Mixed Reality is one of the latest technologies available for use in virtual and hybrid meetings to add excitement, engagement and interactivity. Below we take a look at this latest meeting trend and how you can maximize it to transform your next event into a memorable experience for your meeting presenters and participants.
What is Mixed Reality?
Mixed Reality can be confused with virtual and augmented reality, so let’s start with how they differ.
Mixed Reality blends digital elements with a real environment; an interaction of both the physical and virtual worlds, using sensing and imaging technologies. It also has the ability to enable participants to interact with digital elements. For instance, Holograms are a great example of Mixed Reality and have been used in many settings from concerts to healthcare events and pharmaceutical seminars. Microsoft HoloLens 2 or Magic leap are examples of technology enabling first person Mixed Reality experiences, overlaying digital elements in the real environment, allowing the wearer to see and interact with this content in real time.
Virtual Reality (VR) requires headsets to fully immerse the user in a digital world. 360 videos are a good albeit primitive example of this. HTC Vive and Oculus are current VR platforms that offer an abundance of leading edge 3D interactive, immersive VR content.
Augmented Reality (AR) overlays computer-generated content on top of the real world in real-time. For example, IKEA has a new application called IKEA Place where you can virtually place their furniture and scale it to a room via your iphone. Pokemon Go places computer generated characters all over the world through your phone’s camera lens, and Instagram filters overlay graphics on your photo or video in a live format.
Why Should You Consider Mixed Reality in a Virtual Meeting?
Much like its namesake, the Mixed Reality technique enables you to change up your presentation in innovative ways to further engage your audience. For instance, instead of solely having a background in your presentation, you can layer content from your background in the foreground to tell a three-dimensional story for your audience. What they see will look like you are presenting in a live setting, when in fact, only some of the elements in your setting are real. Below we explore two techniques meeting and event planners can leverage for their events.
1. Pepper’s Ghost: A Mixed Reality Technique
One of the more common techniques employed to deliver Mixed Reality on stage is “Pepper’s Ghost.” Used in theatrical productions, Pepper’s Ghost uses a scrim next to or in front of a performer to project “holographic looking” images on stage.
Encore has leveraged Pepper’s Ghost in the past for hybrid meetings in the health and pharmaceutical industry. For instance, this technique was used to inspect a graphic of a human heart at a hybrid medical conference. By using Pepper’s Ghost, we enabled a closer—and safer—look at various aspects of a human heart that proved far more engaging than a flat image on a screen. But Pepper’s Ghost has limits to its use. The effect is only visible to an audience in a narrow field of view, and lighting must be controlled meticulously to maximize effectiveness. So if you choose to leverage this technique for your virtual or hybrid event, make sure your production team has the right stage lines and lighting to ensure effectiveness.
2. Modern Mixed Reality
Today through the use of advanced motion capture sensor technology and real time high-powered computer graphics rendering, Mixed Reality can also be leveraged fully digitally through a production camera lens, on screens in venue and to the virtual audience. This technology doesn’t require the same audience field of view or ambient room lighting to be effective. Thanks to the video game and film production industries, this is also quickly becoming a cost-effective solution for the events industry.
When to Use Mixed Reality for Your Virtual and Hybrid Meetings
Now that we’ve talked about what Mixed Reality is and explored a couple techniques available for implementing it at your next meeting or event, let’s look at when to use this technique.
Besides looking for that “wow” factor, technology needs to help you achieve your event objectives and goals. Below is a list of examples of objectives you may be trying to achieve in your meeting where Mixed Reality could be beneficial:
ü If you want to demonstrate an object that you can not physically deliver to the stage because the item is too small (DNA or human cells?), or too large (buildings or large machines?)
ü If you want to showcase a product or solution that could be difficult or too expensive to bring to your event. For instance, a car or its parts. A virtual car can be less expensive, less risky and more illustrative for demonstrating features of the product than presenting the real thing.
ü If you want to showcase how something moves in a space. Using the car example, you can watch the virtual car “drive” onto the stage in front of, or next to the presenter.