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Pokémon Go took over the world last Summer, but users have fallen dramatically, leaving the world to wonder if Augmented Reality (AR) is a passing fad or truly the future of audience engagement. Its huge success was a perfect storm of famous IP, addictive gamification, and social, not just online but human to human contact. While its users have trailed, this does not by any means imply the future of AR adoption. Location-based AR is only one method; AR technology goes far past mobile to headsets and holograms. Augmented Reality for Events is a great way to engage consumers in new enchanting ways.

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Augmented Reality for Events gives us the ability to put the digital into the real world, transforming how brands can interact with consumers in our everyday lives. A company’s best way to experiment with the technology is with single use cases that have measurable impact to evaluate. Events and experiential marketing are an ideal first step for brands to explore AR. Events give you a specified group of potential customers to engage with your product in a finite period that can be measured for value post event. For example, brands can display endless amounts of products, allow consumers to customize and view their changes in real time.

How Holograms Can Enhance Your Event

  • Capitalize on endorsement deals
  • Show off infinite product customization without the burdensome inventory
  • Allow consumers to engage with pre-released products to learn about their preferences before a launch
  • Let consumers become the center of the story and dictate the path
  • Add digital elements to your keynote presentations or even beam in someone live that could not attend in person
  • Entice more prospects into your booth at trade shows


The Three Types of Augmented Reality For Events


Mobile apps like PokémonGo are one type of device in which to leverage AR. They are an easy first use case as most people have one in their hand 24/7. Apps can guide users to your booth, provide supplemental information to existing displays or even super impose celebrities for photo opportunities. There are a number of companies who will build custom applications for your brand including Marxent and Appshaper. There are also industry specific app companies like Holition for luxury jewelry and Adornably for furniture placement, who have done the ground work for the industry to plug in their products leading to a more cost effective approach.

While mobile apps are an easy first use case, the burden is on the user to download an additional app. Unfortunately the app boom is over, according to Tune’s 2016 study people on average download 2.6 apps per month. When competing with giants like Uber, Snapchat and Facebook the outlook does not bode well for new players. To ensure your app is downloaded and used at an event make it part of the initial event registration process. This way it is not seen as an annoying second step once at the venue.


The next level of AR are headsets, like HoloLens. They are much more immersive, but still too high of a price point for the mainstream to own. Companies can curate their own content for users to lineup and experience. Similar to VR, some companies have started to experiment with this at events, though it has resulted in long lines and questionable sanitation of sharing head mounted displays. In the long term consumers must be convinced that AR headsets are valuable enough to add another device to their everyday digital mix. Only time will tell as the price point declines.


Next in the mix, and where our expertise falls are holograms. Holograms are stand-alone hardware that project images into the real world, so everyone in the room can see and interact with digital objects without wearables.  For example, fans can pitch a baseball to Derek Jeter and cheers him with a Bud Light and get a video to share on social media, earning major bragging rights with friends. Holograms are one of the best ways to increase user-generated-content for social. We all know nothing is as shareable as a selfie with a celebrity.

Like PokémonGo, holograms can also be a group experience. Everyone in the room can see and interact with the same digital object creating an authentic event experience, which is every planner’s number one goal. Taking it a step further, imagine a speaker not even having to be at the event. Holograms can teleport someone live on stage to present without the need for travel. Or add 3D visuals to presentations to wow the audience and blow away your competitors’ PowerPoint slides.

Holograms + DATA

AR also has immense data tracking capabilities to validate use and prove value for future deployment. Everyone who does a hologram experience enters their email to begin in order to get their selfie take home. While they are engaged, hologram company, VNTANA’s technology can track age, gender and even sentiment, which is valuable when consumers are evaluating different hologram products. Experiences can be designed to gain more information from the prospect.

For example, VNTANA is building a hologram car configurator that allows consumers to choose all of their features and see themselves in their dream car. This syncs directly to the auto client’s CRM so local sales teams can reach out to meaningful leads. All social shares are also tracked through VNTANA’s online platform allowing brands to calculate their reach post event. Similar to holograms and what VNTANA is doing, every app or headset can track user’s preferences, usage and social shares as well, if designed properly.

The Future of Augmented Reality

Like any new tool, Augmented Reality for events requires a new way of thinking about content, just as digital ads had to change to be more effective on mobile versus a desktop. Goldman Sachs’ 2016 report* declares the market will reach $80 Billion by 2025 affecting every industry from engineering, education, entertainment, retail, real estate, and live events, that are expected to hit $4.1 Billion.

Virtual reality and augmented reality for events combined have the disruptive potential of the PC. AR should be apart of every company’s digital strategy. AR is a brand-new medium with endless possibilities. Think big and look beyond yesterday’s use cases to use AR to its fullest extent.

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Ashley Crowder

Author Ashley Crowder

Ashley Crowder is the co-founder and CEO of VNTANA, an industry leading augmented reality platform that allows brands to easily create interactive hologram experiences to engage consumers and generate leads. It has been used by major brands including Microsoft, Intel, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Pepsi and Nike to name a few. Prior to co-founding VNTANA she graduated from USC with a bachelors and masters in engineering and gained valuable manufacturing experience at Gulfstream, Northrop Grumman and BP. She leverages her engineering background to guide VNTANA’s overall direction and technology development.

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