September 18, 2015

Guest blog: virtual reality for events

During the conference at Reeperbahn Festival, Ruben van den Heuvel, Co-Founder of ticketscript and Head of Product Development, will be hosting an exciting session, which focuses on digital opportunities impacting the future of events. Jan Thiel, co-founder and CEO of A4VR – The Agency for Virtual Reality of Dusseldorf, will bring an eye-opening presentation to the table, as he speaks about the possibilities of augmented and virtual reality for events.


To get you a bit more familiar with the topics we’ll be covering, we decided to interview Jan Thiel on the subject of virtual reality. Check out what he had to say here:


How long have you worked with virtual reality (VR )?
I have been working with VR since the first Kickstarter campaign of DK I ( Developer Kit 1 ) in August 2012. My first VR experience was the roller coaster demo in conjunction with a rumble pack plate and a fan. Ever since, VR has fascinated me in a new way every day.


Before creating your own agency A4VR, you were working in the event industry. What kind of events did you come into contact with in that time?

My core competence is in the fields of event media and large projections in special formats. For many customers, such as Audi and Mediengruppe RTL, I created productions and implemented the media in a holistic process.

Vertical design and interactive 3D mapping are also part of my portfolio of work, as well as 3D visualisation and animation, interactive media and holography. Furthermore, I implemented, planned and organised corporate events, trade shows, fashion shows, corporate concerts, as well as international roadshows and conferences. 


How would you assess the impact of virtual reality on the event industry?
I think VR media has an immense advantage over all others. The kind of experience VR creates, as seen in the Mittlepunkt, is exactly the essential building block of a good event. The possibility of creating a 360 ° perspective, and to be able to capture an event from many different positions, as well as experience a unique feeling again from a new angle, is just great. Technologically, particularly, 360 ° streaming is extremely interesting for the industry. However, I am also thinking about the fascinating possibilities of staging a product or brand in VR, even here, great potential will arise.


How can an event organiser benefit from new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality?
For organisers, VR naturally means an incredible space advantage, because you can make an area of ​​one metre squared look like an entire stadium. This is an important point especially for trade fairs and road shows. At the moment, the use of VR is an incredible crowd puller and can be used very well for PR and viral campaigns.

Augmented reality provides fascinating models for advertising inserts, for example, sponsors. This is also great for 360 ° photographs of concerts. Further advantages are the “best seat” options and the opportunity with relatively simple means to attract (like the Google Cardboard) a new audience’s attention. VR will certainly give people the opportunity to make their dreams come true, for example, those who can’t be at the site of the event.


What reaction do you expect from the attendees of the Reeperbahn Festival Session ‘A new digital world for events, ‘ when they experience virtual reality for the first time?
I hope for a ‘WOW’ and expect a lot of fascinated faces. But seriously, I am a VR evangelist and firmly believe in this medium. I hope I’ll be able to inspire many of the attendees with the virtual reality show.


How do you think virtual reality will be used in the event industry in the next two years?

I think in the next two years VR will be firmly established in the event industry. The technology and the content will mutually boost their development. Firstly, the possibilities of 360 ° capturings work in conjunction to create unique moments. Secondly, there will be a tremendous advancement in the field of 360 ° live streaming technology. Furthermore, I am convinced that the socially unifying component of VR will increase enormously in the coming years .


Sparked your curiosity about the effects of technology on the industry yet? Come find out more at ‘A new digital world for events’ at the Reeperbahn Festival, where co-founder and managing director of A4VR, Jan Thiel, will address the impact technological developments have on events in the upcoming years.