The Inside Story: Taking a Microsoft Event into the Metaverse
Here’s how we brought together future-building technologists in a groundbreaking metaverse experience built for the near future.
As event professionals, we continue to explore new ways to produce events in the digital space that are fresh and exciting. How do you mimic the feeling of an in-person experience and make it as impactful as the real thing? In the past, virtual reality (VR) seemed futuristic, something people used recreationally. Something corporate brands shied away from. Not Microsoft. They were all in when it came to testing new ways to excite and engage their audience.
Opus Agency partnered with Microsoft to test out the capabilities of one of Microsoft’s newer acquisitions, AltspaceVR, an alternate virtual experience app offering a wide range of event-hosting features and a blank canvas to create unique digital environments and experiences, and free to users.
Testing the functionality with a small mixer, the Opus Agency team created a digital environment where attendees could participate as avatars and mingle in a digital space without physically leaving the comfort of their workspace. The first AltspaceVR event proved that guests could gather and communicate in a fully virtual world. Microsoft sought to elevate the next AltspaceVR experience by providing a content-driven event featuring multiple sessions, live speakers, and recording the event.
Tasked with producing a 100% virtual reality event, Opus Agency dove into the world of avatars and virtual environments to produce the internal Machine Learning, AI & Data Science Conference (MLADS), that delivered content in an exciting and futuristic way.
First, attendees received an invitation to participate in the event, followed by instructions on setting up an AltspaceVR account and creating their own avatar. Next, we created the digital environment. Attendees could enter the digital space through the app with or without a VR headset. AltspaceVR mimics the real-life event experience by allowing attendees to feel like they are physically in the room, giving them the ability to explore the environment around them and connect with other attendees. Three sessions featured presenters on a digital stage, and a recording captured the entire experience for future use.
With any new platform or technology, the learning curve is steep, but Opus Agency successfully navigated building and hosting an event in a virtual reality world. The result? We doubled attendance and nearly reached the app’s max capacity.
What does this mean for the future of events? As culture continues to explore the metaverse, brands and business events will also continue their experiments with VR. Adding VR functionality to corporate events will offer additional ways for attendees to participate in live events and increase the potential reach. We’ve just begun to explore VR functionality and what it means for the future of events.
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