Adoption of immersive technologies is expected to explode in the coming years. And savvy event planners have already begun to embrace their existing options.  E-conferences, for example, now allow presenters and attendees to interact via computers and smartphones rather than face-to-face. And hardly a month goes by with the launch of a new event app.  But these pale in comparison to what the future holds for the events industry.

Here are some other emerging immersive technologies that promise to revolutionize the events industry in the near future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence moved from the pages of sci-fi novels to real life a few years ago and is now becoming a crucial component of marketing automation. With regards to events, some forward-thinking organizers and planners are now using AI-enabled robots to assist attendees in a variety of ways. Last year Hilton Worldwide announced that it had stationed “Connie”, the “first Watson-enabled robot concierge in the hospitality industry” at its Hilton McLean hotel in Virginia.  Using artificial intelligence developed by IBM, Connie answers guests’ questions about local restaurant and attractions, and more. During events, Connie serves as Hilton’s automated ambassador, providing them with detailed information about the company.

artificial intelligence robot Connie
Photo credit:  http://www.roboticstrends.com/article/nao_robot_wont_be_a_hotel_concierge_for_long

Virtual Reality (VR)

After many false starts, Virtual Reality is finally here and the event industry is reaping the benefits in a big way. Nearly 25 years after the first VR headset was developed, (only to disappear), VR headsets are now entering the market at a lively clip. VR products such as Oculus and Samsung Gear, Google Cardboard, and others are making immersive technology not only affordable but also accessible. Event planners can now offer VR tours of event venues and provide sneak peeks of meetings without worrying about costs or logistics.

Using Google cardboard immersive technologies
Photo credit:  http://mashable.com/category/google-cardboard/

Wearable devices

Picture this: An attendee wandering through a trade show gets a notification on her Apple smart watch that walking towards her is someone who shares similar interests. The two can greet each other, exchange cards, discuss their common interests, and within a few weeks be doing business. This hypothetical situation is just one of many ways wearable devices can be used to engage event attendees. What’s more, wearable devices can even be programmed to keep records of who you met, how long you talked, and what you talked about.

apple watch at an event
Photo credit:  http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/1334392-your-apple-watch-may-soon-be-able-to-order-room-service/

3-D projection mapping

3 d projection mapping immersive technologies
Photo credit: http://cargocollective.com/phormatik/3D-Projection-Mapping

Finally, you may have seen 3-D projection mapping in action at a trade show or conference before. Also known as video mapping or spatial augmented reality, light is mapped onto a surface, turning any common 3-D shaped object into an interactive display. For instance, the projection can convert a bare wall into a lush garden and project a swimming pool on the floor, causing attendees to feel like they are standing in the backyard of someone’s house.

Are you using any of these or other immersive technologies at your events?  If so, we’d love to hear about your experiences.  Please post a comment below to share your thoughts with our community.

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