Imagine a world of limitless possibility, where people can be whoever and wherever they want to be. That’s the promise of the Metaverse – and it’s already in development.
Let’s explore how Metaverse events could be on the brink of revolutionising the world of events and meetings.
The idea of the Metaverse is to develop an ecosystem of interlinked virtual worlds that we will access via a range of online tools, often through wearable technology such as headsets. And it looks set to transform the events landscape in the coming months and years.
Experts are foreseeing Metaverse events that guests will attend as avatars, choosing how to represent themselves to their fellow attendees.
Engagement will be deepened, as organisers will be able to bring creative ideas to (virtual) life, often using gamification elements. Whereas venue issues and budgets limit traditional in-person events, there’s huge flexibility in the virtual world.
Metaverse events will also boost accessibility, enabling people to attend regardless of their location, childcare responsibilities, language, or disabilities.
And they will enable organisers to capture data, analyse engagement, and assess outcomes in a granular way, gaining insights to inform future campaign strategies.
While the full Metaverse is in its infancy, Virtual Reality (VR) experiences are already revitalising events and meetings.
Take the Royal Opera House. In December 2020, its Current, Rising was billed as “the world’s first opera in hyper reality”, combining a multisensory set with VR experiences. It offered audiences the chance “to step into a bespoke ‘Opera Tardis’ and experience a dream-like journey carried musically by a poem layered in song”.
A more down-to-earth experience was developed by professional services firm PwC, which used VR headsets to combat Zoom fatigue, with workers attending virtual meetings in exotic locations. The same tech was used for presentations, e.g. to demonstrate designs to clients in real time.
In 2021, the Morningstar Investment Conference took place in Chicago, with hundreds more delegates joining as avatars from around the world. They were sent VR headsets in advance, allowing them to attend speeches and panels virtually, and mingle with others.
Another key element to the Metaverse is non-fungible tokens or NFTs. These are chunks of blockchain code used to prove ownership of a digital asset, especially artworks. The global market has grown from $40.96 million in 2018 to an estimated $40 billion at the end of 2021.
Why do they matter for events? First, they offer rock-solid authentication, making them a great defence against ticket touts.
And secondly, they can add value to a live event, e.g. as gifts in swag bags. The Kings of Leon recently sold their new album as an NFT on the blockchain-based ticketing platform, YellowHeart. Fans could also purchase add-ons such as “golden tickets”, which included front-row seats at gigs.
Event social media
At its heart, the Metaverse is all about joining the dots between the digital and live worlds – and treating both as real. So even if your brand doesn’t have the tech capacity to plunge fully into Metaverse or VR events, you can adopt those principles.
You should be ensuring that your live events are an intrinsic part of your campaigns, not an add-on or a stand-alone activity. And that means finding ways to integrate your in-person and digital offers.
Creating event social media buzz around an open day. Live streaming concerts and other event experiences. Building websites to host Q&As and webinars for a conference. All these are within the grasp of most brands and set the stage for future technical developments.
Finally, never forget content! As Ben Choder of Notified writes in Forbes: “As event professionals, if we don’t invest as much in our events’ content as we do in their technology, our industry could suffer, and the metaverse could reveal itself to be just another passing fad.”
Linney – your events partner
At Linney, we understand the power of events for brands. We design and deliver creative events using cutting-edge tech to engage in-person and virtual audiences. Contact us today to discuss working together.