Skip to main content

You’ve all heard about AR and VR at events. The terms have been buzzwords for years now, they are constantly on the biggest trends lists and talked about. But how do you use AR and VR at your events? What can you really do with it that will enhance your event? If those questions have popped into your mind you aren’t alone.

New call-to-action

In today’s episode of Whiteboard Wednesday, Brandt Krueger, of Event Technology Consulting will be walking us through how to use AR and VR at your events. He will walk you through engaging ways to use AR and VR, the differences between them and also some ways AR and VR help the industry beyond use at your event! Let’s jump in!

how to use ar and vr at events

Video Transcript – How to Use AR and VR At Your Events

Hey folks! And welcome to another Whiteboard Wednesday. I’m Brandt Krueger. I’m excited today to be talking to you about AR and VR at events. Now, what’s interesting to me is when you talk to a lot of event folks about AR and VR, there’s a little bit of resistance to it, and I think that stems from people being worried that it’s going to take away from the experience. We’re people people, right? We’re bringing people together. We’re doing stuff together. Why would we want to put some kind of headset on our head and go into a virtual world? That’s gonna keep us from talking to each other and interacting with each other.

Yeah, I can kind of understand that. But this is the technology that people are excited about, they’re interested in using, and you can actually use it in a group experience. And I’ll try and get to that in a moment. First, I feel like we really need to deal with what the heck is AR, what the heck is VR. So, let’s get the definitions out of the way first.
Augmented Reality
Augmented reality, let’s deal with that one first. What we’ve got with augmented reality is any time we’re layering something over reality, you’re augmenting reality. So, I can still see the world, I can still move around in it, and I can still see and feel everything that’s going on around me. But some type of information is being layered over it.

So, when we talk about augmented reality glasses, really that’s what we’re talking about, is I can still see the world around me, but then we’re laying information or something over our eyes. Now, the kind of first real potshot in modern times of this type of thing was Google Glass, which has already kind of fallen by the wayside. But that was a really good example where you had the glasses and you had the ability to kind of look up into the corner and see information being delivered to you. So, when we talk about augmented reality at its core, that’s what we’re talking about. There’s some new technology that’s coming out or has been out for a little bit like Microsoft HoloLens or the Magic Leap technology that’s finally starting to get released.

Virtual Reality

But in both of those instances, what we’ve got is an actual layering over technology as opposed to virtual reality, which is where we’ve got a fully immersive experience, where we’re putting the headset over our heads, it’s covering our ears. We’re being dropped into a virtual world. And it’s a really, it’s a fully immersive experience. The products that we’re talking about here are Oculus Rift or Google Daydream, or HTC, Samsung, Sony, all of the big players are getting into virtual reality headsets.
Immersive Video
Now, kind of a subcategory in that is what’s called immersive video. So, really it’s different than virtual reality and purists are gonna say, “That’s not VR” because immersive video, it’s just prerecorded. So, you can turn your head around, you can look around, you can see 360. But you’re not able to interact with the environment. You’re not able to move around really in that environment. It’s still like watching a movie. It’s a fully immersive 3D movie, but it’s still a movie. So, that’s why some people try and say that this type of immersive video is not technically VR. But for the most part, it gets lumped in because what are you gonna see that on? One of those virtual reality headsets. You’re gonna put on the thing and you’re gonna go into that immersive room.

So, that’s kind of the difference between AR and VR. The easy way to remember it is again, AR, you’re augmenting reality, you’re layering over reality. Virtual reality, you’re going into a fully immersive virtual world, or an immersive video experience.

What Can I Use AR and VR for at my Event?


Now, what are we gonna use it for? We’re gonna use it for marketing. That’s kind of the most obvious one when it comes to our industry, is we’re going to be able to go to a trade show at the Visit Mexico booth and say, “Okay, great. Let’s pop on a virtual reality headset and let us show you these sweeping vistas out the back of our hotel, and here’s what the beach looks like. And here’s what the room looks like,” and those kinds of things. That’s kind of the very obvious, “Great, let’s sit down and do this.”


The other kind of obvious one that people get into is doing it as a sit-down, I’m actually gonna go over to this one and say we’ll go to the sit down of the experiences. That’s where like think about it like a photo booth or a golf simulator, or one of the other experiences that we bring to our events where you’re gonna kind of go off in the corner or into a booth somewhere and just sit down and have an experience, a virtual reality experience. So, when a lot of people think about VR at our events, those are kind of the first two that pop into their minds, is using it for some kind of marketing purposes or doing the, “I’m gonna sit in the corner” VR experience things.

And I think that’s where this, “Oh, events, why would I want to do this? It’s only gonna take people out of the experience.” It’s not gonna take them out of the experience any more than any of these other activities, right? Doing a photo booth or a vodka luge or any of the other things that we have off in the corner of our event party, right? So, nothing really to be scared of there. Nothing to be worried about there. That’s just something that we can do kind of in the corner of our events. Now, when we start to look at some of the other stuff, the other uses for this technology would be demonstrations.


Now, think about a trade show where a lot of these heavy equipment trade shows that are out there, you’ve got to bring in tractors. You’ve got to bring in engines. You’ve got to bring in catering shows where you’ve got giant coffee machines and all that kind of stuff. A lot of equipment, a lot of gear. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use some kind of either AR or VR experience in the booth, where we can put on the headset, we can walk around it, we can see what it looks like in fully 3D, get a feel for how big it is, and then take it apart? So, we can see the inner workings of the engine or how the tractor works or something along those lines, all within kind of the concept or within the genre of demonstrations in the booth.

