Mixing Virtual and Real-World Experiences at Events

We've talked about the impact Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are having in government work, but the technologies also stand to make a huge difference in the events world. This opens up new possibilities for learning and interaction. Currently, VR is being introduced into events as entertainment -- an add-on experience to networking and gala dinners. AI is being used behind the scenes to expedite event logistics. Soon, both technologies will make their way further into events and change how attendees interact with the event and each other.

  • International Collaboration - Google is testing a new speech-to-speech translation technology, Translatotron, which would enable real-time translation at events. Through headsets, attendees would hear a close approximation of the speaker's voice in their selected language in near real-time. The AI translation can run as long as people are willing to talk and listen. Events could use this two-way communication technology for general session Q&A as well as one-on-one networking.
  • Accessibility - AI and VR are reimagining sign language interpretation. HoloHear uses Microsoft HoloLens goggles to show a signing virtual reality figure. This augmented reality helps the deaf maintain focus on the speaker, on-stage visuals, and the translator.
  • Training - While face-to-face interaction will continue to be a huge part of events and training, VR-led training is being introduced to tackle a number of more "challenging interpersonal scenarios" where in-person training might be uncomfortable.
  • More realistic experience - An event is a great place to get hands-on with a product, but it may not be the best place to truly experience a product. This article illustrates how using VR can put people in the ideal atmosphere. For example, the reaction someone may have to drinking an expensive champagne may be different if they are looking around a noisy tradeshow floor versus being immersed in a VR experience at a five-star restaurant. Building the right atmosphere for the initial product experience may lead to a better reception and reaction.

We'd love to hear from you! What are some applications of VR and AI you've seen at events? Share your thoughts in the comments. Visit GovEvents for more government events worldwide.

Putting the F-U-N back in Learning Fundamentals

We all know we should seek out training and growth opportunities and most of us truly want to grow and learn. However, the process of finding and participating in professional development can feel onerous and boring. Fortunately, this does not need to be the case. A simple shift in thinking can "spark joy" in the professional development process.

Find the Easy Button - Of course we're biased, but we like to think GovEvents is an easy button for finding training. We created this site to be a central hub for finding events applicable to growing careers and organizations in the government market. Use our search engine to narrow down your search by topic, location, continuing education credits, and more. Beyond us, reach out to your HR department. Those teams put in a lot of work developing in-house training and career development opportunities. Bottom line - tap into the research others have already done to find your perfect training match. Continue reading

Virtual Reality Prepares Federal Employees for Workforce Realities

With a focus on automation and digitization in government, there is a perceived fear that, just like the science fiction films and books warned, robots will take over our jobs (and potentially later, the world). The reality is that while some manual jobs will be "taken over" by machines, there is still a huge need for people to train and double check those technologies. In automating rote functions, we are letting machines do what they do best - quickly capture and compute data -- and freeing humans to do what they do best - make sense of the machine's outputs.

Government agencies are committed to training employees to reskill them into higher value jobs that allow them to not only keep their job, but elevate their skills and place in the organization. It is not surprising that technology will also play a big role in that training.

Virtual Reality (VR) training is not new to government. The Defense Department has been using it for years to create a realistic environment for training soldiers on expensive combat equipment and preparing them for new terrains and environments. Civilian agencies have begun using VR and Augmented Reality (AR) to better connect with citizens, making interacting with government services feel like playing a video game. Taking the lessons learned from Fortune 500 companies, the government can now extend their use of VR to general workforce training. Continue reading

So, You’ve Got an App for That. Now What?

A mobile app launches in the App Store, but no one downloads it. Does it make an impact? Unlike the philosophical exercise of the "if a tree falls in the forest" question, this similarly worded one has a definite answer -- if no one is using your mobile app, the work and resources you've put into it are wasted.

The ubiquity of mobile devices, the comfort with apps, and the options for no-code development all have made apps a real option for all types and sizes of events. With app adoption, event organizers can reduce paper, create more interactivity with the audience, and gather data on their experience before, during, and after the event. Today, we want to focus on making sure people are using event apps so that these benefits can be realized. Continue reading

We’re Virtually There: Virtual Reality Gets Real for Government

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are becoming more mainstream in consumer life as well as in the business of government. While the military has long used virtual reality simulations for training, the Pokemon Go! phenomenon brought AR to the masses and opened the door for the use of virtual worlds in many more situations.

First, some quick differentiators-

  • Virtual Reality - A user is completely immersed in a simulated world. Usually achieved by wearing a headset or entering a simulation chamber. Virtual reality experiences tend to be solitary endeavors.
  • Augmented Reality - A user can move around in the real world while interacting with the virtual world via a device, typically a smart phone.

Government organizations are using both AR and VR in a variety of ways to improve workforce productivity as well as citizen service. The American Museum of Natural History is enhancing the experience visitors can have with dinosaur exhibits with the "Dinosaurs Among Us" app that is similar to Pokémon Go. For government teams, virtual reality glasses are being used to replicate physical spaces so that someone at the office can see exactly what someone in the field is seeing. Continue reading