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What we thought of as events dramatically changed over 2020. The world had no choice but to pivot to virtual events. Hybrid events have followed. And many people are waiting to see how in-person events return and adapt to a post-COVID world.

Thinking ahead to this new environment, we love the new report from the creative event agency Live Union - Anatomy of the 2021 Event Audience.

The report draws on a panel of experts from companies such as Pfizer UK, CBRE, Okta, National Grid, Visa, Santander, Arm, IHS Markit and Bain & Company. It investigates what audiences will want from future events. And it summed everything up in seven key take-outs.

This helped us to think about how immersive technology and shared virtual reality could fit into the picture and deliver on the seven criteria. In this paper, we build on the Live Union framework, and set out our conclusions.

Whether you’re hosting virtual, physical or hybrid events - how can you ensure your event is offering your audience value?

This is a major opportunity to re-imagine the way events work. Using our range of shared immersive technologies and structures, we can help transition to a new world of virtual, hybrid and multi-location events.

1. Choice

People will demand choice and flexibility in how they engage with content. Virtual events have given people more events than ever to choose from - which means a lot more people are mindful of how they use their time.

Your content has to be accessible for physical and remote audiences, and made available to be re-shared. Even if your event or presentation is live instead of pre-recorded, you want to be able to capture everything in high quality - and not just share a copy of your slides afterwards, but full-length recordings of your event.

We’ve installed Igloos as presenting stages for hybrid events, such as this open 180° cylinder for CapitaLand. You can invite people to socially distance as appropriate and share an up-close experience, or still offer them the opportunity to join via a video link that lets them appear in a life-sized feed for easy interaction. It’s completely flexible. And all of it can be captured and re-purposed as you see fit for anyone afterwards.

Igloo installed 180 degrees cylinder for CapitaLand event

2. Local

COVID has shone a spotlight on existing issues around sustainability and travel. As people unplug themselves from the necessity of commuting, they may well ask themselves how far they can justify travelling for an event - meaning we should expect local events to become far more popular.

If travel to sprawling convention centres is no longer an option, you want to make sure your local site is the perfect venue. With Igloo shared immersive tech, existing spaces can be retrofitted into a facility for eye-catching, one-of-a-kind events. Or, you can use shared virtual reality to transport your audience to locations, projects or experiences that are out of travel range.

And with our offices and system integrator partners spanning across the world, there could be an Igloo within your range all ready to go.

3. Human

People will increasingly value meaningful human connections and this will be treasured from returning physical events, though still achievable through virtual events.

One pandemic story we haven’t forgotten is how a law professor put a Pinocchio doll on his front desk while presenting to his laptop so as not to teach an empty classroom. But there’s a better way of keeping that human element in virtual events or classes.

We were able to work with The University of Adelaide in putting that into practice. The University’s Simulation Room, equipped with Igloo’s shared immersive technology, was ideal for giving students attending remotely - and lecturers - a real sense of presence.

University of Adelaide students practicing on fake body

And what differentiates this from oft-discussed ‘Zoom’ rooms or video walls, is that you have the full Igloo software suite - designed to bring digital content of any kind into your Igloo across a layer-based system and ensure it looks excellent.

4. Distinctive

In this age of information overload and unlimited virtual events, audiences have grown more selective. There’s a real desire for more unique content in both design and delivery.

After 10+ years of delivering one-of-a-kind events, we know a thing or two about developing eye-catching immersive experiences that your audiences won’t forget. And going virtual means you can prolong the impressive content you may have created for a physical event.

Igloo wrap around with picture of car

A few years back, for example, we worked with Ford that wanted to produce and showcase a 360° film to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its victory in the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours race. And as impressive as it was in a physical venue, it has consistently re-used this content on YouTube 360 - reaching even more audiences.

5. Reflective

As people grow accustomed to working from home and jumping from event to event back to back, audiences will value events that give them the time and space to reflect.

Few events are going to stay virtual, so it’s important to carry these lessons through to hybrid and physical events. As impressive as your content can be, you don’t want to overload your audience. And you can make your content have more impact by giving your audience a place to discuss what they’ve experienced together.

The University of Deakin’s Igloo-powered Imaginarium makes use of an adjacent meeting room beside its shared immersive space, so classes can have a chance to reflect and discuss what they’ve seen. Likewise, a consulting firm held workshops in an Igloo dome - and afterwards, transformed its immersive space into a chill space, serving drinks and displaying the Northern Lights across the 360° horizon.

6. Inclusive

Virtual events have made events more inclusive, more frequent, and more timely.

There’s no reason to exclude newfound remote audiences when physical events return. Shared immersive technology allows people who can’t travel to your event to experience that same content with everyone by dialling in remotely or using a VR headset.

Even before the pandemic, we saw clients who felt, for one reason or another, VR headsets weren’t quite right for their immersive experiences. In a post-COVID-19 world, there may be even more hesitancy about sharing devices at public events. Instead there will be an expectation to comfortably socially distance and interact with content touch-lessly - perhaps with gestures or voice control.

Immersive livestreaming also makes it possible to transport teams onto experiences, in-real-time, across the world - or beyond. With advances in technology, it’s getting cheaper and easier to deliver high-quality footage, with great quality and little latency.

Superbowl football stadium

Using Igloo technology, Hyundai was able to surprise three US soldiers by virtually transporting them to a football stadium to watch the Superbowl with their families. With 5G, it’s possible to live stream interactive 360° in 4K and 8K quality - as we’ve demonstrated with Optus and Telstra.

Igloo technology is easy to use and content-agnostic, making immersive experiences more accessible for all.

7. Memorable

Virtual events often seem indistinguishable from your regular meetings. They need to develop a sense of spectacle to wow audiences. And audiences returning to physical events will expect something special after so long.

Going forward, audiences will expect experiential content that raises the bar, and not be impressed by travelling hundreds of miles for something that could’ve been a Zoom call. One-of-a-kind shared immersive experiences are far more engaging than anything you could see on a flat-screen.

You can free your digital content or apps - even video conference calls - across a vast horizon that engages your audiences in fully multisensory 4D experiences. We’ve worked with numerous such use cases and they never fail to impress: from Berkeley Hotel’s journey of taste blending bespoke cocktails, sights and scents, to the London Boat Show combining 22 projectors, photo-realistic CGI, 4D environmental effects and surround sound to create the sense of dropping users into the middle of the ocean.

So, what are your key take-outs?

Want to learn more about using immersive technology to ensure you’re delivering events of value? Just get in touch.

And if you’d like more detail, we’d suggest you have a read of our white paper on using Igloos for virtual, hybrid and multi-location events.

What are you looking for today?

  1. Find out how Igloo technology can work for you
    Explore our range of products, including cubes, domes, cylinders, immersive workspaces and Immersive Media Players.

    Find out how the Igloo software can take any content from any source in any format and put it into a shared immersive space.

    Understand more about the applications for Igloo immersive technology, including collaboration, simulation, visualisation, and experiences.

    Check out our collection of case studies and our videos for inspiration.

  2. Learn how you can partner with us
    We’re always on the lookout for content creators who live and breathe the immersive medium - and so our are clients. So, we’d love to hear from you!

    If you’re a systems integrator with a client looking to create an immersive installation, find out how our Immersive Media Player can help you. We can help advise on all the quirks as well as the characteristics of immersive installations.

    See how you can integrate your software with the flexible, content-agnostic Igloo platform, and offer your clients a way to experience your tools in a shared immersive space.

  3. Contact us and book a demo
    Ready to experience the power of Igloo technology?

    Just get in touch! We can even offer you a virtual demo.

  4. Stay up to date with everything Igloo
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