VIRTUAL REALITY (VR): “TRY BEFORE YOU BUY”
The VR is an immersive reality which simulates the actual reality. It is computer-generated and it can potentially involve all the senses, even if most of the times it only considers the sight and the hearing, to virtually create a spatial environment in which it is possible to interact with objects.
Its application has become more and more common in the tourism industry, following the desire of the customers for experiences. By simulating the reality, it allows to have a taste of the real experience.
For example, it is possible to have a virtual tour of a Hotel, allowing potential customers to experience what the hotel looks like before they arrive, offering more transparency than standard images. Sometimes they consist in a simple 360-degree image, also compatible with social media platforms.
Watch these videos on hotel virtual tours: https://www.revfine.com/vr-hotel-tour/
Another application for VR is the simulation of travel experiences. It allows the users to experiment in advance a bit of the main attractions they would visit for real during their trip.
Watch this video to get some ideas about VR tour experiences
The both uses of VR can bring benefits enabling experiences that could lead to sell rooms, flights and travel products.
AUGMENTED REALITY (AR): DO YOU REMEMBER “POKEMON GO”?
Augmented reality, or AR, is a digital technology that differs from the VR because it doesn’t simulate the actual reality but changes one’s perception about the surrounding environment through the use of a device, which can be a smartphone or a tablet or other similar devices.
It augments reality because it overlays digital components on what it is actually visible, adding information about the view.
It enhances the physical environments to encourage customers to visit a destination or a specific site or a facility.
The flow of information needed by customers before the travel does not stop when they arrive.
AR can ensure much of this information, always available when requested.
AUGMENTED REALITY AND TOURISM EXPERIENCES
AR enables the location-based information of real-world objects to be explored, thanks to the contextual visualization on the screen, with the same viewpoint as the user.
With an AR-enabled mobile device supported by an app, a software installed on a smartphone, it is possible to easily access additional information about a Point of Interest (POI).
Location-based services can change the way people experience their surroundings, and, unlike the use of simple maps, AR allows a continuum with the surroundings without the need to pay attention to the screen.
The use of mobile devices equipped with built-in cameras, global positioning systems (GPS) sensors and internet connection offers the opportunity to provide location-based services that facilitate the fruition of the destination, enabling a new manner of experiencing a place, accessing to relevant contents related to the context.
Through the access to interactive information, customers can easily visit unfamiliar places, even if they have little prior knowledge about the place.
APPLICATION OF AR/VR/MR (VR + AR) IN VISITING POIs 1/2
The application of ICT is often related to the willingness to transform heritage from the domain of specialists to that of a wider public.
It is, for sure, a way for boosting the economic development of local communities and regions, by strengthening cultural identity and cross-cultural communication.
The apps produced help in collecting and processing historical data, for documenting and monitoring the conservation of objects and monuments, and for creating interactive information networks that can link professionals and scholars with students, museum-goers, and anyone interested in cultural heritage.
APPLICATION OF AR/VR/MR (VR + AR) IN VISITING POIs 2/2
These technologies, very useful for Cultural Heritage, can also be applied to the tourism experience in general, both indoor and outdoor.
They can provide contents and new tools for interaction/fruition of the POIs, such as the 3D tool, remote touch interaction, the both useful in digital reconstruction purposes, 360° tool, HD visualisation, gamification…
AR/VR/MR can be applied for:
- Exhibition enhancement: it improves the visitor experience at physical museums and heritage sites
- Reconstruction: it enables users to visualise and interact with reconstructed historical views of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and their details. This is also useful for conservative purposes, by using mapping and drone techniques to enable 3D reconstruction to preserve the memory of places that suffer from degradation
- Education: it enables users to learn the historical aspects of tangible and intangible CH (e.g.: digital library)
- Exploration: on one hand, through the use of location-based AR applications, it enhances accessibility and helps in finding the POI avoiding the use of maps, providing contextual information about it; on the other hand, through the use of beacons (bluetooth low energy – ble – technology) it is also possible to receive feedbacks and statistics from and about the users
- Virtual museum: it simulates and presents tangible and intangible CH in digital museum form to the public, through an immersive virtual visualization of reconstruction
THE CONCEPT OF SENSEABLE SPACES
Our continuous interaction through mobile devices with the world around led to the concept of “senseable spaces” which can be defined as spaces able to provide users with contextual services, to measure and analyse their dynamics and to react accordingly, in a seamless exchange of information.
From the application of this kind of technologies, it is possible to analyse the consumers’ behaviour.
- Through AR apps it is possible to run an eye tracking analysis which allows to better organise and select the place-related-contents, cluster the users and personalize the contents according to them
- Measure the time spent on the app, to improve it
- Measure the performance of the technological tools used during the experience
- Tracking the users’ path in open spaces and see statistics about POIs and visitors’ behaviour to cluster them according to their visit habits