Virtual Reality: Five Ways It Can Be Leveraged By The Meetings And Events Industry

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By Victor Paan


Now more than ever before, VR is capturing our imaginations and transforming everything from everyday experiences to industrial design processes — and smart brands are sitting up and paying attention. Although it’s not necessarily a new innovation, recent advancements have made virtual reality (VR) more immersive and affordable.

We believe that well-executed VR has enormous potential to enhance events, build brand loyalty through immersive content, and make virtual experiences as powerful as real-life ones.

So, what is VR exactly?

In its most basic form, VR seeks to create the illusion of being somewhere we physically are not. You might recall experiencing early attempts at VR when you were a child playing with the beloved View-Master toys or looking through rudimentary stereoscopic viewers. Both of these examples tried to create the illusion of depth to make the images you were looking at seem real.

Today, modern VR plays off that concept. It uses sophisticated technology to create moving stereoscopic images, which are two images that are slightly offset from each other, to mimic how the human eye sees. When the images are viewed simultaneously through a specialized headset, they appear realistic and immersive because they appear to move and update in real time just like the real world. To experience this, the user may wear specialized accessories that allow them to virtually move, manipulate objects, and explore the digital environment. While augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) rely on many of the same technologies as VR, it’s important to understand they are not the same because the viewer is not completely immersed in the environment — digital content is layered over the real environment around them.

How can VR be used in today’s business world?

VR is transforming the way individuals participate in events, exhibits, and experiences, as well as the environmental design process. As technology continues to advance and the meetings and events space become more familiar with what VR has to offer, we predict we will be seeing virtual reality used more and more in the following five ways:

  • Design and venue walk-throughs: Imagine being able to conduct an entire site-visit or explore your trade show booth for an upcoming show from the comfort of your own home or office. Design and venue walk-throughs will allow for you to explore, manipulate, review, tweak, and approve designs before the first physical piece is built out or you were able to get to that particular venue.
  • Product demos: Audiences and prospects alike can use virtual reality to engage with products that are too complex, large, dangerous, or otherwise impractical to demonstrate in actual surroundings. They can interact with and manipulate products to learn more about them in a way that was not possible before this technology.
  • Original VR content: Instructional or educational films on products or tools can now be told with powerful narratives from the center of the action that are far more powerful than traditional 2D content. Imagine a video that shows you step by step how to set up a trade show booth or pitch your product to a client.
  • Live streaming and 360-degree video recording: Looking for ways to engage your virtual attendees during a meeting or event? With VR, you can take your remote audience one step closer to the action with 360-degree videos that amplify your must-see events and make your audiences feel like they are actually there. Now, when the speaker greets your virtual audience, they will feel as though they are truly part of your event community.
  • Immersive VR environments: The world is your oyster! With virtual reality, you can create interactive worlds full of gamified, engaging content that take your attendees anywhere. For instance, a charitable event trying to raise money for a school overseas can use virtual reality to bring its attendees to that school and show them a glimpse of the impact of their donation.

Event planners, marketers, and product designers now have the unique ability to leverage this technology to make their events more engaging and educational. And by extending the attendee reach to viewers at home through compatible web browsers and apps, VR has never been more accessible or powerful.


How to rock your second screen roll out

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By Victor Paan

Mobile devices are a part of your attendees’ everyday routines, whether at home, on the job, or on a show site—so why not tap into this behavior by transforming the mobile device into a part of the overall event experience? Mobile devices can help amplify engagement, while working behind the scenes to gather immense data on audience preferences, speaker and content performance and more.

Second screen is still a fairly new technology, but through our experience utilizing it with Freeman clients, we have collected enough data to share some of our secrets and best practices for deploying second screen technology at events. While every event is different and every audience has its preferences, these best practices can be universally applied.

Use web-based platforms

While second screen solutions come in various platform options, our experience has shown that web-based solutions have significantly higher participation rates (70 to 90 per cent) than native apps (less than 50 per cent).

Because of the long-term value of an engaged audience, we encourage use of a web-based solution whenever Wi-Fi is available. This keeps solutions compatible with all mobile devices and allows you to deliver your second screen experience through your event app via a web link. This way, attendees never have to leave your event app.

Keep it simple

Use a link shortener to create a simple URL for attendees to use to access the second screen platform. Once you have them on the platform, use easy engagement techniques to gather attendee responses, especially early in the session while they grow accustomed to the second screen experience. Thumbs up/thumbs down, multiple choice or like/dislike choices have a higher use rate than text responses.

