Las Vegas Monorail like a Tokyo subway car during rush hour,
destined, once again, for the LVCC.
My time at CES and the MPI Experiential Event Series concludes with several hours of exploring the endless exhibits at the
convention center. As much as I hunger to test the ;irst high-end,
consumer-ready VR headset, the Oculus Rift, I can’t fathom waiting three hours in the serpentine queue that winds around Oculus’ enormous exhibition structure, the general design of which
harkens to the Kaaba in Mecca. This is apt thematically, considering the fervor of VR enthusiasts and the pedestal on which
they’ve placed Oculus since VR as a viable medium emerged from
hibernation in 2012. And so I depart
the of;icially sanctioned CES…ex-hausted but needing more.
Minutes after taking an Uber
over to the Palms Casino Resort for
VR Fest—certainly the best non-CES-sanctioned satellite event for
my mind—I’m wearing the not-yet-released consumer Oculus Rift and
running through a virtual stadium
where, on a good day, a very real live
soccer match would be taking place.
I then drop into a dozen other VR experiences, dutifully visiting each and
every exhibit booth: live sports, relieving the anxiety of children undergoing medical procedures, creating worlds while in a virtual
environment, semi-erotic immer-sive cinema, social VR poker and on
Returning from this bevy of experience, my understanding of and
relationship with reality and human
memories has become confused. Exhaustion, perception-changing experiences, glimpses into the technological future and contagious
pathogens (see “nerd ;lu” or “con
crud”) all merge into a singular feeling.
Ending this Las Vegas visit with
VR Fest and so many different VR experiences on different platforms, I
genuinely wonder if the entire thing
was virtual…all of the MPI Experiential Event Series program, all of CES.
They’re just memories—the output
of organic software distinguishable
from a good VR experience solely by
the programming language used. ■
at CES. Chris Yueh (MPI Georgia Chapter),
programs coordinator for the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects,
and I dive in with determination and clear
purpose: drones, VR and any novel wackiness the universe may avail, bring it on!
Fast forward, a light rain begins to fall,
we’re given cocktails, portable electric fans
and sel;ie sticks at the monorail station (I
know, right?!) and I’m inexplicably donning a solid, bright green mask as we meet
the other Experiential Event Series participants for dinner.
SWEETER THAN YOO-HOO
The ;inal morning of the program, we all
gather to debrief on the uses of experiential marketing seen at CES, explore the Experiential Event Series hashtag (#MPIEXP)
to share and learn from each other’s tweets
and, sadly, say goodbye to newfound
friends and professional contacts.
It’s at this point that, with a potent
breakfast tea in hand, I rejoin the sea of humanity, technology and business ;illing the
In June we’ll feature more in-depth coverage of the MPI Experiential Event Series
as I take you behind the scenes of South
by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Want to
walk behind the world’s curtains? Additional programs in the MPI Experiential
Event Series will give participants exclusive access to the Democratic National
Convention, the Toronto International
Film Festival and more! Visit www.mpi
web.org/events for complete details.
Learn much more about the first
three programs in MPI’s Experiential
Event Series during a panel discussion
with leaders from the Miss America
Organization, the Consumer Electronics
Show and South by Southwest at the
World Education Congress, June 11-14
in Atlantic City, N.J.