Prolight + Sound has always been a place where students and universities can present their innovations and research projects. At this year’s trade fair, the Future Hub was once again home to young, innovative minds such as the students and staff of HAW Hamburg. They developed an XRevent platform – a first step towards cross-reality events.
Platform for cross-reality events
Like many others from the event industry, the HAW Hamburg students from the field of event technology were unable to hold real events in the early 2020s. Therefore, they were looking for new solutions to continue to participate in cultural life. The result of this and the collaboration with BHT Berlin and THM was the XRevent Plattorm, which offers the possibility to link physical and virtual events, as well as to design social, interactive and three-dimensional live experiences for visitors.
At Prolight + Sound, the students and staff presented their virtual event platform and took visitors to a virtual lounge, which would also act as an entry point for a virtual event. While the real event takes place as usual, virtual visitors experience an interactive, social and three-dimensional event simultaneously in VR. Video and audio, as well as Artnet packages, are streamed directly into the VR app. On the real side of the event, the effort is no greater than for an ordinary livestream.
Challenges from technology and event management
In the end, the platform should bring together real and virtual events and enable interaction between the participants of the real as well as the virtual event – a real cross-reality event. The students not only had to keep an eye on the technical implementation of virtual reality, but also on classic event management topics such as program planning and ticketing.
Program planning, for example, presents the young team with a whole new set of challenges for which there is as yet no empirical data. How do you plan a program for an event that is both real and virtual when the virtual participant can log in and out at any time?
Likewise, there are technical realizations that must be taken into account. If the cross event is to enable interaction between all participants, for example, the question arises as to what happens when a real participant turns the light on or off in a room. Does the virtual participant see this as well? And how can it be implemented? Or what happens when a real participant uses a whiteboard in the virtual room?
The new platform will be presented for the first time in July at the Zukunftsfest in Munich.
XRevent Creator for planning hybrid events
In addition to the actual XRevent platform, the HAW Hamburg team also presented the XRevent Creator, which can be used to create individual, hybrid events such as concerts, theater and stage shows, conferences, club events, exhibitions and trade fairs without any programming effort.
With this program, the workflow for setting up a real event is taken into account and transferred to the virtual event. In addition, the XRevent Creaor uses common event equipment such as lighting console, video mapping and sound technology, which can then be used for the simultaneous manipulation of both events.