Amidst the backdrop of Covid-19, various industries have been turned upside down and changed forever. But the most adversely affected have been the exhibitions and events industry. Rather, one can say that they have been brought to a complete halt. Practically, all industrial conferences, tradeshows, and major exhibitions were cancelled or postponed with no viable date in near future.
One of the many problems posed by the unexpected change in circumstances is that it’s nearly impossible to re-organise an event when there is no timescale to work to. Numerous theories float around from time-to-time. And one of the theories doing the rounds is that the virus could resurface next winter as well. This has made event organisers jittery about committing time and money to re-scheduled events.
A new concern that has now dawned on the scene is about incorporating safety guidelines when planning future. So now, organisers will not just have to re-organize events within a limited timescale, but will also have to ensure that strict health and safety protocols are in place to protect their guests and prevent the spread of the virus. New ways of marketing and communications will have to be adopted and for foreseeable future, virtual events are going to be the way forward.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a strong effect on consumer behaviour. There is a noticeable shift to keeping health and safety at the forefront now every time an event will be planned. Even before the pandemic struck the face of earth, events and exhibitions had already started leveraging increasing amounts of technology to enhance the experience of their events, plus digital marketing for promoting their events. On top of this, people were able to follow events remotely via social media as and when they were actually happening.
Although even the most realistic VR world can’t reproduce the tactile experience that an in-person event creates, the current predicament has taught us there are huge benefits to streaming, VR and online collaboration. These will surely add substantial value to live event programmes. And this has served as the catalyst to the rising trend of using contactless interface, which has and will gradually become an integral part of consumer experience.
How ‘No – Touch’ Activation Is Revolutionizing The Events Landscape
The current climate warrants that we practice social distancing and self-isolation. In the light of this scenario, our events will also have to adapt to this change. This is where technology comes in to make things smoother and emulate the personalized experience that an offline event provides. Many companies have come up with contactless solutions that will ensure interactive experiences which are immersive, engaging and emotional.
These activations are delivered using skeleton/body tracking with kinect, hand gestures with leap, proximity sensors and web cam-based tracking, that were always present in the market and were earlier used only as a mechanism. However, now the companies are designing and utilizing them in a way so as to create immersive experiences for the users. These technologies are being explored to create touchless/contactless interactive pieces for brands and to design virtual events for different industry leaders but from the user perspective.
Companies are thinking beyond sensor-based technologies, like for instance, using several layers of algorithms to allow web cam to detect skeleton in sunlight setting that twists the existing one. Or utilizing basic sensors to add several layers of algorithms to the same piece of hardware in order to achieve the no-touch experience. For certain virtual events, the exhibits are designed in a way that no-touch or social distancing does not look forced. The sense of physical distancing is a part of the entire design and is not forcefully embedded in it.
Hand tracking and gesture recognition aren’t the same. Both technologies use hands for human-machine interaction without touching, employing controllers or switching. An ideal system for hand tracking and gesture recognition requires the plain use of human hand. The latter can distinguish only specific gestures such as a wave, peace sign or thumbs up. On the other hand, hand tracking is more complex and provides more variability. A rising need for contactless sensing and hygiene concerns is the driving force behind designing touchless technology.
Augmented reality (AG) and web-based technologies are further being leveraged to enhance the user experience. These technologies are being employed to design responsive and intuitive user interface that imbibes social distancing norms effortlessly and seamlessly so as to adjust to the new pandemic reality. This will enable services to those who are wanting to experience the real deal at such events.
Summing It Up
In view of the current situation, the need of the hour are small events that are mindfully organized using contactless technologies. These will be the key to maintaining and conducting safe events in near future.