Today, Verizon Media is announcing the launch of a new virtual, interactive digital experience, “Immersion 2021”. The experience takes place on October 29th and 30th and will be a showcase of content and technology thought leadership, expertise and a demonstration as to how brands and businesses can use 3D, virtual content in more interactive and immersive ways for their customers. The challenge to use emerging technologies like Extended Reality (XR) now, and with 5G in the future, to drive customer and audience engagement virtually is being faced by all brands. Immersion 2021 will combine a selection of inspiring and informative talks from industry leaders in business and technology with an interactive, immersive Halloween themed Escape Room, called “Project Midnight”, to help marketers see and feel how Verizon Media can help bring these types of experiences to life.
Demand for more exciting and interactive virtual digital experiences, utilising technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), has been rapidly accelerated by the global Coronavirus pandemic as many businesses and consumers pivoted to virtual meetings, events and social gatherings. An online study conducted by Verizon Media with UK consumers shows that 51% of adults who attended live events before the pandemic are now also interested in having the option to attend them via online or through XR experiences like virtual reality. This significantly rises to 55% amongst 18-34s. Lockdown has also significantly increased consumer attitude towards VR and AR technology. In September 2020, 69% of UK consumers said they were excited by VR and AR experiences described to them, up significantly from 50% in March 2020, and is a huge opportunity for brands to bring these experiences to life in the most relevant and engaging ways for their customers.
“Project Midnight” is a virtual escape room hosted within the Immersion 2021 virtual event, created by RYOT in partnership with Swamp Motel, a leader in immersive storytelling. The experience will allow groups of up to four players to work their way through the virtual escape room using different interactive technologies and multiple screens. Giving the teams the chance to crack the puzzle together enhances the immersive experience for players and is designed as a fun way for customers to see and feel how creative technology can be employed to bring virtual events to life. It also allows for a way to celebrate Halloween in a shared and immersive way many will be missing this year.
Immersion 2021 also features talks by key industry figures discussing topics such as the future of technology, the huge potential of 5G connectivity in 2021 and beyond, particularly through the lens of immersive experiences, and how brands can leverage technology to make deeper consumer connections in virtual spaces. Speakers will include Dr Ali Goode, XR Consultant, Author and Columnist Charlie Fink, Former CEO of 6D.ai and Advisor to Niantic (the company behind Pokemon Go), Matt Miesnieks, as well as Mark Melling, Head of RYOT and 5G Lead, EMEA at Verizon Media.
“As we can’t have traditional parties with our friends and colleagues for Halloween right now, Verizon Media is bringing a virtual connected experience to our customers to help them have fun and be inspired by the kinds of experiences that are possible now and in the future.” said Kristiana Carlet, Head of International Sales at Verizon Media. “Acceleration of the appetite for live, interactive, shared experiences has been exponential with the global pandemic, and understanding how brands can bring these to life – especially as we look forward to a 5G connected world in future – is more important than ever. As part of one of the world’s leading technology companies, Verizon Media is in a unique position to partner with businesses to fuel creativity and technological innovation, and has the power of amplifying these experiences straight to customers through our ecosystem of world-renowned media brands and industry-leading advertising platforms.”
Immersion 2021 is a new showcase of Verizon Media’s broader XR programme, Verizon Media Immersive. This suite of immersive products brings next-generation content experiences to consumers and customers of Verizon Media through its XR content partnerships that amplify original journalism through innovative formats that bring readers closer than ever to news stories around the world, as well as XR ad formats that deliver engaging, interactive advertising experiences across Verizon Media and beyond, and through immersive digital experiences like Immersion 2021 and The Fabric of Reality.
Earlier this year, Verizon Media opened a new 5G-enabled production studio in London, offering space to produce premium quality, XR content using state-of-the-art facilities like volumetric capture, motion capture, photogrammetry and AR broadcast.
Immersion 2021 has been created in partnership with experiential and digital agency MVRK and immersive entertainment company Swamp Motel. Immersion 2021 is open to all Verizon Media customers including brands, agencies, publishers (and journalists). For more information and to register go here.
1 Verizon Media / YouGov Immersive Experiences Consumer Study. Online fieldwork March & September 2020, UK Adults 18+ nationally representative sample (2,011/2,210).
2 Among those who attended live events every 2-3 months or more often (N=655), and (N=186) among 18-34s.
3 See list of AR/VR experiences described in supporting documentation