Healthcare AR and VR expert joins panel

 

Dr. David Trainor, Founder and Principal of Sentireal, develops software apps that turn mobile and wearable devices into personalised guides. These guides deliver educational and training content using augmented and virtual reality. David’s interests focus on the use of AR and VR in scientific education and particularly in healthcare-related training. He has been involved in the creation of associated technologies to train healthcare professionals and also to promote better self-management skills for people suffering from a variety of long-term health conditions. By exploring new ways to create increasingly personalised and contextual AR and VR experiences, David has been working extensively at combining the content presentation capabilities of AR and VR with other cutting-edge technologies such as data analytics and machine learning. He is also an active participant in a number of industry groups and engineering standards bodies relating to healthcare and educational technologies.

Global VR and Built Environment Expert announced for ARVR Conference Dublin April 28

Jennifer Whyte_web

We’re delighted to announce that Professor Jennifer Whyte will be joining our conference panel on AR and VR in Real Estate and Construction. Professor Whyte  is Laing O’Rourke / Royal Academy of Engineering Professor of System Integration in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Imperial College London, and Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation. She wrote the book “Virtual Reality in the Built Environment” (Architectural Press/Elsevier) and is currently working on the second edition with a co-author, Dr Dragana Nikolic. Before moving to Imperial, Jennifer’s team developed a 3D Mobile Visualization Environment (3D-MOVE). This has been used in design reviews on the Crossrail project, through their ‘Innovate 18’ programme. This involved studying engineers and managers use of multi-user collaborative VR on this large infrastructure project.

Tourism/Hospitality spotlight at ARVR Conference; April 28th at Croke Park

The tourism and hospitality area is one that offers rich potential for the deployment of augmented and virtual reality technologies. Recently Fáilte Ireland showcased Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way product at the ITB Tourism Fair in Berlin, where users were able to ‘virtually’ explore some of the route’s more iconic landmarks. In the UK, Thomas Cook have recently announced that visitors to their retail outlets will be given the option to use wearable devices which can showcase their entire product portfolio. And Visit Belfast have just launched a VR tour of the city. In the museum sector augmented reality has been used very successfully in the Smithsonian museum in Washington.

At this year’s conference there will be a panel discussion on this sector. Among those participating is Stephen Williams from Winward Management. Stephen was a recent recipient of the ‘Top 20 minds in hospitality marketing’ at the HSMAI Europe conference. Stephen is acknowledged as a leader in deployment of new technologies in the sector, including augmented reality and beacons. Irish company iTagged will also be showcasing some of their technology – their tagging based system of augmented reality is one that has been used by tourists to create numerous crowd-sourced augmented reality tours.

AREA partners with ARVR Innovate Conference

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We’re delighted to announce that AREA  will be a partner for the ARVR Innovate conference. The Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA) is the only global non-profit, member-based organization dedicated to widespread adoption of interoperable AR-enabled enterprise systems. Among the founding members of AREA are conference headline sponsors DAQRI. Exclusively to AREA members, a discount will be offered to all participants in the Expo, and also for delegate attendance. More details HERE.

Augmented Reality and Hospitality

One of today’s hottest technology trends is the use of augmented and virtual reality. Recent news of impending product launches by Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Sony have propelled interest. Firstly, let’s understand what’s meant by the terminology. Augmented Reality ( AR ) involves overlaying digital information on the real-world view of people. This can be achieved using an app on a mobile phone or tablet, or using a special pair of glasses. Users look through their screens to see an overlay of digital information – this can be in various formats; text, video, audio or 3D animations. Sony have just announced the upcoming launch of a pair of AR glasses, and of course Google Glass has been around for a couple of years now in developer format. While it has been withdrawn from general sales, the plan is to completely redesign it for a later consumer launch.

There are numerous ways that this technology can be used in the hospitality sector. For example the check-in experience of guests could be improved by developing or incorporating an app which could allow guests to find their rooms easily by simply following an overlay set of arrows on their phone display. The same app would allow all print material to be instantly translated – Google have already developed WordLens to allow this – a big bonus for international visitors when reading the menus for example. But it’s not just text that can be displayed. Artwork in high end hotels could be viewed through an AR app, allowing guests to see video overlays of the artist interpreting their work. The use of GPS in smartphones also allows exciting opportunities for overlaying information in real-time and location specific. Hotels, in cooperation with tourism authorities, can help to create interactive tours of destinations.

Tourists can get overlay information on the attractions and street-scape in a myriad of languages. This is attractive from a heritage preservation perspective – no need to put distracting signage that may not be in harmony with the surroundings. As well as enhancing the guest experience, AR technology will have a big impact on hotel operations. One area that is particularly promising is training. Already some companies are prototyping AR to help in areas such as menu preparation and table service. Trainees wearing a set of AR enabled glasses, can match their table settings perfectly with the designated table layout which is overlaid in their field of view, or follow a set of instructions for guest registration in similar fashion. AR is also making huge strides in architecture. Developers will be able to ‘see’ hotel buildings in-situ on construction sites, and virtually travel through the proposed space – already Scottish company Soluis have used this technology to help the designers of the new Radisson Red hotel brand visualize the layout of the bars and meeting spaces.

Radisson Red

Radisson Red

 

And of course AR has huge potential in marketing. Brochures that are distributed can come to life in 3D for respondents – this year P+O Cruises have incorporated the technology in their direct mail pieces. AR can be used to create opportunities for social sharing – a vital part of any hotel’s marketing strategy these days. In a recent campaign in the US, Best Western guests were able to point the hotel’s app’s viewfinder at specially-marked lobby standees to make them come alive with characters from Disney Channel’s highly-anticipated Teen Beach Movie. Virtual Reality ( VR ) is the cousin of AR. While it’s been around for several decades, and is familiar to anyone with an X-Box or Playstation, innovations in wearable devices are set to power charge VR outside the realm of the gaming sector. While AR allows the user to remain connected to the real-world, VR essentially submerges users in a virtual space. The technology has received a huge boost in the form of Oculus Rift, a VR device company which was acquired by Facebook for $2bn. The Rift headset covers users eyes completely and that’s where the fun starts. Already users of the developer version have been able to enjoy a myriad of virtual experiences. The tourism and hospitality potential is huge. Imagine being able to peer over the Europe’s tallest cliffs  and maybe abseil down them – perfectly possible with this technology. Or get a real sense of what it would be like to drive along part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way…no wonder tourism authorities are excited at the opportunity the technology allows them to showcase their destinations in a more immersive way – expect to see this technology become commonplace at tourism fairs and showcases in the next few years.

mariott's-teleporter

Mariott’s Teleporter

And hotels are getting in on the act too. Marriott Hotels recently launched a consumer PR  promotion in New York targeting honeymooners, where they set up an Oculus Rift kiosk outside a marriage registry office. The happy couples who emerged were invited to try on the Rift, and got the chance to walk around the lobby of one of the chain’s London hotel, or to experience a beach-front walk on one of their Hawaii properties. While there have been a few false dawns for AR and VR technologies, it’s clear that now is the time for hoteliers and restauranteurs to find out how they can get a competitive edge.