to create a sense of scale and perspective which is unparalleled by 2D content. It’s been shown that interactions through VR can be up 27% more emotionally engaging. (Source: Marketing Dive)
Customer Story, Nandos:
In January 2019 Nandos hosted a sustainability event in London as a celebration of their efforts throughout their supply chain and with their suppliers. We helped Martina and her team create a virtual tour, accompanied by a voice narration. Our guests flew over the Piri Piri farms and crucial supply chain locations throughout Zimbabwe.
The custom audio story informed the user’s journey as they flew along the path. Guests were also offered the chance to see Hymlayan glacial melt, Amazonian deforestation and the Greenland ice melt, all using Google Earth VR.
The App offered a stunning sense of the distances and scale of issues and events happening on the ground.
Martina Jansen, Sustainability Manager – Nando’s UK & IRE
For our most recent sustainability event we wanted to do something different, immersive and fun to tell our story. Using virtual reality in this way was amazing and definitely a key highlight of our event, sparking engagement between strangers as well as keeping the conversation alive for days after within our internal team.
This use of virtual reality is brilliant for events in general as it provides a type of entertainment that breaks up the evening and makes people enthusiastic about the subject matter.
Use #3: Trade Show Ice Breaker
“But VR is not new to trade shows”. Right?
Trade shows are one of the few settings where it’s proven its worth as a prospect magnet for years.
However, this is now a new option emerging for event professionals. Working with existing game developers, brands can now reskin world class VR to create a custom trade show experience that looks as though it’s theirs. By adding branding, logos and a few character enhancements, existing games can easily be transformed.
Typically, the vast majority of your audience would not have tried your VR game, hence boosting their WOW factor and overall experience.
This solution comes at just a fraction of the cost of creating a game from scratch. It will take you significantly less time and hassle for a brilliant game that’s already proven in the market.
Customer Story – Arrow Electronics:
Working with FirstEvent, helped Arrow Electronics with their first ever annual “Arrow Vision 2019 Conference’. Arrow Electronics wanted to create an entertaining interactive experience that would blow the socks off top tech partners such as Microsoft, Nvidia and Dell.
Our brief was to create an exhilarating experience that would help guests break the ice, have fun and laugh and fit their innovation theme: ‘City of the future’.
We suggested “Richie’s Plank Experience”, created by Toast VR, an Australian studio who we have a great working relationship with.
The game involves their users entering a lift and ascending to the top of a skyscraper where they are challenged to rescue doughnuts positioned at the end of a plank, 80 stories above the city below!
This experience is a guaranteed winner at every event we host.
Arrow cleverly branded the lift, the plank and city’s billboard (see video) to make it their own game. The result? Guests were gobsmacked by the whole experience and highly impressed with Arrow’s ability to deliver in their own way.
Use #4: Christmas Party
Christmas tends to be an event planner’s, both dream and nightmare. On the one hand the Christmas theme is so clearly defined you can nail it on the head. On the other hand, all ideas have been done to death!
This makes creating “something different” a real challenge.
Fortunately, the folks at Oculus and HTC and an extra few savvy developers, have chucked you event planners, a bone.
Christmas VR experiences do exist. They nail the job of reginiting a spark of awe, joy and merriment that will leave your guests feeling like they’re stepping into the set of Home Alone 2.
Our favourite festive VR experiences keep it challenging while being a little bit silly. And of course, they include the top notch classic christmas jingles leaving you feeling like a big kid.
For Deliveroo’s Christmas party, we used Toast VR’s other fantastic game “Santa Simulator”. The game takes you on a calming sleigh ride over a virtual metropolis led by Rudolf and Co. You need to carefully fling presents down as many chimneys as possible in the homes below.
We used a leaderboard here to give the activation a competitive edge with prices for the winners.
Alongside this activity, we also set up a good old fashioned ski time trial. High energy race action got the crowd going, even after stuffing their faces!
The VR and the set went down really well, and it looked great – thanks so much to you and the team for making it happen! – Demelza Wenlock, PA and Lead Xmas party planner, Deliveroo
Use #5: Off-site & Away Day team activities
Most event planners who help companies organise off-site conferences and away days, understand the challenges of creating a well balanced agenda that is entertaining and educational.
The challenge thickens when your away day is offsite.
Interactive activities need to offer something fun and original that gets people out of their comfort zone. Most of all it needs to be relevant and compliment the rest of the agenda to make the whole off site memorable and significant.
Customer Story Samsung:
Samsung UK recently held an off-site event on the outskirts of London. After a hard day of strategy planning for the year, they arrived at 4pm with scrambled brains, ready for some fun.
Sally Anne, the team’s PA and away day organiser extraordinaire requested that Steamed Egg would host and entertain the group with an activity that was high energy, and would get them buzzing after a tough day.
A two hour slot was dedicated before their evening drinks to unify the team and leaving them feeling uplifted.
We created a team head-to-head competition for their 50 guests using 5 of the top group VR experiences available today.
Sally Anne said of the event: “The whole experience was amazing, everyone was buzzing from it!”
VR has come a long way in the last 3 years. There is now a plethora of fantastic content both educational, fun & competitive. When it’s mixed together with creative flair and staging, VR produces original, unforgettable event experiences that guests are magnetised to.
Entering the golden era of VR for events, we can appreciate that it is easier than ever to implement it in our lives. It holds tremendous novelty and and huge curiosity to captivate individuals. VR has the power to attain one’s attention and makes it easy for everyone to get involved.
So now is the time to seize the moment…
Use this technology to be the leader in the events industry…