As we all sit at home and contemplate the future, it feels as though there is a real shift in history: One that is Pre-COVID 19, and post. Just a few weeks ago, thoughts of communicating with your doctor online, using infrared thermometers, and the need to tour a future home or apartment via satellite all seemed VERY foreign.
The event industry has been hit, especially hard by the Coronavirus. Mandatory closures of venues and air travel restrictions left no choice for many company executives and event planners other than to cancel scheduled events. As some restrictions begin to loosen, its a complicated issue for decision-makers to determine if and when they should reschedule events or consider other options.
Can Virtual Reality Provide Event Planners With Options?
As part of the Virtual Reality industry, we are wondering, if in this moment of "social distancing," might it be an opportunity for VR to shine and provide solutions?
If you are a frequent user of Virtual Reality for business or pleasure, you are likely aware that there have been many new and exciting breakthroughs with this technology. The downside to the growth of VR is that there is a noticeable shortage in supply of devices, from the cost-prohibitive Magic Leap ($2,300) to the Oculus Go and other relatively less expensive VR gear marketed to consumers. However, we are optimistic that Virtual Reality will be here for years to come and can provide a way to collaborate remotely, innovate, conduct training, help manufacture goods, and ultimately relax in our Post-COVID world.
How Might Live Events Change?
If you are an event industry professional, until there is a Covid-19 vaccine, it is still possible to have events. They may look a little different from past events as extra precautions must be put into place to protect the health of the attendees and manage occupancy at the venue. The following are several suggestions on how we might transition a future event:
1 - Before the event, start with a questionnaire:
Question 1: Have you been tested for Coronavirus. If yes, please submit verification here (provide a document upload).
Question 2: If you have answered no, would you consent to be tested on-site or before the event?
With cooperation on our questions, we might be able to theorize that a test has cleared all participants that will be granted access to the venue.
2 - Open Doors- Keeping public doors open to event spaces and hallways, allowing air to move around the space naturally and potentially eliminate hundreds to thousands of individuals touching the same surfaces.
3 - Unmanned Registration- Airports have been doing it for ages- Just like you've printed off your boarding pass or luggage tag, have your guests use kiosks, with persons available for additional assistance, rather than long lines, "hello's, and 'what's your name?"
4 - Provide Additional Testing On-Site. Abbott Laboratories has developed testing devices that can show a positive result in approximately five minutes, and a negative result within thirteen minutes!
5 - Most large events usually have an EMT on staff. For larger gatherings, having doctors and health professionals around or nearby to help quickly identify anyone who is not feeling well.
6 - Grab Bags-- thoughtless branded products can now be replaced by health-related items- Hand sanitizer, reusable cups, gloves with nanosilver (that are both fashionable and antibacterial).
7 - Delineate spaces and manage foot traffic. Tensa Barriers: or those two metal bars with a webbed connection (again used at airports, and lounges) give a VIP treatment while also restricting flows of traffic, making it easier to clean certain areas more frequently.
The above list provides several coarse suggestions to improve safety at an event. At Maverick VR understand that social patterns and events will be changing. It might become normal to enter lines earlier, find an antibacterial that is ALSO a moisturizer (if you want to have soft hands still), and greet people with eye contact rather than a handshake. We believe we can all be more careful, and still experience life together-- Whether it be at an event six feet apart, with a mask, or merely pointing from afar on how to get the game started in your HTC Vive device. Whatever happens, we'll be with you until the end.