By Peta Moore, managing director, Nectar Creative Communications

In the event industry things are evolving away from standard agendas and a top-down information delivery mechanism, towards more immersive two-way experiences, says Peta Moore.

But what do we mean by immersive experiences in the event industry, why are they important, and how can you integrate them into your next event or conference?

The rise of storytelling

One thing I’ve noticed around recent events, both in Australia and globally, is a rise in storytelling and the way technology is being used to wrap the story of an event around delegates and give them a fully immersive experience (which I love!).

Ultimately, technology is just the delivery mechanism, but what’s important is the enhanced level of engagement. Just like a theatre performance, or live football match, it is the connection to the events and the takeaway of ideas and emotions that stay with us.

This is the same kind of response we want from our events.

To achieve this successfully you first need to think about what emotional triggers could be activated in your event target audience. Emotion is the key to feeling immersed and connected to an event.

What are your audiences’ fears, hopes and dreams? How can you provide solutions for them?

Why do immersive experiences work?

When handled correctly immersive experiences take an ordinary event with one way methods of communication and hard to retain information, and transform them into interactive, two way conversations that feel natural and far less passive.

For millennials raised with the internet and constant interactivity this feels much more intuitive and fits how they are used to experiencing the world.

Immersive event experiences capture the attention of delegates, and draw them into learning and engaging with your event ideas, and vision.

Practical ways to implement immersive technology

Producing a truly immersive experience is not simple or straightforward, so let’s look at a few practical tips of how it can be achieved. Once you have the story you want to tell at your event, and have found the emotional triggers you want to build into the event, it’s time to think about the best technology to deliver these concepts.

Ambient Interactivity

 Ambient interactivity brings the best of the real physical world and digital world together.

This type of tech can be seen in interactive features built into real physical elements and objects, for example walls, windows, tables and more.

A good example of this technology is the immersive room built for Nokia Bell Labs (an industrial research and scientific development company owned by Finnish company Nokia). The room featured three smart glass walls and a 4K definition video wall.

Iconic moving images relating to the history of the telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell and other Nobel Prize winners were displayed on the video wall while there was also touchscreen capability and a trackpad so visitors could interact with the room.

Mobile and Social Experience

The prevalence of mobile devices has become a key connection point for real world events and digital experiences.  I believe a large part of our success as event creators today is dependent on how well attendees communicate their experiences on social media, amplifying the story and reach of the event to add real value.   Attendees have the ability to express the emotion and add a personal and human aspect to the event that can’t be achieved in any other way.

3D Mapping Projections

The wow factor is a big part of creating an immersive experience that drives the kind of emotional responses we are looking for as event creators.

3D mapping projection is a technology that fits this criteria well. It allows for the projection of 3D images onto various surfaces and shapes including buildings, and even water.  The size and scope of these projections and illuminations are breathtaking and now the cost and technology allow for them to run for the entire length of an event.

The effect is much like a living, moving wallpaper. You can wrap the event surroundings in images, colours, and designs that fit your story, ideas and emotional triggers taking delegates to another level of experience.  This technology is often only associated with large-scale public events and I believe currently under-utilised in conferences. Therefore the potential for those willing to take the leap first with this type of interactivity is huge.

Events are moving more towards using interactive, two-way experiences, that tell a story rather than top-down methods of communication. New technology continues to make this an exciting time for the industry.

To learn more contact Peta Moore at Nectar Creative Communications via email on peta@nectarcc.com.au.