Keep engagement constant

Did you know that your audience’s attention span drops significantly after just 10 minutes? Ten minutes! This is based on research from Dr. John J. Medina, a biologist and researcher with particular interest in how the brain works with information, and has been confirmed by our own data. By inserting audience response questions at this regular interval, you can regain their attention each time it dips.

Build a community

Don’t keep your audience’s answers to yourself. We’ve found that audiences are interested in comparing their answers to those of their peers. This is especially true when using polling questions. Share the results directly to the main feed so the entire audience can see it, and even consider publishing certain audience feedback in post-event communications to help drive home important takeaways.

Make it fun

Nothing fires up an audience more than friendly competition, which is why you can raise engagement levels by incorporating competitive aspects into audience responses. Reward those who are first to answer with recognition or even a prize.

We saw this come to life at a recent gaming conference in the U.S., in which a second screen platform was used to spark good-natured competition during a game show-like quiz session. Throughout the course of the presentation, the audience was asked specific, multiple-choice training questions “disguised” as a quiz show that they could participate in through the use of their personal devices. Participation was very high. Over the course of the 12 presentations, an average of 84 per cent of audience members who logged into the second screen platform submitted at least one answer.

The participation and excitement generated by the quiz shows even carried over to the second screen’s group chat. Throughout each presentation, audience members shared encouragement, congratulations, and even a little good-natured “trash talk.”

Amplify your reach

Enable attendees to share presentation content with their social networks by setting up hashtags for your presentations and embedding social sharing into the platform. If the presentation slides can be shared on social media, that’s even better. Visual content is much more engaging on social media—for example, tweets featuring photo URLs average a 35 per cent increase in retweets, according to Twitter.

Use a content DJ

We recommend using a “content DJ” to field questions and monitor the chat stream for large audiences, such as keynote presentations or panel discussions, or for presenters who are not used to a fully interactive session. The moderator can juggle multiple conversations at once, feed appropriate questions to the presenter and observe when a particular idea sparks high levels of interest.

A content DJ can take the burden off presenters who feel overwhelmed by the second screen technology, expertly moderating the conversation and allowing the speakers to do what they do best: share their knowledge.

Employ measurement science

When you use polling questions to gather data, keep in mind that sharing the results of a polling question too early may cause audience members to change their answers. Give the audience enough time to select their responses before displaying the results to the entire audience.

Furthermore, make sure you are asking audience members for feedback and ratings throughout the presentation. The immediacy of the response will provide the most pure results possible. By contrast, the data collected from post-event surveys can lose its nuance as time elapses between the presentation and the feedback collection.

Insider secrets

Are you ready to get started with second screen? We’ll share a few final tips that will net you the most rich engagement data. Although it’s more difficult to get text input responses, they tend to provide the highest value. Save text responses only for when you want very specific, personalized feedback, and take care to ask open-ended questions that need to be answered with more than just a yes or no. Moreover, allowing attendees to remain anonymous within the second screen platform yield far more open and honest answers.

About the author

Victor Paan is Digital Services Product Manager at Freeman Audio Visual Canada, an experiential marketing company that uses the power of technology to make meaningful connections with a multitude of audiences through the production of meetings, conventions, special events and trade shows. Data reported above from FXP | touch, Freeman’s proprietary second screen platform, was collected by Klowd, Freeman’s audience engagement technology agency, between 2012 and 2015. For more information, visit

Professional Sound Systems for a Memorable Function

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sound studio equipment

sound studio adjusting record equipment

There is nothing worse for your event than a sudden sound failure, whether through a deafening blast of feedback or, even worse, a complete failure of your microphone. Not sure if your function requires a professional sound system? No problem! We’ve broken down a few of the types of functions that we regularly provide professional sound systems for below.

Weddings – They Deserve the Best

When planning your wedding, it’s important to do everything you can to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. The failure of an amateur sound system is a high potential risk that is easily avoided on your important day. Some things, like weather, might be uncontrollable, but other things, like dependable sound, are easily under your control. Allow your guests to clearly hear all of the day’s speeches, and dance the night away.


Milestone Birthdays and Anniversaries

Whether it’s your parents’ 50th wedding anniversary or your great aunt’s 100th birthday, these milestone types of celebrations should be had with family and friends. With celebrations this large it is wise to reserve a dining hall or small conference area—these smaller venues, however, are rarely equipped with professional sound equipment. A small, quality sound system in a scenario like this is ideal for music and shout outs.

