The Next Big Thing in Event Tech: Augmented Reality

For a while we’ve been hearing about augmented reality and how it’s a must-have for all event planners into event tech. Let’s be honest, does anyone really know what it is? If you’re among the many who feel that they need to brush up on AR and what it means for the events industry, this post is for you!

What is augmented reality?

When your guests use augmented reality, computer generated images and sounds are added to the real world. It’s a clever way of integrating online and offline. The best way to understand what augmented reality is, is to think about Pokemon Go. It’s a perfect example!

Why should event planners be interested?

Augmented reality is far more than a fad or a way to help guests pass the time. It has the potential to change how your guests interact at events. Exhibitors who need to bring large items for display purposes (for example, cars) at a trade show won’t need to grapple with the costs and logistics of transportation. For those who are aiming to expand their event business – and who isn’t? – it’s a way to include guests who are unable to attend due to distance.  

How can event organisers get on board?

There are two ways to bring augmented reality into an event. You could buy enough augmented reality glasses for your guests. Spend time researching the offerings from the big AR players Microsoft and Meta to see what meets your needs and budget best. Apple are also rumoured to get entering the AR game in the not too distant future.

If the cost is prohibitive, you could team up with app developers and create your own AR app for attendees to download. This way, guests will be able to experience AR using their mobile devices (and you won’t have to worry about replacing broken headsets!). Blippar is an example of an AR app that you can use to bring interactive experiences and content into your event via guests’ smartphones.

What are the costs of using AR in my event?

It’s no exaggeration to say that using AR in an event is a huge investment for most event planning organisations. With the Hololens costing £2719 for developers and £4529 for organisation and Meta 2 on preorder at $949, this is simply beyond the reach of most companies.

But, there is another way for your event business to be part of the tech revolution. It’s not augmented reality, it’s virtual reality (something we’ll be looking at in a future blog post – watch this space!) We highly recommend you invest in several Google Cardboard headsets. Costing just £25 for a bundle of two, it’s an inexpensive way to let your guests experience something entirely new. There are thousands of apps to download from the Android store and the 360° channel on YouTube.

If you’re interested in event tech, watch out for our forthcoming virtual reality post. What event tech to do you use to design events that help attendees to engage with each other, speakers and sponsors? We’d love to hear! Share with the Get Invited community below or on Twitter.