Six tips for creating an immersive experience

Technology has changed how we live, work and interact with the world around us. As a result, we can even create new worlds and experiences. This innovation led to the debut of immersive experiences, which use technology, storytelling and space to convey a message, educate or entertain. You can transport visitors to another time or place. 

Increasingly, companies recognize immersive experiences as an opportunity to engage with customers in a unique and powerful way. They apply to many different industries, from location-based entertainment to corporate settings. If your organization wants to redefine your space in a way that delivers memorable moments, you’ll want to know about these critical tips.

Define your Purpose

Delivering an immersive experience is exciting. To be effective, you need to know what it is you’re trying to achieve. Are you looking to entertain? Educate? Increase brand awareness? Understanding why you’re building an immersive experience will help you develop a strategy and plan. 

For example, The Grove Google Experience Center delivers a unique experience for the company’s clients, partners and guests. It’s a next-generation briefing center that transforms the space into one with dynamic interactive experiences. Its purpose is to reimagine the visitor experience combining architecture, storytelling, visitor-centered design and hospitality touch points.

The project uses experiential technology throughout, including a stunning videowall.

Learn how to kickstart an immersive experience project



Tell a Story

Great content is the foundation for your immersive experience, and it should be the center of your design. This is your opportunity to weave a narrative in a meaningful way like never before. You have control over the content as well as its delivery. Remember, a story has a beginning, middle and end, as well as a cast of characters. Consider what role your visitors will play in the story and what message you want them to take with them. 

Often, the most pivotal stories to tell are real ones, as exemplified by the National Holocaust Centre and Museum. This dark time in history is something all people should know about through the words of survivors. Technology captured testimonials and presented them as interactive, life-sized 3D models, shot in 4K. High-end audio brings the virtual experience to life. These 3D representations can respond to individual questions from visitors, as well.

[Take the first step in creating an immersive experience by consulting an  experiential technology design expert]

Engage the Senses

The more, the better. An immersive experience should evoke emotion and imagination. The best way to do that is to incorporate the senses through details that bring those moments to life. Sound, imagery, the temperature of the room, the smell and feel of the air. Every piece brings visitors deeper into your story.

Illuminarium Atlanta is an excellent example of engaging the senses. Home of a reprogrammable immersive theater, sight, sound and scale thrive. The experience is like VR without glasses that are flexible and multi-sensory.

Visitors enter the savannas of Africa, watching exotic animals in their natural habitats. The space blends 4K laser projection, 3D audio, in-floor vibration and scent to create a day on safari. Guests are part of the story from the start!



Integrate Technology with the Story and Space

Technology plays a significant role in immersive experiences. The newest innovations keep pushing what’s possible. However, technology cannot deliver this on its own. It needs to also integrate with the story and physical space seamlessly. It’s one component of the final product, and a successful immersive experience is the sum of its parts. Sometimes the simplest use of technology is the best solution.

The type of AV technology you use depends on the story and the space. Some to consider that can have profound impact include:

  • Audio technology: Beamforming can shape beams of audio to create sound localization and immersive technology. Haptic speakers offer a way to provide audio that’s more accessible and “touchable.”
  • LIDAR sensory technology: This technique remotely senses when people enter a space and can track further movements. It triggers interactive elements to add to the spectacle.
  • Interactive displays: These components can guide, inform, engage and more. While the interaction used to be by touch; now technology allows LEDS to recognize gestures. Multi-touch support via Projected Capacitive Touchscreens (PCAP) is also new.
  • LEDs: Innovative LEDs can deliver many ways to engage. Some new products in the category include OLED, which supports applications where contrast, color tracking and wider viewing angles are needed. Another is a QLED, which consists of quantum dots that render exceptional brightness and color.
  • Projection mapping: You can make any object a display surface for video, no matter the shape, with this technology.



Personalize the Experience

A responsive environment can help produce a personalized experience for each visitor. For example, an RFID badge can trigger a greeting in the guest’s native language while granting them access to certain areas. As consumers long for more unique experiences to compete against all the ones they can have at home, personalization is critical.

This concept is on full display at the  International Spy Museum. When the museum relocated, they were ready to put visitors into the story instead of leaving them to observe. They can take an “Undercover Mission” that’s highly personalized based on an interactive lanyard.

The goal was to tell an adrenaline-filled spy story with lots of twists and turns. The exhibit works by using RFID aerials and integration with displays and sensors. Guests get to be the hero of a one-of-a-kind quest.

Incorporate Visitor Interaction

Involving your guest in the experience through interaction allows them to engage in a meaningful way. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of buy-in and continued engagement while creating a longer-lasting memory. In addition, visitors will have a stake in the outcome and feel empowered as active participants instead of passive viewers.

The Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre is a motion capture immersive that brings visitors into the battle. Reenacting these events from 700 years ago required lots of creativity. The installation includes projection-mapped terrains and touchscreen technology, enabling guests to generate troop movements and compete on the virtual battlefield. Immersion and interactivity work hand-in-hand to create an enjoyable time for all.

Collaborate with Audiovisual Designers and Integrators Early

The last tip to consider for any architect, design firm or organization looking to create an immersive experience is to begin working on concepts with an entire team. Bringing in experiential technology companies, AV designers and integrators and others is essential for a successful project from the start.

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