What the Metaverse Means to Your Events

What the Metaverse Means to Your Events

by DAVID MERRELL

We just returned from The Special Event. Tuesday was a busy day — Jaka Jaiteh, AOO’s Senior Producer, and I presented a session, and then attended The Gala awards where we collected an award for an incredible team effort — the Ellison Rebels With a Cause event! I guess doing a huge event in less than five days is cause for an award … or two!

As event professionals we just do what has to be done and don’t even realize the super human efforts we undertake to make things happen. It’s only when we look back that we see that being an event professional is something pretty special! I was glad that we were able to produce the Ellison event before Covid put us in a tailspin. It’s been nice to connect with the team and the industry during these past two years each time over virtual award ceremonies.

Our presentation at The Special Event didn’t shy away from the toll that Covid has had on us all mentally, physically, and professionally. The result of it all has made us think and work differently. Before, we might have been a little less open personally because we worried about what clients and competition might say or know. Now, we are more open, inclusive of all new ideas. For instance, on stage, Jaka talked about her own struggles with the affects of isolation during Covid and we had Kirsha Cramer from Five Sense Collective conduct a sound bath. The audience loved it all. During all my years speaking at industry events, I don’t remember another time when that might have happened.

We find that health and wellness is part of all our programs now. Are you instilling any policies, or benefits that help your employees? I’d love to hear about them!

The Metaverse and You: Five Cool Ideas

I may have been the only one who watched the full hour of Mark Zuckerberg explaining the concept of the Metaverse, but luckily for you there is an 11-minute video that sums it all up!

Reading the comments the video received, I’m not sure we are ready to get together with avatars of our friends and family or our work colleagues, but there were some interesting takeaways that are probably closer to happening now, especially for event professionals. Here are a few from the session Jaka and I presented at the Special Event — Designing Events in the New Covid Reality.

1.

Green screen technology and motion capture are not new to the film and fashion industries, but they are new(er) to event design. As they become more prevalent, they also get less expensive, adding an exciting layer to how we design live events in the future.

Photos: A green screen fashion show | LilNazX in a motion capture suit

2.

Similarly, price is coming down on holograms and I’m excited to see and use them more. Here, a hologram of Romeo Santos via PORTL, an interactive holoportation technology, was used to greet guests at an interactive pop-up in New York for the singer’s documentary and concert, Romeo Santos: King Of Bachata and Romeo Santos: Utopia Live From Metlife Stadium.

Why a hologram? Jessica Vargas, director of multicultural marketing for HBO Max and HBO, explained it. “We are always looking for opportunities to be innovative and bridge the gap between fans and their beloved icons. When we knew we wanted to create a seven-day immersive experience, we knew it would be difficult to have Romeo present to welcome fans into the space.” 

Photo: Courtesy of HBO Max Pa’lante!

3.

The human element is something everyone wants to inject into virtual events. Above, international event organizer Informa uses Totem, a UK-based event tech company with an integrated portfolio of digital event solutions. The investment will enhance Totem’s existing relationship with Informa Connect, including ConnectMe, a self-serve platform that uses Totem’s technology to deploy digital features and apps to enhance its in-person events.

Personally, I believe that Allseated’s virtual platform, exVo, is miles ahead of this. (Photo above) By using an actual avatar, the platform is the only one that makes you feel like you are in a 3D space because you kind of are! From your avatar you can move into different environments, find others and talk to them via live video. As events begin to change again, Allseated is coming out with “Meetaverse” — a virtual conference room  — in response to the demand for this feature at hybrid events.

4.

Events are popping up now based solely on wellness. At the Century City Mall in California, an event based on the Hulu drama,  “Nine Perfect Strangers” which takes place at a health and wellness resort, illustrates how we can incorporate some of these activities into our corporate and social events. Mall shoppers could wander into and through the calming garden environment, take classes in proper posture for healing, meditation to lessen anxiety, and even get guidance on how to find more gratitude in their lives. How great would it be to include an area like this at an event?

5.


And finally — gift bars are getting a big makeover these days. Make the Moment is a purposeful gifting company at the intersection where corporate gifting bars meet health and wellness. Gone are chocolates and wine. In their place are the latest in sleep technology, CBD wellness and athletic technology.

Pictured here are some athletic and mood enhancers — an air purifier, meditation trainer, smart ring and hot and cold therapy device. Guests can choose what they want and Make the Moment will have it mailed to them after the event. Easy!