By Danny Stefanic, CEO and Founder of MootUp
The events industry has been toying with the introduction of avatar-based virtual worlds, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) for some time. But the pace of implementation since the pandemic has certainly ramped up the rate of adoption and general public awareness of these technologies.
Our newfound familiarity (and often favorability) with video calls instead of face-to-face meetings over the last two years means we have become a nation much more willing to adopt new ways of doing things – and the way we host events and conferences is likely to be next.
Events in the metaverse are not a distant dream, despite what you may believe. Today’s web browsers are far more powerful than most people think, and with the right platform the metaverse can be enjoyed on any mobile or laptop device just by clicking on a link. This is why we are seeing huge brands like ITV and Zara launching virtual experiences, and more companies embracing the metaverse for business. The point here is that it is open and accessible to all.
So, if we are so close to fully adopting the metaverse into our everyday lives, how can the events industry make the most of it?
First of all, engagement levels and audience participation increase in metaverse events. Attendees engage in shared experiences using avatars and they are co-present in the same spaces, but with each participant forming memories from their own unique experience. They can walk, talk, dance, shake hands, share, like, comment and engage throughout an event. Engagement can even be measured in detail – something in-person events struggle to achieve.
Secondly, one of the biggest draws of the metaverse experience is its scalability. Think about it. Attendance is often the most crucial factor when determining the success of an event. But attendance figures are restricted by a venue’s capacity. The metaverse has unlimited scalability and organizers can even design their spaces so that attendees can access breakout rooms and smaller spaces that allow for multiple talks and presentations to happen at the same time. Crucially, this means monetization is unlimited too.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, is the carbon reduction of hosting metaverse events – particularly large conferences where attendees are visiting from different regions or even countries. We only need to think back to COP26 where world leaders arrived in their private jets and 10-car convoys to appreciate the carbon savings that could be made if some in-person events relocated to the metaverse.
It’s important to remember that the metaverse is not here to replace in-person events. It is simply here to give you a unique way of running experiences.
The future of the metaverse
It is understandable that some organizations are nervous to commit themselves entirely to the metaverse. After all, we’ve had two years of sitting indoors wishing we could socialize with others in person. But we cannot ignore where the internet is heading.
Facebook’s rebrand to Meta solidified the social media platform’s confidence in the metaverse. Meanwhile Microsoft’s announcement that it is building a metaverse inside Teams is another important look into how the metaverse for business will be commonplace in our daily lives.
As someone who has worked in VR and AR for more than 25 years, I truly feel we are now on the precipice of a virtual revolution. The businesses who embrace ‘immersive’ experiences into their events and conferences will be the ones at the forefront of this exciting revolutionary movement.
Danny Stefanic, CEO and Founder of MootUp, the 3D Metaverse Virtual Events Platform. He is also the founder of the world’s first WebXR learning experience platform, LearnBrite, and founder of 3D internet company ExitReality Inc – the world’s first web metaverse. He has been creating ground-breaking 3D businesses for over 25 years and is considered a leader in the field of the “metaverse for business.” On top of his corporate roles, he has assisted companies with angel investment, international licensing, acquisitions, exits, managing distributed teams and has personally closed IP acquisitions valued at $85MM.