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Bring Metaverse Events to Life

Let’s face it – full in-XR events can seem overwhelming for both attendees and event planners. Managing logistics of individual hardware and conceptualizing a virtual world for different user roles can be a challenging entry-point to Metaverse events. However, incorporating virtual reality into your overall event strategy is a great solution to create a valuable add-on to in-person events. The way to success is simple:  start small and help your attendees getting acquainted with novel concept. And the good news is that you have everything in place for this rewarding experience!

 

Why will events in Metaverse and playful XR infusions at f2f events elevate your event experience?

    • Introduce a new level of connecting technology. The significant benefit of the Metaverse is the true presence it offers from anywhere. It’s an impressively immersive experience to effortlessly connect and converse in XR, as if you were in a physical world. It’s the most practical way to place event attendees in the same room as VIPs or special guests without requiring them to travel around the globe for an actual event.
    • Make your event more sustainable. In addition to the advantage that each remote attendee or team member doesn’t need to travel to the event location, the Metaverse world itself saves on material and energy waste, being built virtually. The new generations of XR headsets are also becoming more accessible.
    • Excite with digital worlds and a new virtual identity. You’re no longer constrained by physical boundaries – you can transport attendees to the digital twin of your office, a different historic era, or a fantastic new world! It’s a captivating attention-grabber that sets you apart from the crowd. Allow attendees to create and personalize a realistic avatar to enhance their creative experience.
    • Convert true emotions to real feedback. Many digital interaction tools already familiar to your audience can be integrated into XR environments and used outside the Metaverse event. You can elevate engagement even further by creating interactive experiences, like a drag-and-drop game where attendees use their hands. Would you complete the entire experience and provide feedback, or would you disengage midway if the Metaverse has your undivided attention?

Internal Project Use Case

In May 2023, magnid x Proske brought an XR experience to IMEX, the event industry’s leading trade show. Proske’s Metaverse booth extension showcased their novel vision for hybrid and Metaverse events, as well as the utilization of sustainability in event management. The XR environment became an original playground to intuitively explore new sustainable approaches for events and brainstorm the use of Proske’s digital services. Real conversations with the VR remote crew resulted in each visit being a unique experience. The physical booth also benefited by gaining more attention overall. More than two-thirds of our booth visitors engaged with every interaction and gamification point during the metaverse session. This success was achieved through a thoughtfully designed programming concept and the efforts of the live event team.

If we have piqued your interest, we are delighted to share our step-by-step plan for a Metaverse Booth Extension below. You will learn about the design process of a metaverse experience from the perspective of an event planner and what is needed for a seamless delivery of that experience, both onsite and in XR.

Designing the Metaverse Booth Extension Experience: A step to step plan

As an event or exhibition planner participating in a larger trade fair, you have decided to include XR into your event concept, and you have 3-4 weeks to go. So, what to do now?

First, determine what message you want to deliver and what visitors should see and experience in the Metaverse space. Second, create a show flow for the metaverse experience and align it with the overall event concept. The beauty of the Metaverse is unlimited visualization options! It means that the visual concept fully follows your goal.

Bring Metaverse to career fair? Then why not to show and promote your office digital twin. Selling a tech product? Place it in a stunning cosmic environment.

Once you have references in place, you have two approaches to create the world. You can do everything from scratch sourcing 3d assets from the store platforms, or you can pick an existing world template in the XR software library. Think sustainably: when searching for the world, give it a thought how the environment and its assets could be reused for other events.

Recap: The Metaverse is an extension of reality that bridges the gap between the physical and the virtual world. By using XR technology, you can ensure an active experience and remarkable moments. Metaverse applications enhance immersive experiences, true presence from anywhere and intuitive collaboration like in real life.

Begin with the entrance point – what is the first thing users see and do upon entering the Metaverse? It is beneficial to include an ice-breaking interaction task at the beginning of the show flow. It is even better if the mechanics for this task relate to the rest of the tour, allowing the first-time users to get familiar with future task mechanics. For example, if users are expected to write text comments about the product you showcase – ask them first to write a simple text how they feel today and place this text on a pinboard. After all interactions are completed, it is always good to show that there is more than one space that users can explore. Modern XR apps allow to create a lot of the public or private spaces (or world environments) and link them together. Would you be excited to get teleported to a pool party after the office tour is completed?

There is no need to overcomplicate the world itself because the true value comes from human connection. While the environment setup plays a significant role, there should always be space for users to enjoy live conversations with the remote XR team. This interaction adds a personal touch and enhances the overall experience.

What else to consider when creating the world concept? Once the world environment is in place and optimized, the next consideration are the interface options. It is nicer to have physics-based hands interaction, so the user can utilize hand controllers to simulate simple activities like grabbing, pulling, pushing, and even writing in virtual reality. In other worlds, incorporate simple activities that require hands, such as playing with a ball, drawing an XY chart on a virtual whiteboard, or manipulating flying objects. The other side of interactions originates from XR being immersive. Watching embedded content in the Metaverse, like videos, streams, or web pages, would also do the engagement trick. You can even explore the possibility to embed a magnid virtual venue, providing an alternative way to access on-demand content and further enriching the user’s journey!

