Augmented Reality: The Future of Virtual Events

May 22, 2024

Kelly Peng

Kelly Peng is CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Kura Technologies, which manufactures augmented reality glasses that achieve 135-degree field view in a compact form factor for long-wear comfort. Peng is a Forbes 30-Under-30 honoree, inventor, engineer and entrepreneur.

Now more than ever, new technological advancements have the potential to positively impact the events industry. Many high-profile events already offer live translation services during streamed events, QR codes for a streamlined check-in experience and apps for everything from schedule navigation to live audience participation. Augmented reality (AR) is set to be the next great change agent of the event industry.

What is AR?

AR is an immersive technology that overlays digital content over the real world, often through wearable technology such as AR glasses. AR can also be accessed through smartphones and tablets, making it an accessible solution for event organizers everywhere. 

Recent advancements – most notably the creation of platforms that allow AR-powered collaboration and the rollout of 5G networks – mean that AR has the potential to supercharge the events industry. Whether it’s a trade show, conference or product launch, attendees can be transported to their destination with a few taps of a button, onsite or virtually.

Leveraging wearable AR

From the first kickoff meeting to the event itself, there are limitless ways to harness the power of AR at every stage of the event, including:

·  Interactivity: Attendees can interact with presentations or live exhibitions in many ways with wearable AR technology. Mini-games can bring virtual and in-person attendees together, helping them make new contacts and break the ice. AR networking events put people across industries in the same room together, even though some rooms may be thousands of miles away from the event. 

·  Wayfinding: For in-person attendees, one of the main stressors is often getting from room to room, or panel to panel. AR glasses with wayfinding superimpose a map atop the wearers’ surroundings, making it simple to get around without being late for a key event. 

·  Resources: Speakers can take their presentations to the next level with wearable AR technology that invites listeners and viewers to actively participate. AR can assist with live language translations, poll the audience or show live questions from listeners, breaking down barriers between the speaker and their audience.

Features to consider

To unlock the full potential of AR collaboration, it is recommended the AR wearables have the following features: 

·  Large field of view: Allows the wearer to see the world normally, ensuring their field of vision is not diminished when they put on the wearables.

·  High transparency: Distinguishing AR from VR, transparency allows AR to be projected over the real world. Higher transparency makes sure the user is aware of their real-world surroundings and makes the display safe to use in person at events. 

·  High brightness and large resolution: High brightness guarantees that images projected are visible to the user, even when wearing the glasses outdoors in the sunlight. A large-resolution picture guarantees a clear and sharp display to create the best experience possible. 

How AR enhances events

Regardless of the event, event organizers can leverage AR to elevate offerings for attendees, vendors, exhibitors and sponsors by powering:

·  Custom product exhibitions: Wearable AR makes a world of difference at trade shows by offering businesses the chance to show off their new products and services in their immersive, live use case scenario. This holds special appeal for manufacturers whose products are too large, bulky or impractical to display in person – plus, the novelty of the AR experience consistently appeals to new potential buyers.

·  Real-time data collection: When done right, wearable AR can offer a slew of data-driven takeaways event organizers can leverage when planning future events. From audience engagement from panel to panel to event space usage over the course of the show or conference, there’s lots to be learned from the numbers AR can collect. 

·  Additional revenue streams: Event organizers can use AR to offer sponsorship opportunities to corporations interested in this unique advertising method. AR offers sponsors the chance to personalize their marketing outreach, while also ensuring the event itself diversifies its earning opportunities.

Right now, few technological developments have the power to change the events industry quite like wearable AR. By leveraging this cutting-edge technology, event organizers can supercharge attendee experiences, engage sponsors and ­– most importantly – ensure everyone involved in the event has the best time possible

Partner Voices
For the past 18 years, BlueHive Exhibits has been a steadfast partner for both national and international companies, catering to their trade show and event needs.