Virtual is a Reality…but is it Virtual Reality?

The past year has seen us living with the reality of virtual. Video calls, online meetings, streamed events - the majority of our connections have happened through a screen. While this is our current reality it is not virtual reality in the truest sense. By definition, virtual reality (VR) is being completely immersed in a world that is simulated. Augmented reality (AR) allows a user to move around in the real world while interacting with virtual elements (think Pokemon Go). What we've called "virtual" during the pandemic does not fit these exact criteria but our comfort interacting with a screen and the related technologies does pave the way for virtual and augmented reality solutions to become part of daily work and life.

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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

Small Event. Big Impact

As we begin to slide into the last quarter of the year and start planning for 2020, the human inclination is to go bigger and better next year. But, we would challenge you to look at how going smaller can actually lead to a greater impact. Smaller events can deliver the same learning as a large event, however do it in a way that enables event organizers to get closer to attendees as well as a different way for attendees to interact with the content and with each other.

For context, we would define a small event as somewhere around 20-50 people. With this size, attendees have an opportunity to get to know one another and the presenters on a deeper level. This is helpful when you're looking to build better customer intimacy or when you are looking to gather feedback. A small group allows for more interaction and questions, so organizers can take advantage of the opportunity and build in plenty of time for Q&A. Attendees can get the lecture experience at any event, so set your event apart with increased access to and interaction with speakers and thought leaders.

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A Look Back at 2018

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As we complete another trip around the sun, we took some time to look back at the past year and do some thinking about what's to come in 2019. Market Connections helped with this reflection when they released their 2018 Federal Media and Marketing Study with a focus on confidence in news sources. Federal news media and associations were among the most trusted sources of content for federal buyers both in terms of written information and events. Additionally, the study found that participation in events and webinars has remained very steady over the past several years. This finding was echoed in our own survey conducted late last year. Events have proven to be a staple for marketers and attendees alike.

2018 saw us celebrating our own place as a staple in the events community. We celebrated eight years of providing an online, one-stop-shop for the public sector and supporting industry. Users are able to find the events that aid in their professional development, their organization's mission, and their business goals. Continue reading