SINGAPORE - Overseas speakers will be able to go "live" on stage in Singapore, despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, as Marina Bay Sands (MBS) unveiled a new hybrid event broadcast studio with hologram functionalities on Friday (Aug 14).
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 livestreaming 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 remain closed.
MBS vice-president of conventions and exhibitions Ong Wee Min said that while holographic telepresence has been used in the business events industry previously, it 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's players.
A soft launch of the studio was held last month through a webinar event, 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$156.5 million) for the second quarter of this year, after a near-three-month shutdown due to 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 STB.
This would help revive the meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) sector, which ground to a halt in March when all physical business-to-business (B2B) 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 Limited has rented out spaces at some of its properties worldwide to be used as venues for livestreaming events and fitness activities.
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 livestreaming venue.