Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
Upon our collective venture into 2021, we are still adjusting to our new normal brought on by the pandemic. Our movements have been curtailed as we continue to practice social distancing in an effort to do our part. We’re relegated to Zoom meetings and virtual interactions in place of in-person meetings and gatherings. What type of full-person interaction can we have if everybody is sitting at a desk looking at a small screen? It’s bland at best, but more often just plain boring.
Considering that culture (social media aside) is something that typically plays out in real life, the screen on a computer is not nearly a sustainable enough human-level interaction. In order for live artistic expression and enjoyment of venue-based properties to continue, I believe we will need some help adapting and innovating for the future.
We don’t know what the occupancy will look like for event properties and venues that provided the climate for performers to perform and audiences to experience. Artists need to plan performance schedules, and booking agents need to know what they can provide and when. We lack those hard-and-fast guidelines, so how can any of this continue?
In the future, what if there was a way to provide augmented use of existing structures and solve for entertainer availability all in the same equation? I believe we can turn to technology to aid us in the venue-based property space in how we develop and curate engaging experiences. While we’re still a long way off from a return to normalcy, players in the venue property, entertainment and technology sectors can collaborate to provide unique experiences, drawing upon our pivotal adoption of all things virtual.
I have seen technological innovation applicable to this market that’s unique and timely. I believe any new or evolving venue should be aware of new possibilities, including ones that challenge our previous understanding of live, in-person, venue-based events.
Location and Distance
Do those terms mean what they used to? As we have embraced our new circumstances, we may find it hard to think a real immersive presence will ever be possible in the future.
I believe technology holds true unique possibilities for venue and event properties, and I have been fortunate to encounter pioneers in fields like hologram projection to full interior-environment adaptations. Various technologies, such as next-generation projection equipment and techniques, offer the potential for holographic displays, presentations and events to become more common.
Interiors of the future, through the application of hologram projections, interior-environment technology and more, could allow an artist to perform anywhere or a venue to become anywhere. Performance venues could create immersive environments for audiences in a controlled manner.
We’ve witnessed how art and technology together can produce culture-shifting products and experiences. With our office, tourism and entertainment venues currently offline, we need to improvise. But what if you could have your very own virtual reality and hologram system like the holodeck on Star Trek? Equally great, if not more so, what if you could have an in-person performance anywhere in the world or everywhere at the same time?
Innovative and Immersive Experiences
Hardcore technophiles will think this stuff is old news, considering the virtual reality setups and AR and VR systems and headsets we have today. While holographic technology is in its infancy, one of the most well-known examples that made headlines several years ago was in 2012, with Tupac Shakur’s posthumous performance with Snoop Dogg via hologram at Coachella.
Today, a few players are aiming to offer innovative and unique experiences powered by technology like holographic displays and enhanced reality projections. Take PORTL, for instance, one of the pioneers making serious in-roads in the hologram space as a self-contained hologram product. Recently PORTL was featured on the iHeart Music Festival, beaming Kane Brown from Nashville to Hollywood to perform with Swae Lee and Khalid. Additionally, PORTL has created digital resurrection concerts of Jenni Rivera and Juan Gabriel.
HEREweHOLO, a hologram company based in Holland, allows people to speak at their own funerals. This is only one application of holographic experiences. HEREweHOLO recently provided the holographic capabilities for a holiday campaign launched by Coca-Cola Netherlands. The campaign aimed to connect hospital rehabilitation staff and patients with their loved ones by Santa Claus through the magic of the hologram.
In the interior adaptive environment market, Anew, turns blank real estate spaces and properties into myriad different environments using projection technology. The company’s origins stem from founder Daniel Davidson’s The Temple House in Miami Beach, a well-known event space that utilizing cutting-edge technology for spectacular displays.
Engaging Through Experience
What defines an in-person experience anymore? I believe that the future of culture, entertainment and venues will be impacted by innovative technologies that aim to engage audiences through superior experiences and connections. As we continue to look forward to what the future looks like, venue-based experiences will need refinement in order to truly deliver on the technology’s promise.
Tech leaders and real estate, venue owners and operators, and even artists should convene, collaborate and champion technology initiatives that aim to deliver superior experiences in a post-pandemic future.