The deadly coronavirus pandemic might have crippled the world but one thing it has promoted is the human capacity for resilience. Faced with the need to comply with social distancing and mask-wearing norms and safety procedures to prevent the virus from spreading further, people around the world are reshaping the way they live, work and celebrate. With remote work becoming the new normal, businesses are finding newer immersive ways to engage with consumers. New technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are being explored in the realms of travel. Festivities and celebrations have also moved online.
From concerts to festivals, the blueprint is constantly evolving. Take the case of the One World: Together At Home virtual concert featuring some of the most globally recognized and beloved artists such as Billie Eilish, John Legend, Taylor Swift, Little Mix, Elton John. The aim of this virtual music festival was to encourage social distancing while the life-threatening coronavirus was ravaging the world. Not only did the event garner 270 million views and a whopping $127m for the WHO solidarity fund but also served as a much-needed distraction from the dangers the isolation posed to mental health during the lockdown.
Closer home, brands are adapting virtual technology and moving celebrations and festivities to the online realm. The recent Durga Puja saw interactive celebrations on different digital platforms aligned with COVID-19 protocols. A plethora of virtual events such as virtual pandal hopping, online rituals like digital aartis, home delivery of ‘bhog’ were adopted. Diwali saw internet companies such as Google create a new Augmented Reality experience that allowed people to decorate their spaces virtually with diyas, detonate virtual anar (firecrackers), and even watch sparkles online. The Uttar Pradesh state government also organized virtual lighting of lamps and diyas through a web portal.
While virtual events might not have the same connect or spontaneity that real-life, in-person events do, there is no doubt that they are convenient, have greater reach and are here to stay. Would you like to tell us about a virtual event that you attended that struck a chord? Write to us, we’d love to hear from you.