When it comes to virtual experiences, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Do you instantly cringe thinking about sitting on a conference call for potentially hours on end?
These days, it is difficult to meet in person. And most people are getting "Zoomed out", spending so much time isolated on conference calls leading to burn out and zoning out.
We are navigating new territory, where most of us are accessing other people and experiences virtually instead of in person. The issue is that we are treating virtual experiences as in-person substitutes, throwing our hands up in defeat and committing ourselves to whatever web conference technology is at hand.
When it comes to significant events, like conferences, company orientations, education, fundraising, etc., these virtual alternatives end up creating frustration and a sub-optimal experience.
There is a lot of noise out there on the "new ways" to do virtual events. Most solutions with big claims fall short upon closer inspection; they are simply offering conference call technology with a few added features. Many make claims that a virtual experience will always be sub-optimal, and that individuals and brands will never achieve the type of experience that being in person brings.
But what if there is a better way? While a virtual experience will always be different from an in-person one, it does not mean that it has to be less effective. There are a lot of technologies out there that can help us embrace the digital and be more effective in a virtual setting.
We just need to be more creative about it.
Several months ago, we began developing a "digital experience" platform. This platform provides a way to connect the physical and the digital, using both creative and technology assets.
On the creative side, imagine accessing a web portal that takes you to a dimensional space. It could be any kind of space. A conference room. A cathedral. Outside the Eiffel Tower. In a fantasy realm. Only limited by your imagination, and the skilled development of high-quality panoramic images.
What unique environment would you create?
On the technology side, imagine that you can create your own experience by navigating through and interacting within the digital space. Digitally walk through the experience, selecting different interactive hotspots. Access an area where you can chat with others. Attend a live video conference, or access the recorded content afterwards. Play a game. Read a post. Interact with and purchase a product.
What journey and content would you enable?
The primary point of this technology is to create a more interactive experience. Web conferences, while static delivery, certainly will always have their place, and they can successfully exist within a larger, more immersive experience. Without the in-person element, having an interactive framework is critical - to both simulating a full experience and boosting the delivery of static content.
It's easier to experience a brand, remember a concept, and make purchase decisions, when you can control your own experience. Create that experience for any audience to decide what to access and when, contained within a digital environment that one can "walk through".
Let's talk data. With this type of platform, understanding what your audience is experiencing is easier to decipher. Real-time analytics can help you figure out what content resonates, and what falls flat.
The potential application for this type of technology, both during a time of social distancing and after, are endless.
Online orientations delivered through this technology can help employees understand the company's desired brand experience. It can also help employees retain and re-access the content over time.
Conferences and one-time events can engage virtual audiences in lieu of an in-person offering, or even when there is an in-person component. Digital experiences provide more interactivity and value-add.
eLearning and education can be made more interactive by giving students a framework with which to access content and interact with others. Imagine if a "virtual school" consisted of a virtual building that had virtual hallways where students can chat with each other during breaks? Imagine if teachers can set up their own virtual classroom settings and content that helps students engage at a deeper level?
Fundraisers can benefit from a digital platform by communicating and connecting with donor audiences, conveying the value they bring through a more immersive experience. Imagine if you can create a virtual journey for donors that will allow them to connect with your mission?
We are on a journey to create a new world of digital-first events…. a mission to find new ways to access companies, experience brands, and interact with each other in virtual spaces.
Will you join us?