Warning: technical content!  In an ideal XR performance scenario, visitors should only interact with objects that are important for the show flow of the event. For example, if you build a huge auditorium in virtual reality, do you need each chair to be fully interactive? No, you don’t need that, because every chair then would need to load the hardware and take excessive computing power. It would result in a slow and buggy world performance which could ruin the whole WOW effect! As an event planner, include the requirements in your testing checklist for world developers, that assets such as corporate branding items or non-important furniture are implemented as static elements or baked into the world template. By the way, if you have no access to the world template, there is a fallback option to manually “lock” such assets, so they cannot be accidentally moved or deleted by a user.

In addition to the goals mentioned earlier in this article, the main objective of bringing XR into an in-person event is to extend an existing space by introducing a virtual world. But it does not limit to the environment – extend the onsite crew by including VIPs or company leaders into MetaverseSpark the real conversation with diverse views and go-to persons most relevant to your audience into your metaverse world!

The knowledge and insights gathered onsite is a very good foundation for the follow-up. It opens the door to inspire your visitors to book a Metaverse experience of their own or take it as a first step to the fully remote XR event. There are lot of possibilities, including a meet & greet event with remote industry professionals, a digital home environment for advertising purposes or even a complete workshop or advisory board session.

Delivering the Metaverse Experience

Now that you have designed your Metaverse experience, the delivery needs to be thought about. For example, staffing comes into play. You will require at least one person onsite. Their responsibility is to prepare the designated Metaverse experience area for the booth visitors. In other words, they will handle the glasses setup, explain what will happen during the Metaverse experience and proactively monitor that the booth visitors feel well and do not bump into other physical objects while immersed in . You will also need at least two remote team members who will interact with the booth visitors within the Metaverse space. Depending on the chosen app, your XR team may also need to wear XR headsets or use the desktop option. It is not recommended to wear these headsets for more than 1,5 hours continuously, meaning that the VR guides would need to work on an hourly shift basis.

What should be considered for an onsite team? The primary planning challenge is to provide a swift and easy experience since the consumer XR hardware are primarily designed for personal use in the comfort of one’s home. The simplest way to organize an experience zone is to set up a table with 2 chairs.  This way, visitors can decide themselves whether they prefer to sit or to stand up during their virtual experience. Safety should be a priority.

Renting XR glasses might be the significant external expense, but it is still more cost-effective & more sustainable than renting more square meters for a full-day live event – extend your booth into the virtual space!

Next, let’s focus on the XR headsets onsite maintenance. Consider how long the headsets will be used onsite and how they will be charged. Even with an expected session time of 10-15 minutes, the headset battery will not last the entire day. Therefore, it is crucial to have a charging concept or at least a power bank available. To get bonus comfort points – be prepared to deal with the background noise. While headsets have internal speakers, it is recommended to include headphones into you budget. And finally, sanitation is important; plan for regular cleanup- and provide disposal hygienic masks for both XR headsets and headphones.

The “show” aspect of a “show & excite” event implies that you must find a way to showcase what happens inside the Metaverse to capture the attention of the booth visitors.  So, if the event budget allows for a screen onsite – seize the opportunity and run a stream from the XR to the physical world. It is also possible to broadcast on a tablet, laptop or to show a pre-recorded video!

Once the booth visitors have been fitted with the XR headset, the Metaverse world experience begins! The virtual guide starts with welcoming and providing a quick onboarding round. Then they follow the prepared show flow and bring the visitor along to the engagement tasks while sharing insights about the product offering based on the event concept. As an example, they can show exclusive videos about the product, demonstrate product details through a 3d simulation or design interactive tasks to enhance awareness of the product or a specific trend. As the visitor’s attention span is fully captured, it becomes an effective way to deliver the message.

At the end of the tour, it is possible to instantly export all created data and share it with the visitors. This can include drawings on the whiteboard or screenshots taken during the tour. Another method to gather impressions over time is to encourage visitors to create content as part of the interaction tasks, which then can be utilized for the post event communication. Additionally, make sure to gather notes and key learnings about each individual XR experience. This task can be shared by both the onsite and remote parts of your crew.

And just like that, you have delivered a first Metaverse experience to your audience, making it meaningful because you have connected it to your overall event concept. It’s time to think about your next Metaverse adventure – maybe fully virtual this time?

Feel free to get in contact in case you feel a little bit extra support from Proske might help you!

About the Peer 2 Peer Article

At Proske, we believe in the power of collective knowledge and diverse perspectives. Our Peer 2 Peer category is a platform dedicated to showcasing the expertise and insights of our exceptional team members. Here, our employees step into the spotlight, sharing firsthand experiences and thought leadership in their respective fields.

Author of this article: Nikolay Tretyakov

Niko is a Digital Project Manager whose core function is to develop and execute digital solutions for hybrid events. His firsthand expertise in XR headset management supports the logistics and operations of Proske Metaverse activities.

Disclaimer: various VR software are employed for our events, and we will not specify any provider to fit the principles of fair market. Information above is common for most of the software on the market in 2023.

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