Speakers who are overseas will be able to go "live" on stage in Singapore despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, after Marina Bay Sands (MBS) unveiled a new hybrid event broadcast studio with hologram functionalities yesterday.
Located at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, the state-of-the-art studio is able to beam someone onto its stage remotely through a holographic presence with real-time movements.
The presenter will even be able to pace the stage just like he would in real life, as long as he stays in his camera's frame.
The studio, which has broadcast-quality live-streaming capabilities, can also accommodate a live audience of up to 50 people to host meetings in a hybrid format.
With the launch of this high-tech studio, MBS can now host events even as Covid-19 restrictions remain and its convention facilities stay closed.
MBS' vice-president of conventions and exhibitions Ong Wee Min said that while holographic telepresence has been used in the business events industry, this is the first time the technology is being used in such a set-up.
Calling the high-tech studio a "showstopper" for the industry, he added: "The set-up has the ability to combine augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality, as we continue to enhance our hybrid broadcast studio capabilities.
"These holographic functionalities will provide clients with countless opportunities to wow their communities through immersive content delivered in a bold and captivating manner," said Mr Ong.
The centrepiece in MBS' studio is a three-dimensional stage where the conventional green screen backdrop is replaced with two 6m by 4m right-angled LED walls. These can show high-resolution 360-degree visuals and are complemented by a plexiglass LED floor that can display floor projections.
These, along with the stage lighting system, can be reconfigured and customised to suit the needs of different events.
The set-up of the stage is designed to provide presenters with a better perspective of their surroundings by helping them to visualise and deliver their presentations in a more immersive environment.
It was designed and built after months of collaboration among in-house and external technical experts, as well as other industry players.
The set-up has the ability to combine augmented reality, virtual reality and extended reality, as we continue to enhance our hybrid broadcast studio capabilities. These holographic functionalities will provide clients with countless opportunities to wow their communities through immersive content delivered in a bold and captivating manner.
MR ONG WEE MIN, vice-president of conventions and exhibitions at Marina Bay Sands.
A soft launch of the studio was held last month through a webinar, where a remotely located presenter was beamed onto the set alongside two in-person presenters to a virtual audience.
Last month, MBS reported a loss of US$113 million (S$155 million) for the second quarter, after a shutdown of nearly three months because of the pandemic.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) previously announced it will trial two business events in August and September, each with attendance of up to 50 people on site and others virtually.
This hybrid format of face-to-face and virtual interactions could pave the way for more of such events to be held here if successful, said the STB.
This would help revive the meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions sector, which ground to a halt in March when all physical business-to-business events were put on hold as part of measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides MBS, a number of companies have also adapted their spaces for event use in the face of Covid-19 restrictions.
For instance, CapitaLand's wholly owned lodging business unit The Ascott has rented out spaces at some of its properties worldwide to be used as venues for live-streaming and fitness events.
In June, nightclub Zouk inked a deal with e-commerce site Lazada to rent out its 31,000 sq ft Clarke Quay club as a live-streaming venue.