APAC events industry receptive to use of xR at virtual events


Asia Pacific’s events industry is catching onto the trend of incorporating extended reality in online events, indicate panellists at the recent webinar entitled Reimagine Virtual Events Storytelling Through Extended Reality, hosted by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA).

Extended reality, also known as xR, is a technology that blends physical and virtual worlds together, where its usage has been increasing steadily in online events based in Europe and the US.

There is no limit to imagination and space when it comes to incorporating xR into all types of events

Eelynn Tan, Aux Media Group’s event producer, shared that the events industry had to react quickly and quickly pivot to digital events in the last 1.5 years, but after some time, realised that “clients and audiences wanted more than streaming from such events”.

That signalled the start of the incorporation of xR technology in events, which Tan revealed helped to transform Zoom meetings or online conferences “into something more unique and captivating for audiences”, and allowed for a more immersive experience.

“We are all jumping into extended reality. Korea, for example, has a huge market,” said Cesar Caceres, technical head APAC, at events software company Disguise.

He added that even though countries are reopening which means that more events could potentially return to face-to-face, Caceres believes xR is here to stay, and can also enliven hybrid or in-person events.

Nicholas Tan, Aux Media Group business development director, said: “Extended reality is behind the most spectacular events around the world, including the recent Tokyo Olympics closing ceremony, Dubai Expo 2020, musical concerts, celebrity events, and movies. Even the game world is becoming more realistic now.”

In relation to corporate events, Tan pointed out that a growing number of product launches, conferences and meetings, are already moving into the xR arena.

“It is no longer just a conference, but (organisers realise they can) do something different to wow both their audience and even their own employees. Marrying the two – the virtual and the physical world – is critical,” he said.

Panellists also shared that there is no limit to imagination and space. For instance, within a 6m x 6m cubic space, xR can create an out-of-this-world experience and include whimsical and fantasy setups, impactful visuals, elements of surprise like fireworks, showcase a company’s brand identity, or even bring in elements of augmented reality.

However, Darren Chuckry, founder and managing partner, HK Initiative, pointed out that content is very important in xR, so when it comes to creating online corporate events, it is necessary to work closely with the company regarding the objectives, profile, and branding guidelines. This is because all these aspects play a part in determining how the visuals will look like, and how the content will be presented in order to tell a story which engages the audience.

Another benefit of xR is that the virtual setup helps to save on event costs, as all behind-the-scenes work is included in the price, as opposed to an in-person convention or conference. Virtual setups can also be reused by the company for a series of events, thereby building on the economics of scale and reducing material wastage.

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