Large-scale Presentations and Events

To effectively connect with a large crowd, a professional sound system is an absolute necessity. Unequal sound distribution, low quality audio and feedback are just a few common problems that can be easily avoided with a professional sound system. These issues can derail even the best presentations, and ruin the event.

At Freeman Audio Visual Canada, we offer a number of products and services to encourage audience engagement; however, they all rely on the foundation of a strong audio system. For more information on sound system rental, and other ways that we can help improve the quality of your events, please contact us. If you have a specific request, or would like to speak to a representative in person, you can always call us directly at 1(800)868-6886.

How to Make Event Staging Work for You

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Concert stage

Illuminated empty concert stage with smoke and rays of light

It can be very difficult for a company to put together a professional, polished looking event. Thankfully, Freeman Audio Visual Canada is here to help. In addition to audio and visual equipment, we offer lighting, room décor, and even presentation management. Not sure where to start? Read below.

Give the Meeting a Distinctive Feel

In order to give the meeting or event a distinctive feel, there are several different things that you can do. For starters, you can rent self-supporting column structures to enhance the stage or screen areas. These structures can be further enhanced with LED lights, and are available in several different sizes.

Another way to give the meeting a distinctive look is by placing logo inserts into the lecterns. It’s the small details like these that will show your attendees that you’ve really gone the extra mile to ensure that everything is taken care of at your event.

Sound Equipment Rental for Laymen

When preparing for your event, it’s always a good idea to visit the site for a thorough visual inspection. Perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to audio equipment is feedback; planning the equipment location carefully will help to minimize this issue.Sound Board

Another piece of sound advice involves wireless microphones. When several are being used at an event, it is strongly advised to rent an independent sound system which should provide much clearer sound than the preexisting system in the room.

We offer a variety of different sound gear for clients to rent, including simultaneous interpretation equipment to help facilitate presentations in multiple languages.

Keep the Presenters Calm and Collected

If you’ve ever given a presentation, you know that it can be a little nerve racking. In order to avoid this during a meeting, consider designating a separate room – also known as a Speaker Support Centre which we provide with our Presentation Management offering – where the speakers can run through their presentations before they hit the stage. It is also a good idea to consider providing the same equipment that is being used in the actual event room in the prep room, so that everything will work exactly the same come presentation time.

Hard Work Pays Off

It’s no secret that staging an event is hard work. However, if done correctly, your efforts will pay off greatly for you and your company. If you’re interested in advice on how to successfully stage your event, please give us a call. One of our knowledgeable representatives would be happy to speak with you about how we can help you pull your event off smoothly, and effectively.


5 Truly Inspiring Public Speakers

By Audience Engagement, Audio, Interesting Articles, Staging, Uncategorised

There are a select few public speakers in the world that are a cut above the rest. When it comes to delivering a truly inspiring message you need to have great speaking skills and a solid reputation. Here are five of the most inspiring public speakers speaking around the world today.

Speaker at Business Conference

  1. Tony Robbins: Tony Robbins is one of the most popular motivational speakers in the world. The deep voiced, six-foot-seven giant has a strong understanding of the psychology of success and gives speeches on how others can accomplish their goals. His speeches have helped many to unlock their path to their success.
  2. Arnold Schwarzenegger: This movie star and former politician also does public speaking related to the accomplishment of goals. Schwarzenegger has always believed strongly in himself. In his public speaking career he has detailed his methods for success and how they can be put into practice by anyone with a desire to succeed.
  3. Bill Gates: Microsoft CEO and business expert Bill Gates does a number of public speaking events, not only for the business world but also for charities. In his public speaking career he has worked to raise funds around the world as well as give advice to recent graduates, business owners, and those with a desire to change the world.
  4. Bill Clinton: Former president Bill Clinton is a big hit on the speaker circuit, and he regularly gives speeches for live audiences around the world. A passion for political reform, humanitarian causes such as AIDS and relief efforts in Haiti, and a willingness to share his own personal life make him another truly inspiring public speaker.
  5. Les Brown: With his catch phrase It’s possible, Les Brown speaks around the word sharing his stories for success and how others can follow their dreams. This inspirational speaker was declared mentally handicapped in public school, but by believing in his own abilities he has never been held back in life. His speeches will show you how to never give in to negativity and how to relentlessly pursue your goals.

Is it your turn to inspire others with your own experience and expertise? Freeman Audio Visual offers audio-visual solutions that will make you look great up there. If you’re gearing up for your next event, consider the expertise of Freeman Audio Visual. Contact us now to learn more or request a quote.