Published on : Thursday, April 2, 2020
Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona attracted more than 100,000 technologists to the European city, and while the show was forced to cancel this year due to outbreak of deaddl;y coronavirus, Barcelona’s spirit of innovation certainly hasn’t been lost in 2020.
This year, local telecom Telefónica, Mediapro Group, and Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) collaborated in one of the very first 5G AR (augmented reality) projects, which is set to give the tourism industry a taste of the city’s new digital pulse.
Running as a pilot program, the tourists on the tour bus were treated to an immersive experience in which digital content is projected onto the front window of the vehicle, superimposed on the landmarks and landscape while touring.
The 5G Augmented Tourism pilot integrates 5G data and location service capabilities to power an atypically-wide AR display where digital content appears.
In contrast with the current market, where AR development is focused on lighter and smaller screens, such as headsets or smartphone screens, equipping the tour bus with a large screen while allowing passengers to freely move, provides a collective and immersive experience.
The customers can also interact with the touchscreen display for more information on attractions and monuments – the technology offers and alternative to traditional audio tapes or tour guides.
The pilot program may demonstrate the power of AR in the tourism industry with new experiences and technologies becoming crucial to rejuvenate the industry when widespread travel restrictions are eventually lifted.
Arturo Azcorra, Director of IMDEA Networks said that 5G network will transform tourism by giving us almost unlimited real-time access to communications, data and computation services
Due to 5G’s light speed and low latency capabilities, data-heavy technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), extended reality (XR) technologies, cloud, and edge computing rely on the wireless network to unleash its full potentials.
Recognizing the rapidly essential role of 5G in bolstering tourism, the United Kingdom has also kicked started a 5G Smart Tourism project in the West of England. In connection with the United Kingdom’s push to roll out 5G services nationwide, tourism is one of the industries that is set to profit. In the report, visitors contribute up to £2 billion (US$2.48 billion) to the region. While the project is focused on establishing robust and secure 5G infrastructure, its uses cases in tourism aim to provide “compelling experiences that add value to high-quality destinations, enhanced visitor safety, and wide awareness of 5G benefits,” as stated in the report.