A Beginner’s Guide to Implementing Augmented Reality at Your Events

How to implement the technology AR in three steps

As a planner, you’re always looking for new ways to boost participation in your meetings. And as event technology continues to evolve, there is now more opportunity than ever to use tech to turn idle attendees into active participants. In fact, about 51 percent of event tech early adopters say they are getting good results on their event technology investments—which means you can, too.

With the success of apps such as Pokémon Go and Snapchat, augmented reality is at the top of the list of ways to use technology to engage guests. Unlike virtual reality, which can take attendees into another dimension far away from your meeting, AR enhances an already existing space. Think of it like a filter: AR adds elements to your meeting that aren’t actually there (just as it shows Pokémon running rampant in the real world that are, of course, nonexistent). For planners, this means AR fits in nicely as a complement to the other parts of your event that you might already have lined up. 

Luckily, you don’t need to be a tech expert to introduce AR into your event experience. Here’s a beginner’s guide for how to get started:

1. Decide how AR will enhance your meeting purpose.

AR can be used in your meetings in a lot of ways, such as providing an immersive, hands-on learning experience; a new networking activity; or a bridge to connect remote attendees. Because the options are endless, how you decide to implement the technology will be a direct result of what you are trying to accomplish. For example, if your client is hosting a Promote meeting to launch a new product, your AR focus should be how to give attendees the best view of its features. Meanwhile, if it’s an Educate meeting aimed at presenting a panel of speakers, tech should be directed at how to enhance their presentations.

2. Understand the technology.

AR might sound simple in concept, but there are numerous devices and effects that can shift a guest’s experience. In order to make the most of AR technology at your meeting, you should know which is which to determine how to best boost your event experience:

  • Wearable AR requires a headset that allows users to see your space with enhanced effects.
  • Device-based AR prompts an alternative reality through separate devices, such as tablets, smartphones or apps. 
  • Mirror AR allows an attendee to look into a mirror and see additional content or imagery on top of their reflection.
  • Transparent AR uses LED displays to project new elements into the environment.

3. Find the right technology partner.

Once you outline what AR needs to accomplish and what devices will take it there, it’s time to find people who can make your vision a reality (or in this case, augmented reality). Even if you consider yourself tech-savvy, a technology partner will have invaluable information about how to properly set up, implement and analyze the data from whichever AR method you choose. Just as caterers, speakers and other event partners have various specialties, so do technologies and the brands behind them. This means you have to do your research: What is your potential tech partner’s expertise, and does this align with your goals? If the answer isn’t congruent with your expectations, then it won’t be a mutually beneficial partnership.