POSTED ON 12/01/2019

With the experience economy booming and more and more brands realising the importance of forging emotional connections with their customers, the demand for fun and memorable experiences is at an all-time high. While event professionals strive to tantalise our five senses through new and unique methods, it’s important to remember the key role that audio has to play in mastering the perfect immersive experience.

As AV technology continues to advance, guests are becoming more deeply immersed than ever before. Whilst we’ve very much seen a focus on visual technologies such as VR and AR, sound is all too often the unsung hero of an experiential event or exhibition. Event organisers need to remember that sound has just as much influence on the way we interpret the world around us as the things we see and touch. The emotional power of sound has a huge role to play in not only enhancing these brand experiences, but also helping the guests to truly feel them, building that emotional connection.

An excellent example of a brand doing just this was when HSBC turned the 194-metre sky bridge at Gatwick Airport into a sound installation mimicking China's Yangtze river as part of a conservation campaign with the WWF. The installation, created by J Walter Thompson London, enabled travellers to hear the Yangtze as they crossed the bridge, with the sounds changing to reflect the weather in China. The work featured over 100 hours of authentic sounds taken from 35 locations on the river and was transmitted by 160 speakers through 80 channels to immerse travellers in 3D sound.

It's not just the world of events that are embracing this immersive culture. The museum sector is also taking the hint. Where once it was acceptable for visitors to simply file through an exhibition, their expectations have changed and they’re demanding more interaction, more engagement and more emotion. Guests now want to be completely immersed in the atmosphere of the exhibition. By combining cutting-edge technology with historic objects, curators can create unexpected and memorable experiences which leave visitors amazed.

Opera: Passion, Power and Politics, a recent exhibition at the V&A museum, was a great example of this. As visitors were guided from one historic moment to the next, headphones provided a rousing operatic soundtrack, automatically delivering the accompanying music for each section using a high-tech infrared trigger system provided by Tonwelt GmbH. The use of audio, along with other technical elements such lighting and video, helped to bring the objects to life by creating a four-dimensional exhibition experience.

Whilst it’s true that you get what you pay for, you don’t have to splash all your cash to create an immersive soundscape. By planning how and when to use sound and giving careful consideration to how to make the most of the technology, it’s possible to make a real, emotional difference on any budget.

So if you’re busy planning your next project and the word immersive pops up, make sure you get in touch with us to find out how we can utilise the power of sound to help you create an incredible experience.