[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom” bg_image_animation=”none” shape_type=””][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” bg_image_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]You could say the quest for sustainability has touched all industries at one point or another. The event industry is no different in that organizers are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. From outdoor festivals to interactive exhibits, companies are increasingly opting for eco-friendly solutions.

When it comes to event technology, Encore Canada is making a conscious effort to offer sustainable experiences. From digital banners to virtual reality headsets, there are many ways to deliver an exciting experience that has little to no impact on the environment. So let’s take a look at some of the biggest sustainability trends to hit the industry this year.

Digital Banners

From flyers to posters, there’s no doubt the amount of paper used to promote an event. That’s why many organizers are looking to digital solutions instead. Digital banners are an excellent alternative to hard-copy signage. This innovative marketing tactic is much more versatile than a traditional banner. A digital backdrop not only saves on paper and printing costs — but allows event organizers to create an impressive visual display that will captivate their guests.

Digital banners work well when they’re incorporated into your stage’s set design. You can also display them prominently along venue walls for a truly immersive experience. Encore Canada can help you capture your event’s theme and messaging in a series of digital banners. This medium is also ideal for sponsorship loops, corporate branding or animated content.

Mobile Event Apps

Hard-copy event itineraries are becoming less popular as organizers look for paperless solutions instead. One of the best ways to share information with your attendees is through a mobile app. Encore Canada a has the expertise to help planners build an app that all guests can tap into on the day of the event.

A mobile app is an eco-friendly way to provide venue directions, share event photos or notify attendees of special highlights ahead. This paperless solution also allows organizers to make last-minute changes to information and send out updates in real-time.

Virtual Reality Headset

Virtual reality headsets are promoting sustainability by cutting down on the need for physical transportation. That’s because these innovative devices can send your guests to far-off places, which would have been otherwise inaccessible. VR’s popularity comes at a time when event planners are debating whether virtual experiences would replace face-to-face interactions. Although many companies still prefer in-person gatherings, VR can be used as an intriguing side component.

Virtual reality headsets can place attendees in an alternative state where they can experience interesting situations. By immersing the user in a 360-degree view of entirely different worlds, organizers are giving users an opportunity to interact with the environment in a very sustainable way.

Live Streaming

Live streaming is an excellent way to incorporate sustainability during an event. Keep your travel footprint low by allowing guests to watch the gathering online or on a projector at a remote location. By keeping the in-person guest list down, organizers can opt for a smaller venue, which will help reduce the event’s overall carbon footprint. Live streaming also allows for digital advertising, which will dramatically reduce paper waste and provides an additional revenue source for your event.

Energy-Efficient Technology

Event technology devices tend to consume a lot of energy, especially when it comes to interactive displays. That’s why the industry is turning to event technology with energy-efficient components. LED lighting, for example, is becoming increasingly popular — as is the use of daylight instead of artificial light to brighten a venue. Preference is also given to Energy Star products, especially when it comes to sound and stage equipment. Set-up crews are also turning down lighting levels during the event’s setup and tear-down phases.

Be ‘Green’ with Encore Canada

Our friendly team of event technology experts can help you design and implement an event that has little to no impact on the environment. Conservation and reduction initiatives are an excellent way to drive profits. By showing customers that you care about the social impacts of your company’s actions, doors may open to new clients and opportunities.

Rely on Encore Canada to deliver technology solutions that are responsible and motivated. Together, we can help the event industry raise its ecological-consciousness — and bring consumers a truly sustainable experience.

For more information on sustainable event technology, call Encore Canada at 1-800-868-6886 or contact us here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Virtual Reality

In 2012, VR first grabbed the attention of the world with Oculus Rift’s wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. The almost 2.5 million dollars raised proved it was easy to see the potential of a technology capable of transporting users to another perceived environment.

This rings especially true for the meetings and events industry. From the initial event planning discussions to day-of — and everything in between — virtual reality has represented the potential to create interactive, immersive experiences. Seven years later, however, VR applications are still limited in scope.

Let’s review a few ways you may have considered using virtual reality, and VR’s place in the meetings industry for 2019.

Site Visits & Design Visualization

Who hasn’t thought it would be a great idea to put a VR headset on a stakeholder who couldn’t make a site visit? But once we tried it, most of us quickly realized this is more of a novelty than a practical tool. There is little to no tech support outside of the venue to help first-time users acclimate to VR tools, and users have to be ravenously curious about VR to give it a try – never mind that a photo tour could do just as well.

The one unique case where it might be useful is pre-selling or showcasing a renovation/ new build space. Tech-savvy teams that develop scenic renderings can convert pre-visualization textures and geometries to real-time engines that have built-in VR capabilities.

That said, those same engines can just as easily be displayed on a laptop, over the web. So, for now, having VR is really about giving the future meeting space that extra kick. If you choose to incorporate VR, run the experience on-site and be sure you have a competent technical team on standby to help.

Education & Training

This is where the content needs to be custom, and well-matched to the medium. You only want to use VR if only VR will do – not as a gimmick. Content delivered through VR can be a much more compelling experience than passively viewing slides or a video. For example, medical groups are employing VR to conduct training and offer seminars in surgical techniques. These modules often implement dynamic overlays and offer orbital, interactive exploration of the content.

In this case, it’s not only VR visuals that increase efficacy but also VR-specific gesture control, allowing users to grab and move virtual elements more naturally, side to side, forward and back. This is not easily done with a 2D display. Even in these situations, be cautious of the ROI. You should still be expecting to spend upwards of $20k.

Brain Breaks & Entertainment

With the demand for attention and actionable insights required of today’s event attendees, meeting planners are looking for ways to break up stress. Could this finally be a job for VR? Slip into a headset and find yourself transported to a beach, climbing a summit, or snorkeling along a reef. Magic, right?

As you probably know, brain breaks like this have variable success. But we’ve achieved a better response when set up in a private, quiet space where attendees don’t feel like they’re on display. Some planners add aromatherapy to elevate the experience. I know what you’re thinking: private means it’s not discoverable. But if you include the experience in your schedule or wayfinding material, attendees seeking sanctuary won’t mind walking a little further to get to it. Just make sure you bring plenty of extra headset covers for hygiene.

Gaming, on the other hand, is an entirely different way to destress with VR. Thinking about adding a PS4 VR during a social event? Awesome! Especially if there are multiplayer options. (Though with a friendly reminder to mind your licensing.) Again, just make sure your technical team is right there to help. Plus, games are designed to be discoverable, so there’s a good chance people will just want to explore. And of course, it’s supposed to be a spectacle, so people already know what they’re signing up for.

Is that your final answer?

So, to answer the original question, is VR dead in the meetings industry? It has its place when leveraged appropriately. Thankfully, we can finally see our opportunities more clearly. And this isn’t the end of the story.

Today, there are emerging VR platforms that may soon bring together people who can’t travel. At the moment, these platforms are the domain of diehards and developers, but as the platforms become more professional and better connected and tools become smaller to support the emergence of wearable augmented and mixed realities (AR/MR), VR will only benefit – and we can’t wait to explore these topics in future blog posts.

Authors:

Holli M. Downs, Ph.D, Senior Analyst, Metrics and Communications at PSAV

Christian Wright, Director, Research & Development at PSAV