Here at INVNT, we shifted online quickly as COVID-19 became a reality – from virtual conference calls replacing face-to-face work meetings, to physical catch-ups with loved ones and friends transitioning to the laptop. It all happened fairly seamlessly to begin with, but screen fatigue is definitely a thing, and at the end of the day we all long for real, physical human interactions.
Luckily there are ways we can infuse virtual experiences with elements of the physical world, so that we almost feel as though we’re really there at the educational conference, the highly anticipated summer music festival, the wedding that’s happening in Europe, or family birthday celebration taking place in a different state.
Explore ways to bring the experience to the home, office or other real space
Consider ways to physically bring complementary elements of the real experience to a remote audience. Think a COVID-19 compliant food kit where people can learn to cook a dish from their own kitchen with the help of a critically acclaimed chef (that chef could also be a family member sharing the secrets behind their signature dish), special deliveries with tech that enhances the experience, such as state-of-the art headsets that make for crisp, clear tunes, QR codes which link to personalised greetings from talent, or work out gear for people to wear during their remote yoga classes.
Make the real attainable, but virtually
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are great technologies to use because they allow the customer to almost transcend the virtual/physical divide. Can’t test drive a new car? By wearing a VR headset with interactive, curated content, people feel as though they are driving the vehicle as they sit in the front seat and pass key landmarks as they go. The same goes for shopping for new season fashions or things for the home. People visit high-end stores for the experience, and this can be somewhat replicated with VR, as the customer can explore the design-led physical spaces and view the items in full 360°.
Include real elements in your virtual experiences
We’re lucky that we have state-of-the-art tech at our fingertips that allow us to create immersive virtual experiences, ones where remote audiences feel a sense of realness amidst the virtual. But if we want to keep it real, it’s also important to include real elements – like real people speaking in real environments, such as a custom-built studio, company HQ, or an outdoor space. It’s key that we explore ways to push the boundaries of reality, but within a virtual interface.
Encourage others to keep it real with you
With working from home the new normal in lockdown and many of us still working remotely, we’ve learned a lot about our colleagues, clients and partners. Our personal and professional lives have blurred, and we’re communicating in new, organic and authentic ways. When this style of communication shines through in a virtual experience, it can drive greater engagement as the audience feels a new sense of connection to the speakers.
While we all miss the fun and excitement of real, physical experiences, there are ways we can leverage both technology and our creative minds to keep it real when we go virtual. If anything, COVID-19 has accelerated the uses and applications of technology, and we can expect to see it woven throughout real experiences in ways that will add to the physical more than ever before on an ongoing basis, allow audiences from all over globe to join in on the action, and feel as though they are really there.