With all the blockbuster science fiction movies that are made these days, it’s hard to believe that sci-fi was once consider second-tier or “B” movie material – suitable for summer release to drive-ins and not much else. It wasn’t until 1977, when George Lucas sprung a little movie called Star Wars on an unsuspecting public, that Hollywood began looking at science fiction as worth the investment.
So what made Star Wars a game-changer? While there have been all kinds of discussion over the years, one of the most prominent theories is that this film replaced the bad sets and cheesy special effects sci-fi films were known for at the time with incredible visuals and believable special effects. Whether you were looking at Tatooine or Yavin IV, the Millennium Falcon or even the Death Star, you weren’t just watching a movie. You were being transported to a galaxy far, far away.
That’s a lesson that can be easily applied by companies and meeting planners when creating virtual environments. Rather than settling for the same old, same old, i.e. an ordinary office building or convention centre, why not think outside the boundaries of reality and create a virtual environment that transports your visitors somewhere they’ve never been (but would love to go)? You’ll not only engage them while they’re there; you’ll build word of mouth to drive traffic as visitors tell their friends or co-workers “you’ve got to check this thing out!”
Here are three ideas on how you can take advantage of the design possibilities of virtual environments:
- Futuristic setting – If you have a groundbreaking product, especially something technology-related, why show it off in a brown paper environment? Create a futuristic-looking setting, including avatars wearing interesting clothes, vehicles flying by the windows outside and other high-tech touches
- Journey to the past – Take your visitors on an adventure ride like you’ll find at a high-end amusement park. With virtual environments you can go anywhere in time – the land of dinosaurs, ancient Egypt or Greece, Medieval times with knights and ladies, the labs of Thomas Edison or Madam Curie, or anywhere else you can imagine. Choose a time and place that’s appropriate to the topic (Edison’s lab for something electricity-related, for example) and you’ll keep your visitors hooked
- Bring the artist’s rendition to life – Nearly every office building, convention hall, stadium, etc. starts with an artist’s rendition, an idealized view of what the building will look like upon completion. Unfortunately, the reality rarely matches the vision. But you can use that artist’s rendition to build a virtual environment that matches or even enhances that vision, building more affinity for your brand in the process.
Those are just a few ideas. In reality the possibilities are, well, infinite. With a little creative thought and imagination, you can create a blockbuster virtual environment your target audiences want to visit again and again – even if just to escape from their everyday world for a few minutes. And they may just learn a few things in the process.
About the author
Eric Vidal is the Director of Product Marketing for the Event Services Business Segment at InterCall, the world’s largest conferencing and collaboration services provider. He can be reached at [email protected].