Computer generated images superimposed onto actual human models - Avatars. Truly a game-changer in the movie industry, but what about other real world applications?
In the events industry this technology is already being applied. Companies like Cisco are leading the charge and employing this technology today and saving hundreds of millions on their annual event spend. What may be even more impressive is that it is "green"... everyone wants to be green right! Well imagine reducing your event production costs by 25, 50 even 75 percent and all the while reducing your carbon dioxide footprint - (yep you can measure that too); in the case of Cisco they estimate 84,400 metric tons over a period of 4 days.
The Challenge: According to Carlos Dominguez, SVP Cisco "the greatest challenges to overcome are all in the human dynamics arena. People missed seeing their colleagues. These are sales people after all and they like connecting with people. Several mentioned it wasn’t as inspirational as when you’re there in person and John Chambers live is always the highlight of the sales meeting. I would agree that I did miss seeing my friends in person and the personal human interaction."
Obviously, this is music to an event producers ears! While Cisco viewed this as a challenge it is actually a great testimony to the value of "the human experience" that only face-to-face events can provide. The experience one has when gathering in an environment emmersed in an audio visual extravaganza is unmatched. When using audio, video, lighting, staging and entertainment to create an amazing themed environment we often see people experience every range of emotion possible; they cry, laugh, feel motivated, inspired and all points in between. They also retain 75 percent more knowledge than they would without the support of audio and visual aid.
Most people have attended at least one event that has left them forever changed and with memories they will carry for a lifetime. So while avatars are a welcome and even complimentary addition to real-world human interaction; a virtual environment should probably not be viewed as a replacement for the real thing.
The Solution: A simple balance of the two rather than a choice of one over the other. Perhaps in the case of Cisco they could cap their savings at 75 percent allowing 10 percent of their salesforce to attend a live event - that is still nearly 2000 attendees in Cisco's case. Imagine the buzz surrounding who gets the "golden tickets" to attend. And there are no limits to the possibilities for onsite motivational activites and interaction between 2000 attendees and 17,000 avatars.