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The Technology is here

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‘The holographic technology is here. The magic is real. The possibilities are endless.’  

Larry O’Reilly, CEO & Director, ARHT Media Inc.


Opening the 61st ICCA Congress in Kraków, and marking the first in-person global gathering since pre-pandemic, ICCA needed to make a statement. We wanted to show delegates who had negotiated budget constraints, the spectre of COVID, and war in neighbouring Ukraine, something different. Something that encapsulated - instantaneously - what ICCA 2022 was all about: Sustainability; Legacy; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Business Focus. We needed something that brought the concepts and ambition of congress to life, and symbolized the resilience our industry displayed through pandemic times by showcasing how smart, agile and quick to adapt we are. How was it possible to say so much in one immediate and impactful way? The answer: put a highly respected industry entrepreneur on stage… but via state-of-the-art holographic technology.

If ever there was a statement of intent about what was driving a major international event like the 61st ICCA Congress, then Rafat Ali’s (Founder and CEO of Skift) opening keynote speech, ‘The Great Merging: How Travel Is Being Structurally Reshaped Post Pandemic’ - and facilitated by ARHT Media - was it. The content was compelling. But just part of the story. How it was delivered visually, conceptually, actually… was key. An empty stage, a mysterious box, and then Rafat, full of calm wisdom, talking eloquently and openly about what might be coming our way. He looked like he’d been beamed in from the future. But he hadn’t. He was with us in fully realised - and very exciting - live holographic form, all the way from New York City. Rafat’s opening keynote, and the way it was presented, setting down a marker for how future events might occur.

With a pillar displaying ‘Sustainability’ flanking the Kraków stage, the obvious use of holographic technology seemed apparent to all in the auditorium. Technology reduces the physical toll and carbon footprint of bringing speakers from across the world and into a venue. This is a major reason why holographic technology has advanced so quickly; it is meeting the urgent needs of addressing global sustainability goals. But to use sustainability as the sole reason to advocate hologram use, underestimates the power of this remarkable medium, and diminishes the ways human beings interact. The pandemic geared our brains to hybrid and virtual meetings, but it also reiterated a fundamental human truth: people miss being with people. So, the big learn since we stepped back from lockdown is: holographic technology doesn’t replace people, it actually enhances the experiential nature people can enjoy together. Holographic technology opens the possibilities of more speakers, greater audience interaction, and a better and more complete experience. In other words, the toy box just got a whole lot bigger. And the stories we can create, a whole lot more exciting.

The speed of holographic development in the last 10 years is remarkable. For something once considered rigid and difficult to accommodate, hologram technology is now deemed agile, bespoke, and very user-friendly. Since 2014 ARHT has been a global leader in this field. They have constantly innovated and developed hardware and software solutions, bringing incredible technology to more organisations in more countries every year. They call it holospace. Kraków was an opportunity to showcase it to the ICCA community.

ARHT is keen to point out the magnitude of what can be achieved. It is now possible to deploy capsules for multi-person display, building immediacy and interaction with a range of experts, speakers, and contributors, that might otherwise be logistically challenging. And prohibitively expensive. Event organisers can raise the quality of content which in turn, makes the event more attractive to delegates. Many venues are even looking at permanent hologram installation, so they have an ‘open seat’ available for the right voice at the right time. Except it isn’t a seat. It’s a life-size moving, talking virtual presence, able to interact with fellow speakers and more importantly, the audience itself. Add the possibilities of on-site capture studios, and the smart venues are stepping into a whole new world where the virtual and the actual blend into one.

As well as being at the forefront of this new technology, ARHT is also keen to stress how easy it is to use holographic technology at an event. But like everything else: it comes down to the brief. ARHT use six simple questions to help determine what type of experience – and impact - the customer hopes to achieve. Questions such as: venue conditions (room size, audience numbers); type of content (live, animated, hybrid); access to content creators (in-house, external partners); availability and level of technical support (on-site, additional crew); transmission locations (one or multi-location); set-up time (temporary, restricted or permanent access). Every brief is treated as unique. And every brief is achievable because the most important question of all guides ARHT’s solution proposition: how should the audience feel about what they are experiencing?

In recent months, ICCA, and our industry as a whole, has spoken much of the metaverse and how the nature of events is changing. Perhaps there is no in-person, hybrid, or virtual separation after all? Perhaps everything is about the experiential. Seeing someone from the other side of the world appear and interact in real time, as if by magic, is to be part of holospace itself. And in holospace, as Ellen Van de Woestijne (VP, Strategic development EMEA, ARHT Media Inc.) says: Anything can happen. And we know this because we’ve coded it into existence.’


For more details about ARHT Media – the be there anywhere global presence – and how holographic technology could revolutionise your next event experience, visit


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