Twenty years ago, no one would have thought to plan online events, even the past few years have seen very small numbers of these events. However, thanks to the pandemic, we have seen an accelerated transformation of the field. It is suggested that it would be misguided to assume that we will return to an era where the majority of events take place in person. The recently emerging Metaverse trend suggests that the events space will fundamentally change but there is no clear indication as to what the Metaverse would look like, what is clear is that the online events space will grow, thrive, evolve and essentially become more of a norm.
What does this mean for event organisers? Whilst we won’t immediately shift to virtual reality, the technology that supports them will be improving, evolving and becoming more a part of our daily lives and we should see a steady progression to more immersive platforms. So event organisers do not need to immediately abandon all their plans for events but should be prepared to embrace this new technology that will change the way we interact. Others however suggest that the events industry is entering a totally digitised stage and it will become a must to have technology-integrated events. This shift can be observed in video games to Snapchat, which all allow users to create avatars of themselves.
We have already embraced the use of avatars and it has been part of people’s lives for many years, the Metaverse is taking this a step further and thus it is argued that people’s love for avatars has led to the progression of the Metaverse.
Embracing The Metaverse
We can embrace the Metaverse in future events by seeing it as a further evolution of digital events and meetings that we have already been so familiar with planning and attending. We can take events a step further by incorporating some of the Metaverse’s standout features such as virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D holographic avatars and much more. This allows users to interact with each other in a more authentic manner but from across the world.
The Metaverse should allow there to be no distinction between those who attend events virtually and those who attend in person. The weakness of using Zoom and other such platforms in online events is that there is a very clear divide between online attendees and in-person attendees. Hopefully, the integration of the Metaverse should eradicate this issue and will shift the way we interact with each other as people.
Whilst the Metaverse provides a simple solution to virtual work and meetings, it can be extended out further and implemented in fashion events, sporting events and even weddings but must be correctly targeted. In particular, the Metaverse should not be marketed just for its novelty of it. The Metaverse will be key in bringing people together and in particular building a community based on shared identity.
Advantages of the Metaverse
The Metaverse is an exciting development for event planners because it can accommodate attendees across the world. Other benefits include
- Saving companies or individuals the cost of travelling halfway across the world for an event and the Metaverse social interactions are ideally just as valuable.
- Allows individuals to reinvent themselves (although this can be a potential risk as well), and individuals can be as creative as they would like without any limitations such as gender, race and age.
- Allows for completely unique events and new engagement opportunities and your audience can experience anything if you design it as such. You are also not limited by venue or vendor availability, so you are not held back by venues that can’t accommodate your chosen date. You can create any venue you would like with any amount of design you want.
However, some metaverse downsides might be since there are barriers to entry, it is not accessible to every type of person so some attendees will be alienated. Another aspect to consider is the cost it may incur to firms since the technology does come at a price. The planning process can also be complicated and time-consuming which can incur further costs. It’s also important to consider our balance between real life and digital engagement and the potential detrimental effect the digital side may have on us.
Although we may start to embrace the Metaverse, undoubtedly we will always crave an element of face-to-face interaction, and this can never be replaced. If we have too much Metaverse, we will hit fatigue. Perhaps we can make a place for both in our lives, but that is something only time will tell, much experimentation is yet to be done.