Future of AR/VR

So, the other things that we can do, though, in addition to the demonstrations and the experiences and the marketing, is really kind of the future of where we’re gonna go with this technology. What I’m really looking forward to is the augmented reality where we get to start getting it built into our glasses. Not just for the simple things of remembering people’s names and things like that being brought into your glasses, but also think about a trade show environment.

Think about a trade show environment or wandering a property that you’re at an incentive trip or something like that on, and being able to really layer over almost like Google Maps for indoors, right? Where, okay, my alarm goes off. It’s 3:00 PM. I’m supposed to have a hosted buyer appointment all the way at booth 4912, and I just quickly, a couple taps on my event app and it brings up the augmented reality into my glasses and bing, there’s off in the corner. I can see a pin over where hovering over where that booth actually is. And then on the floor, it shows me the route that I should take in order to get there before my 1:00 appointment.

Or, again, you’re wandering a venue. We’re moving from the general session, we’re gonna go down to the reception on the beach. Great. How do we get there? Again, we’ve got Google Maps for our augmented reality glasses where we can actually do that.

Environmental Impact

Now, I do want to go back to what we were talking about regarding the not having to bring in heavy equipment because one of the things that people don’t often think about when it comes to VR and AR is a potential environmental impact. And so when we actually look at the environmental impact, now think about what we’ve talked about so far. We’ve talked about the ability to see things virtually, take a virtual site visit. We’ve talked about the ability to not have to bring in heavy equipment or along those lines.
Saves Time, Money and reduces Environmental impact

That’s gonna save you a ton in shipping, in moving people around. So, let’s talk about venues. If I as the planner can do five or six virtual site visits with this technology, sit down in my living room and have a comfortable with my cup of coffee, and go and check out five or six properties, I might be able to knock a couple of those off my list. Now I don’t have to fly down. That’s two less that I have to fly to. That’s saving me time, it’s saving me money, and it’s saving an environmental cost of air travel or car travel and things like that. Same with the shipping of heavy equipment. You’re gonna save a lot of money by not having to ship that equipment and again, an environmental impact.

Virtual Site Visit

So, those are some of the things. What I’m excited about is some of the future uses that we’re gonna have. In addition to the GPS reality, augmented reality we’ve got, what can we do on the back end? What can we do like these virtual site visits? So, not only imagine doing the virtual site visit from your living room. Now I’ve decided, “Okay, I’ve narrowed it down to these three venues. So, I’m gonna go there,” but how often does this happen where you go to the venue and, “Okay, great. We’ve got a group in there already,” or maybe it’s set up for another group. Or it’s a wide open, empty ballroom, and you walk into that wide open, empty ballroom. Now imagine we can take the augmented reality glasses, put them on and say, “Okay, here’s what it’s gonna look like in theater. Here’s what it’s gonna look like in a round setup. Oh, boy.” And you can walk through that environment with all of those things being digitally rendered in augmented reality and you’re not gonna bump into anything if there is a ladder, because it’s augmented reality. You can still see what’s going on in the room.

Will Aide in Design and Planning

But think about how that’s gonna affect the planning and design of your events, being able to do that. Like wow, those tables are really a lot closer together than I thought. How often does that happen as well? Once you get everything set, you’re like, “Ooh, that’s really a lot tighter. We probably should’ve expanded one more ballroom, one more air wall, take that one down and expand.” Now you can do that ahead of time and not have to waste all of the time of setting everything up before you realize, “Oh boy, that’s really tight.” So, using those as part of the virtual thing.

And on the technical side, I’m really excited about the opportunity to maybe walk into a ballroom, put on the augmented experience and say, “Okay, great. Where are all the power outlets?” It’s there, there, there, there, and there. All right. Where are all the rigging points? Okay, we’ve got one there and one there, one there and one there. So, that means if that’s where we can hang things from the ceiling, we’re gonna have to face this way as opposed to that way. Or where is the power drop going to be? What is the ceiling height? Just being able to go doop, doop, “Oh, it’s 16 feet. Oh, but what about that sconce? Okay, that’s doop, doop. All right, that’s eight feet off the ground.”

So, being able to really use this technology on the back end for the planning side and the technical side is also really exciting to me. There’s a lot of development going on in this space. There’s a company that’s, I’m blanking on the name. AllSeated. AllSeated is working on this. They’re doing a great job out there of putting together these virtual tours where not only can you see the hotel venue in a fully immersive 3D environment, but then able to actually show these setups. “Okay, here’s what it’s gonna look like setup for a wedding for 50. Here’s what it’s gonna look like in rounds,” and things like that. So, really helping us design our events before we even set foot in the space


These are some of the things that I’m seeing out there. We want to know what are the things that you’re seeing out there. Are some uses that I’ve forgotten? Are there uses that I’ve missed? Are you in the camp of, “Man, we need to not use this technology because it’s only going to take away from our events”? Or are you in the camp that’s actually figured out how we can use these in group experiences and how we can use them on the back end? We want to know. Let us know in the comments. If you like Whiteboard Wednesdays, don’t forget to give us a thumbs up. If I missed something or you don’t like it or anything, be sure you let us know in the comments and we’ll check them out. And as always, if you liked things, be sure and click subscribe. And hopefully that way, you’ll be able to join us on Whiteboard Wednesday every Wednesday. Thanks so much for watching.


New Call-to-action

Brandt Krueger

Author Brandt Krueger

With over 20 years experience in the meetings and events industry, Brandt has spoken at industry events and seminars all over the world, been published in numerous magazines and websites, and teaches public and private classes on meeting and event technology and production. He provides freelance technical production services, and is the owner of Event Technology Consulting.

More posts by Brandt Krueger
Share via
Send this to a friend