The entertainment industry has advanced the development of hologram technology such that it is nearing practical use in the realm of business events. Already, live concerts include three-dimensional performances that are difficult to tell from the actual thing on stage.
While the cost is currently prohibitive for the majority of business events, hologram technology is quickly advancing to the point where you won’t need expensive mirrors now used to focus the light. In the next couple of years, then, many more companies and associations will be able to use hologram technology to present otherwise unattainable speakers or entertainers to their audiences in a way that delivers maximum impact.
Another technology that is gaining traction at business events is augmented reality (AR). With only a smartphone, AR gives an event host the ability to demonstrate a product that is not physically there in three dimensions. In the retail world, companies like Disney and Ikea use AR to have products appear through the screen of a smartphone when it’s held over a QR code or other sensor.
Similarly, if an event speaker is describing a product, each attendee can hold their phone over a brochure in their hand and the product will appear in three dimensions above the brochure. In fact, etouches is presently experimenting with AR in its own marketing presentations for the LOOPD Smart Badge, so that planners can see through their phone cameras its exact size and shape via a rotating 360-degree rendering. If a presenter is on stage alongside a physical product, attendees can look at the stage through their phone camera and see an overlay of facts and statistics related to the product.
Interestingly, AR also has a useful application outside the meeting room: wayfinding. Rather than looking at a top-down map while you are making your way through an event venue, attendees can simply look through their phone cameras at the show floor and the AR app will know where they are and guide them to where they want to go. It also shows you where relevant exhibitors or other points of interest are located as they move through the venue. While this feature is available only through dedicated AR apps now, etouches is actively working to create this functionality within its event app.
Brian Friedman is Vice President of Digital Innovation.