In April of 2022, XPR Labs partnered with Economic Developers Alberta to deliver a hybrid conference experience to government delegates from across Canada. While not new to organizing virtual conferences, the EDA Xperience event came with unique challenges for the XPR team.
EDA Xperience would constitute an experimental online attendance option for delegates unable to attend the in-person summit, with virtual attendees encouraged to join through an immersive venue. First, this meant that an appropriate venue would need to be designed and developed. Second, but no less important, the delegates, who would be unfamiliar with immersive technology, would need to be trained on the software.
The venue was designed as a single elegant conference hall, with a video screen for livestreamed keynotes and lectures. A patio would show a landscape inspired by the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, and a separate lobby acted as a safe landing pad for the virtual space. This venue was also the first to feature a “changing room” — a room with a diverse range of preset avatars in business attire, letting attendees customize their look.
To aid in training, a specialized curriculum was developed for new VR users. All delegates received personalized training sessions — combined with new training materials, the process for onboarding new users was streamlined and optimized.
Finally, to help bring the immersive experience to the in-person delegates, XPR personnel traveled to the summit and to establish a “window to the metaverse.” A large screen in the real venue allowed physical attendees to see into the virtual venue in real-time, and virtual attendees to see the physical event enabling real-time interactions between both attendee groups.
EDA Xperience 2022 was an excellent gateway into mixed-reality events, offering government delegates a first look at immersive technology. Critically, it allowed for the perfection of the changing room mechanic and new user curricula, making it significantly easier to introduce VR to the public.
A conference was also given to introduce the Economic Developers to the Metaverse and its impacts on our way of life and work: https://vimeo.com/700640424/e11c8b5645