By Danny Stefanic, CEO and founder of US-based immersive event platform MootUp:
The possibilities of hosting events in the metaverse have widened immensely over the past 12 months. This is partly due to the pandemic, but also down to the public’s ever-increasing understanding of what the metaverse actually is.
When Facebook rebranded to Meta, the metaverse concept sparked public interest. The term not only stuck in people’s minds, but it drove a level of intrigue into the metaverse not seen before. Soon after, big brands announced they were experimenting with VR, leading to the rise of the ‘Metaverse for Business’ concept. Momentum is growing, and 2022 looks to be a defining year for the metaverse.
What is the metaverse?
Quite simply, the metaverse refers to the creation of shared, 3D virtual spaces that are linked to a virtual universe and accessed through different online tools. By this nature, it is ideally positioned to revolutionise events, exhibitions, and conferences.
For the events industry, this has opened an entirely new way of doing things – conferences no longer need to be in-person to be successful. So, what are some of the main benefits of hosting events in the metaverse?
One of the biggest drivers of metaverse events is increased accessibility. First of all, despite what many may believe, almost anyone can join a virtual reality event. Web browsers today are incredibly powerful and, with the right web platform, the metaverse can be enjoyed on almost any mobile or laptop with a single click of a link. This kind of accessibility helps to democratise the online environment by ensuring that no member of society is unable to access and embrace an online ecosystem due to their technology.
Secondly, on accessibility, there are no limits on attendee numbers in a virtual world. Event organisers aren’t hamstrung by venue capacity or design, which provides unlimited scalability. A venue in the metaverse can be designed to suit the exact needs of an individual event or conference, with access to things like breakout rooms and smaller spaces if multiple talks or presentations need to take place in parallel. Unlimited capacity can also mean unlimited monetisation too.
Enhanced audience participation
Another important benefit of VR experiences is their ability to engage audiences. Let’s face it, many of us are no doubt suffering from conference call fatigue as a consequence of the pandemic. What makes these types of calls difficult is the fact there are limited ways for people to engage with one another. The metaverse, however, allows organisers to be creative in their approach to event planning to build truly customer-centric, memorable virtual experiences.
The metaverse’s ability to drive diversity and inclusion in events cannot be overlooked either. An attendee’s ability to create their own avatar means they can be whoever they want to be, which can result in a more inclusive audience and ultimately a more diverse selection of experiences and opinions.
Improved audience data
Finally, the metaverse provides event organisers with data that’s almost impossible to collect at in-person events. Avatars can walk, talk, dance, shake hands, share, like, comment, and engage throughout a virtual event, which means engagement levels can be captured in detail. The metrics and analytics available following an event can be hugely beneficial for you and your sponsors.
These are just some of the benefits of virtual reality events. Businesses that adopt the metaverse for conferences and events now will undoubtedly have an advantage over their competitors as the industry continues to grow. The industry is moving in this direction, meaning the time is right for companies to understand not only what the metaverse is but how it can be used to improve the way they operate and run events.
When will you be hosting yours?