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Top Performing Chapter Award



Join MPIGNY for a great event featuring Jim Spellos

By: MPIGNY | Aug 31, 2017

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5 Questions with Tech Guru and September Education Event Presenter, Jim Spellos

The idea of Virtual Reality (VR) was predicted in the 1930s in a science fiction story by Stanley G. Weinbaum. The idea hinted at a pair of goggles that let the wearer experience a fictional world through holographics, smell, taste and touch.  Augmented Reality (AR) was also hinted at in 1968 when the first head-mounted display system was made.  Fast forward 50-years and we are living in a world where those predicted technologies exist and provide a vast number of opportunities for the meetings and events industry today.

Our upcominginteractive Education Event, “ARnival An Interactive Technology Event,” will take place on Tuesday, September 12th at The Stewart Hotel and will address how planners and suppliers can adapt to these modern-day technologies. Technology Guru and Presenter, Jim Spellos, says VR has the opportunity to provide virtual site visits, while AR can be used for gamification at events to increase attendee engagement.  In the spirit of our upcoming event, we asked Jim Spellos about the evolution of technology and how our industry can use AR and VR. 

Q1. According to Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research report, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have different use cases, technologies and market opportunities, what does this mean for the meetings and events industry? What are some ways planners can incorporate Virtual Reality into an event?  What about Augmented Reality? 

A1. VR and AR both have uses across all aspects of our industry.  VR can (and should) be used by suppliers on a regular basis to showcase their space to planners right in their offices.  The ability to walk around the space (virtually) can provide an enormous competitive advantage when a planner can't do a site visit (or recall one element from a full day of visiting potential event destinations).  Solely from the planning side, the use of VR to create amazing attendee experiences is a no brainer.  Using it to promote future events (and a full array of marketing applications) is also an approach.  Planners shouldn't forget that both Facebook and YouTube support 360 videos, so their customers don't even need the headset to view.  VR will begin to augment education, with virtual rooms (such as AltSpaceVR) providing the educational location. Not to mention, down the road, the hybrid meeting of the future, with both live and virtual attendees learning together.  Gamification, using VR (and AR) is so obvious that it's surprising more planners aren't using it yet.  

With that said about VR, AR may have even more applications, as its ability to blend the real and virtual world simultaneously gives planners much more flexibility in its' usage.  Marketing stands out as a major application of AR.  How about turning your physical promotional pieces into augmented experiences for the attendees?  What about augmenting your session signage at the event to turn them into brief promos for the speaker/topic in the room that day?   And did I mention using it within your mobile app's gamification?   

Q2. What is one of the coolest ways you've seen AR and VR used at events? 
A2. Honestly, I haven't seen much that I'd consider way cool yet, and that's a shame.  Clearly, there are groups doing it, but most of the industry conferences which I've attended are still at the "getting their feet wet" stages.

Q3. What was the most exciting thing you have experienced using AR technology?  What about VR technology?  
A3. VR has a killer app called Tilt Brush by Google (which we'll showcase at our VARnival session for the chapter next week).  I can describe it basically as painting in a 360 virtual world, but it wouldn't do it any justice.  You just have to experience it to understand the wow factor...and applications from any creative perspective.  As for AR, I love what the Seattle Space Needle has done to promote its' destination for visitors by creating interactive experiences at their location.  Planners could learn an awful lot by visiting there and seeing the intersection of creativity and digital in action.

Q4. Aside from AR and VR, what is your all-time favorite mobile app and why is it your favorite?  (Yes, this can be anything.) 
A4. Only 1?  There gotta be at least 100 of them (yeah, my phone is full of apps).  Since I can't give you just one, I'll give you two.  Waze, the ultimate GPS app, is a game changer, integrating their digital layout with the crowd sourcing information of those on the road.  No wonder Google spent over $1 billion to purchase it.  My other fave is Pocket, which I consider to be my digital parking lot app.  With one click across any website (and most apps), you can save content to your own library, so you can stay focused on what you're doing, and have a great resource always available (without the need to search again for it).  Love them both...and they're both free.  Oh yeah, did I mention Slack as changing how work gets done? 

Q5. What is one mobile app you would recommend planners use?  (This can include anything ranging from productivity apps to social apps.)
A5. While I clearly think both Waze and Pocket are must haves, if I'm thinking about an industry-specific app, I love Crowd Mics, which turns the phones of the attendees into room microphones (don't worry, the speaker can control who has the floor).  While it's not free, to me it's a game changer in terms of session interactivity and participation.

To learn how you can adapt more comfortably to Augmented and Virtual Reality, consider attending our hands-on Education Event on Tuesday, September 12th at The Stewart Hotel.  You can register and learn more information on this upcoming event, here.  If you have a particular question for our presenter, please don’t hesitate to email your questions to








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