First published on DigiDay
Live events certainly took a hit, to put it mildly, as a result of COVID-19. Concerts, conferences and games — the hallmarks of thriving global business and entertainment industries — were delayed for months at best, only reopening in some cases as attendee-less versions of their former sold-out selves.
The worldwide pause and social distancing guidelines forced industries to adapt, recontextualizing live events in virtual environments through digital platforms. This is especially relevant now as new research indicates excitement around “digital twins” — in which a live physical event features a simultaneous virtual event, doubling as an option for consumers to attend instead. A recent Verizon Media online study — ‘5G and Immersive Experiences,’ which surveyed 2,000 nationally representative adults — found that 75 percent of UK adults were interested in a digital alternative to a variety of traditionally live events such as conferences, cooking classes, fashion shows, new film releases and live sports.
Thanks to advances in immersive technology, virtual experiences can bring audiences closer than ever to simulating the real thing. Research shows that 69 percent of UK consumers are excited by VR/AR experiences, an increase of 19 percentage points since March of just this year (up from 50 percent). Immersive technology is gaining broad appeal and entering the mainstream, with the introduction of 5G networks coming along at the ideal time to infuse new and exciting opportunities into events both right now and well into the future.