The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly shaken the way that the world works, and the event scene has not been spared. As the world continues to adjust to the new normal, conferences and events worldwide, have been canceled, postponed, or moved to video conferences online. We have figured out ways to go around the virus so that the industry does not come to a halt.
Today’s technology enables us to put users in interactive worlds, and in the events world that is vital for attendees to network and develop the right connections with other people. This approach has more than just technological advantages, which will be covered in this piece.
What is Online Immersive & Virtual Reality
It is to build human connections, all while being behind a screen or through a headset. The idea itself reflects core elements, including interaction, sensory, experience, and localization. Online immersive & virtual reality both encapsulate the purpose and the primary goal of immersive events and bring the imagination to life through the ever-changing advances of technology.
It is to give the attendee or the user the feeling of being in an environment instead of the one that they are physically in. It is expected that long after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the behavioral changes caused by it will likely stay. With the coronavirus situation changing daily, it is a medium that can help connect people without the risks.
Benefits of Virtual Events
Virtual reality events are far more cost-effective and convenient compared to offline, in-person events.
Traditional events incur significantly higher costs, which usually result in high ticket costs for attendees. These include;
- Hiring sizeable event spaces to accommodate large volumes of people.
- Staff and security costs.
- Travel and accommodation costs for employees and speakers flying in from overseas.
- Food and beverage costs. (Coffee is a bare essential for any event!)
Online immersive & virtual reality events remove most costs by offering virtual venues that can accommodate every attendee and speaker no matter where they are.
Online immersive & virtual reality events are flexible. Companies are increasingly becoming more global year by year; for instance, at Crypto Rebel, our team of five is distributed across Europe. These events are a time for us to come together and feel closer to each other despite the geographic distances. They help solve the issues of time zone differences and conflicting schedules that may be a barrier to attendance.
Online immersive & virtual reality events are easier to manage. These events give their hosts more control on the day of the event. Without the stress of worrying about equipment, training on-ground staff, and having to be at different places physically means that hosts can focus on ensuring that all the right digital tools are in place so that the event goes smoothly.
Online immersive & virtual reality events have a greater audience reach. Hosting a virtual reality event removes many concerns that accompany physical events such as location, accessibility of the venue, occupancy space, and the drop-out rate due to unforeseen circumstances like the weather.
The Switch to Virtual Events
Ever since the pandemic started in Europe and the United States, many companies, including ourselves at Crypto Rebel, have switched to virtual reality events.
Crypto Rebel’s Pitch Showcase event focuses on providing a uniquely immersive online environment where innovative startups in the blockchain space and active investors can meet. Our latest Pitch Showcase was last week on August 20th on the VirBELA platform. VirBELA is a free VR social tool that provides a virtual world, meeting spaces, and social hubs for people to connect and meet — allowing companies to partake in events around the globe and rent their own office space for their needs.
Think of it as the blockchain version of the ‘The Sims.’ Every user present at the event had their avatar who they could customize, move around with, and communicate with other avatars. The highlight of our Pitch Showcase event heard multiple innovative startups from the blockchain industry passionately pitch to attending investors from the same room even though everyone was physically in another part of the world.
Challenges and Solutions
The challenges that we had faced at our Pitch Showcase mostly came down to accessibility and technical issues due in part to a wide variation in attendee technology knowledge. Attendees may have trouble participating due to external factors like a slow internet connection, a microphone that does not work or being unable to run the program on their computer.
With these challenges, we have learned how to improve and ensure an even better experience for attendees in our next Pitch Showcase, scheduled in September. We will host pre-rehearsals as standard prior to the event to help our guests adjust to the new online immersive & virtual technology.