Millennials give rise to “smart” events

Augmented reality (AR) has been around for over a decade but industry stakeholders believe it will become more mainstream at future business events as technology continues to evolve.

Donald Lim, chief executive wizard, at Singapore-based Digimagic Communications – a full-fledged creative agency that specialises in the delivery of customised solutions – said AR is still in its infancy stage in business events but he believes it will become mainstream in less than five years.

Lim: high possibility of “smarter” events in the future

Speaking at a Business Events Forum organised by the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers, Lim explained: “AR functionality, like its ability to recognise the real world surroundings in a meetings or exhibitions environment such as floors, walls and ceilings makes augmented content in live meetings more “real” and frees away from the need of markers. This is unlike the past when AR requires users to point their camera at a flat graphic market or a graphic code in order to call out AR content.”

Lim added that this will lead to more smart events in the future where the audience is not just interested in good content, but also expect to be delighted with sensory connections and immersive experiences.

Gracie Geikie, director/principal consultant of Borneo Place, a PCO, opined: “Current conventions and conferences are still very mainstream and do not fully address or recognise that in years to come, millennials will be the main target audience for business events. We need to start the engagement now. The millennial audience wants ‘sparks’ and spontaneous engagement throughout the entire programme, even at tea breaks and lunches. Otherwise, it will just be a boring conference. For millennials, learning should be done in a way that will hold their attention span.”

“However, AR should be engaged in a convention not just to entertain delegates, whatever the age groups may be, but to also enhance effectiveness and to improve delivery,” Geikie pointed out.

Alun Jones, general manager at UBM Malaysian Exhibition Services, also believes that virtual reality and AR will gain popularity in the exhibition space. Speaking on its benefits, he said exhibitors from overseas can create the experience for exhibition visitors in situations where it is not feasible to bring large machinery into the country.

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