“Virtual Reality makes almost everything a reality.”
Although virtual reality (VR) was mainly pre-occupied by gaming and science sectors, it is becoming more and more ordinary: In many households are already VR-frames for smartphones and more and more video services are offering VR-features on their platforms. It became partly normal already – and still, it is hot and trending: Not only during events but during the planning phase as well, virtual reality can play a big role and thus be a huge chance or a deal breaker.
Better planning opportunities thanks to VR
What is VR actually? Virtual Reality is the interaction of perceiving the reality merged with a computer generated surrounding. For event planning in particular the perception of the real surroundings can almost be neglected, as Virtual Reality is more of a demonstration tool during event planning.
During event planning, things like the right location, the matching furniture and the perfect set up are crucial, especially when it should be something different than classroom or row seating. If we make use of VR, we can demonstrate our client on a screen (or glasses) how the location would look like with the desired set up und thus present a perfectly staged location in the digital world.
This comes with a couple of advantages: Site visits can be avoided if the digital models match the locations in terms of scale and design. Also, it can mask the “naked” impression we got of locations during site visits better. This can also avoid the tense moment right when guests, planners and participants are arriving at the event venue and the planner is asking themselves, “does everything look how I imagined it?”. This gap can be bridged with Virtual Reality beforehand.
This looks amazing!
The devil hides in details
On the other hand, it is quite a challenge to present the desired location digital but still true to original to planners: If you come from a full-service MICE agency, we are talking about loads of data that is almost impossible to grasp: Every location does not only look different, the measures of the rooms are also different, of course. If we can present one location, we are not necessarily able to present every other location in VR. It requires a lot of preparation before a decent picture is emerging on the screen and the planner can “walk” through it. In this case the question is not only regarding feasibility but also if the required effort is in the right ratio to the desired event. If we are talking about a spectacular product launch with journalists from all over the world and the location is already chosen, digital plans and VR tools can become important elements during the preparation of the event – but it is not necessarily feasible to construct 5 meeting rooms of 5 different hotels from scratch for a small meeting with only 30 participants.
However, “done” is not always “done”: Buildings, locations, hotels, hotel rooms, everything is changing now and then. Be it a change of owner, renovation or redevelopment, plans would have to be adjusted again in order to ensure, that a planner – hundreds of kilometers away – is seeing exactly what the status quo in reality is.
Is it worth it…
There is the obstacle of putting the effort into it, before one can present something and even then it is questionable if the presentation suits the client’s needs or if an entirely new digital plan is needed?
…and does it bear up against reality?
…and even if it is fitting the needs: the digital world is flexible. Is the presented set up even possible in terms of security guidelines of the respective locations? In those aspects, virtual and real reality can differ pretty much from each other.
Virtual Reality is digital and does not necessarily react to real changes – usually they have to be implied manually by real humans. But if the ratio of effort and desired event is feasible, it is recommended to make use of VR when planning event – just not for the very tiny ones…