GUEST COLUMN: Viktor Plass, AV Media, on experience zones

Viktor Plass, segment leader from system integrator AV Media looks at experience zones and their transformation into hybrid experience HUBs.

Experience Zones (EZs), areas formerly known as ‘showrooms’ will become a part of any business, whether you’re a manufacturer or a sales company. Covid-19 has made many companies review how they communicate to clients and are facing the key question of how their communication campaigns should be modified to internal resources and employees. Many new platforms have emerged, remote communications have grown significantly, hybrid meeting concepts have accelerated, and some entities strive to communicate efficiently through virtual studios.

When analysing the needs of our clients we are faced with a disparity of individual communication concepts, unclear objectives and expectations, as well as the hard separation of tools and methods for internal and external communication. We, as AV/IT UX designers, strive to help our clients find a more compact platform that would allow for the integration of internal and external communications into one body, and provide order, direction, and strategy. I am talking about the re-incarnation of Experience Zones and their transformation into a central communication tool - Hybrid Experience HUB (E-HUB).

Let’s dream and imagine an ideal E-HUB. What would be the roles it should fulfil? What would be the way to design it and what rules should it follow? What is our role as AV/IT integrators in the designing phase? An E-HUB should not be a showroom for products and services. Let us imagine the E-HUB concept as a well-made movie. A film with a strong script, leading the viewers exactly to where the movie makers want them. It has an emotional curve, it is a movie that takes us into the story right away and those immersed know immediately if it is a comedy, drama or love story.

It presents the feature characters in emotional plains and makes you identify with the character and the story. The story pulls you into its contents and emotions and the stunning finale does not leave a dry eye in the house. A well-designed E-HUB should be able to make the same impression.

When designing an E-HUB, a space should be understood as a consolidated, continual story, not as a topic or product-separated area. Similarly, to a movie, the script of a space is set up first, while schemes in the study phase define emotions and mood.

Facts, objectives and expectations should be defined. A team of XD/UX designers make efforts to create a design that, in terms of scenography and audio visuals, precisely grasp the client’s product or service and transpose it into the story line. The feeling of ‘being part of the story’ is essential. What happened to our role? We are not just AV integrators any more but together with our clients, we are now the co-creators of a strong concept with a personal emotional bond. I personally enjoy this aspect very much.

Management methods, IoT, facial recognition, precise script and scenography allow for making impression that such E-HUB space is alive, responds and accommodates to its visitor. Environment is the first thing to prompt a visitor to interact.

Emotions, stories, belongingness, identification, trust, stability - these are the words that each EZ should evoke and I personally believe that, especially at present, Hybrid E-HUBS will play a very significant role in communications

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