Harnessing Augmented Reality for Scottish Digital Tourism

Futuristic technologies like Augmented Reality can be applied in a practical way to boost success for Scottish businesses. Tourism is a great example.

Enhancing the experience with these types of exciting innovations will draw in even greater visitor numbers and continue the massive economic success of this industry.

This Conversation article comments on the details of this economic success and the critical role immersive experiences can play in facilitating this boost.

Simple examples include AR tourism guides, such as this one for Inverness Castle, and for Loch Lomond they inserted ‘Zapcodes’ into the local guide magazine, to trigger AR links that enhance the printed word with a virtual experience. You can discover Fife and discover the Highlands via AR.

Smartify

Another great example is described in this recent news, about Blair Castle adopting the Smartify app. Via easy-to-use interfaces and well designed technology available as a native and web app, the Smartify guide allows visitors to follow their own interests and curated tours, with additional features such as e-commerce, targeted push notifications and donations.

Other Scottish venues adopting Smartify include the National Galleries of Scotland. The Smartify case study explains how the venue employed the app for their Ray Harryhausen exhibition, to offer visitors a fun (and COVID-safe) experience on site, as well as access from home.

With Smartify already used by the museum across the permanent collection, staff were keen to use the platform to deliver an audio tour safely to visitors’ own smartphones without the need for rented devices or touch screens. They also wanted to provide teaser content and came up with the idea of re-animating one of Harryhausen’s famous skeletons from Clash of the Titans in Augmented Reality.

They worked with Scottish animation agency Playdead to develop an AR animation of the famous skeletons from Clash of the Titans. Visitors on site could scan the original skeleton model and watch it come to life again, while audiences at home could also play with the AR animation.

Virtual Treasure Hunts

For more advanced and engaging experience the technology can be combined with features like ‘Gamification’, to enable super fun activities like Virtual Treasure Hunts. As the Conversation article highlights:

“It’s the sort of immersive experience that many tourist attractions want to have these days. At the Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire, dedicated to Robert Burns, visitors can download an app aimed at children called the Mighty Mission Trail. It sends them on a virtual treasure hunt throughout the site and surroundings.”

This highlights the other types of technologies that can be called into play. For example Google Maps Gaming provides a capability for making more use of location data in mobile games, the Pokemon Go type, that can ‘can unlock augmented reality and social gameplay, can increase engagement and retention, and can help bring new life to games that were originally designed without a location component.’

This is complimented by their general capabilities for improving navigation, such as AR Navigation and harnessing AI for Global Navigation, helping you to better navigate cities.

These various innovations provide the building blocks for creating any type of highly immersive, highly engaging experience, that better enables visitors to explore and enjoy attractions, with the ability to ‘gamify’ the experience of particular value for those looking to attract children and young families.

In general this barely scratches the surface of the staggering scale of opportunity this technology trend offers Scotland. From Oil & Gas through Telemedicine and Digital Tourism, Augmented Reality can enable a myriad of transformative industry solutions, each with valuable local application and also huge global export potential.

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