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Is Event Streaming Ready for AR?

How prepared are general participants in business meetings, fundraising events, or product launches for encompassing various forms of Augmented Reality (AR)? Chris Pfaff, CEO, Chris Pfaff Tech Media, Producers Guild of America (PGA), VR AR Association (VRARA), speaks with Beth Norber, Director of Accounts, Mainstream Media about some of the challenges her organization is facing in terms of getting their clients up to speed with incorporating AR, VR, and the overall umbrella of Extended Reality (XR) immersive experiences into their event streams.

“What are you doing in terms of the hybrid, sort of XR and the 2D world?” Pfaff asks Norber. “Is that more of a demand for you now?”

“There are many clients that are asking for the AR and there are some specific platforms that are particularly well suited for this,” Norber says. “Sometimes we're layering in some elements of VR. Those are largely for some of the in-person events on the AR side using platforms [such as] spacial.io and gather.town.” However, she notes that these events don’t scale very well, especially depending on the client and the budget. “I think that it really is the gaming companies, the Amazons, the tech companies, the media companies that are on the leading edge of that for their events,” she says.

Norber highlights that while the lines are becoming blurred between media events, product launches, and other types of events, the “bread and butter” presentations of their clientele such as business meetings and fundraisers may not be fully ready for XR integrations. “I don't know that their audiences are totally open to some of that,” she says. “Yet they see it, they know it's out there. Are they ready for it themselves? Is the client ready for that, to think about such an immersive, integrated experience? We're trying to lead them there [using] baby steps…and accessibility is always, always, always at the forefront of our mind and our client's minds in terms of how accessible these types of experiences are. In terms of literally just internet speeds and some of the basics, right? But big brands…are leading the way.”

“And are you working with in-house agencies or are we talking more Fortune 1000 companies?” Pfaff says. “Because, of course, from an event standpoint, historically you've got some of the biggest (certainly in North America) companies like SAP and Salesforce and Oracle and Microsoft, a lot of classic enterprise software sales. Is that still the issue? Or have we seen more of a take up from, let's say, CPG companies?”

“I think it's still that the highest tier of companies is pushing the boundaries when it comes to these events,” Norber says. “They're the ones that can do those big, branded events, co-branded with the YouTubes or the Fortnite or the big headline artist. That is going to be that biggest draw.” But she says that some smaller companies are willing to take the financial and technological risks involved with incorporating XR. “It is definitely something that feels really exclusive, feels really in demand for a certain clientele,” she says. “And again, it'll trickle down to I think most of the events that we're all seeing on a daily basis.”

Learn more about AR in streaming events at Streaming Media West 2022.

Watch full-session videos from Streaming Media Connect 2022.

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