2020, the year that notoriously held the experience industry at figurative gunpoint. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic it seemed almost impossible for the industry to conduct anything of note–but titans have adapted and persevered. Rapid changes were implemented almost overnight as a new wave of trends crashed into the shore.
As we quickly approach 2021, we’ve faced heightened safety protocols and guidelines that are now built into the “new normal.” Promises of a vaccine have seen societies slowly emerge from various states of lockdown, and the world is keen to rediscover what’s out there. Today, we will examine the experience trends that have their roots in managing safety, and how they will affect future events that are yet to come.
Public access on-ground multi-stream events have been around for decades, but the concept of hybridization takes it further. A mixture of in-person and virtual attendance, this format allows for real-time public participation from a distance as it happens. Livestreams in the past often only provide in-person access and interaction to an exclusive set of attendees, but hybrid events are built with the person on the other side of the screen in mind as well, allowing for more avenues of communication such as reacts, chat, polling, and more.
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands has taken the lead in this initiative, launching the world’s first purpose-built hybrid event solution. The suite offers full virtual webcasting and live streaming capacity; modification for in-person and online audiences; and holographic telepresence features.
INCREASED OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES
Sometimes, splitting your audience into the real world and the virtual space is not enough to conduct new physical distancing measures. Productions have slowly decided to reclaim the outdoors as properly fitted locations, working creatively with negative space to fashion for large comfortable yet memorable backdrops to experiences. As the travel industry regains its footing, premium getaways will be more attainable and will be seen as an incentive for this outdoor movement.
Take a look at the world’s first socially distanced concert in the UK, produced by pop-up venue specialist Virgin Money Unity Arena.
EXCLUSIVE ON-GROUND ACCESS
The amount of in-person events will slowly multiply, although the number of attendees is likely to remain small as social consciousness still revolves around the looming presence of the pandemic. Attendee curation will be key in fostering a safe and intimate experience for like-minded individuals.
MORE AT-HOME CONTENT
Entertainment has been paramount during the past year, and many organizations have pushed the boundaries of the direct-to-screen format. We have seen a significant increase in interactive content and 3D steaming, along with the gamification of every day applications. As technology capabilities improve, more and more adapters will join the bandwagon. The heavy usage of these capabilities will make development cheaper, allowing for more providers to chime in with their content that will deliver digital experience trend satisfaction.
IMMERSIVE ALTERED REALITY CAMPAIGNS
With the rise and rise of technology also comes the integration of altered reality. If virtual reality is about an experience that shuts out the real world, augmented reality adds digital elements to it via phone or camera. Use both virtual experience capabilities and you get a mixed reality experience, where real world and digital objects interact. Altered reality is not only for entertainment but has real world applications as well, and these campaigns are used as learning solutions in many forward-thinking companies.
SURGES IN SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS
Technology and sustainability go hand in hand. As of late tech companies have been building devices and software with more compatibility and practical functions to last a greater period of time. With technology becoming more integrated with experiences, there has been a call for less disposables during each production; building an emphasis on takeaways that are functional on a physical and theoretical level.
In 2018, Not Impossible Labs engineered a vest to help the deaf community enjoy group experiences. The vest may be synced up to any venue sound system, allowing the person to parse the sound through vibrations.
MASS TESTING ATTAINABILITY
The rush to develop vaccines for the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in better and cheaper testing procedures. Living in 2020 has ingrained in most a necessity to reach for semblances of safety gating, and experiences are no exception. It may be possible that wearable technology for self-detection of COVID-19 will be available soon; and this advancement will help the world fully unshutter its doors sooner than we all think.
What did you think of this list of experience trends and our assessment? What are your 2021 predictions? Drop us a line on [email protected].