If our ability to physically visit places has ceased, what stops our minds from experiencing the places we love?
This has been my burning question since March 2020.
I was reminded of this when I watched Andrew Svanberg Hamilton’s “Memories of Australia”.
Besides the visual awe while watching this, I’m sure there were emotions you felt based on the sounds and the subtle movements of the leaves and grass in the film, that transported you back to a time and place that will never leave you. You just needed a small psychological stimulus to remove you from your current place of being.
4 Technologies and Use Cases for the Travel Industry
Andrew transported us to Australia, not because a tourism board ran a great ad and an airline retargeted you around the internet until you bought a plane ticket to fly 8+hours to experience the outback. He utilized technology with a camera and technique called “photogrammetry” using a real-time rendering tool called Unreal Engine.
Another company that really got me onto photogrammetry is Raiz Digital in Spain
2.) AR (Augmented Reality)
Could you experience Nepal in your living room and even make a real difference to the people living in Nepal right now?
This was a question we at QuiverVision asked ourselves in 2015 after the destructive earthquake that took place there. From Tokyo, our team was able to build an experience to share with the world, which allowed people to easily engage with Nepal via their mobile phones inside their own homes. As well, this experience raised funds for the earthquake disaster relief which affected people directly in Nepal.
QuiverVision was instrumental in unlocking my passion and knowledge on all of the possibilities to use extended reality (XR) and it’s uses case for the travel industry.
The second use case of AR technology that the travel industry can implement right now is bringing to life past experiences, which no longer physically existing in actual locations of any destination.
My favorite current example of this is from a company in Belfast, Ireland called Yellow Design, which brings to life the Titanic right before your very eyes!
Lastly, a quick shout out to Justin Copenhaver of Urality, who is in the process of building smarter communities through technology and the also embracing AR to do so.
3.) Mobile Phone Tours or “Quests”
What would we do without Google Maps? I mean really, can you imagine navigating around a new destination right now without it? Be honest with yourself, probably not.
Oh yes, Google also is embracing AR to help with real-world navigation, as well as the good folks at Yellow Design whom I mentioned above.
Questo helps you discover new places around the world while finding out their hidden stories.
One company that is building on this concept and taking it even further is Questo, based out of Romania.
The Questo app empowers people to become storytellers of their local city and also allows visitors to experience self-guided walking tours from their mobile phones.
You would think that this current COVID situation would put a damper on a tour company, but in fact, this has proven to be beneficial for Questo.
Questo CEO, Alex Govoreanu and his team are currently working with over 60 cities worldwide now and continue to persevere despite the current limitations to physical cross-border travel.
And lastly, the elephant in the room — streaming video, webinars, online events and concerts.
Over 60% of Millennials and Gen Z consumers stream video daily (Deloitte)
If you haven’t attended an online communal session yet, you’re probably stuck in 2019. Yes, ‘virtual’ gatherings are now the norm and there’s no reason why they can’t stick around much longer.
Not only are people going live on instantaneously on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and now Linkedin, but the ability to gather people at a specific time and even have them pay to attend your online gathering. We gave this new approach a try back in June using new streaming platform Zaiko, which featured artists and musicians collaborating between Ireland and Japan.
And why stop at just one platform when you can stream simultaneously on multiple platforms using technology such as Restream. A great example of this done by Joy Jarman-Walsh, who has a daily line up of guests that she broadcasts.
Check out an example of one of Joy’s episode’s with Japan Travel K.K.’s Sébastien Duval.
Travel is dead they say. Is it?
Yes, I too am longing to explore, dream, and discover just as much as anyone. In fact, I’ll be the fist to admit, I can’t wait to disconnect from my computer and venture out into nature, go camping, meet someone unexpected, and volunteer once again.
But let’s not ignore the opportunity and the reality we live in now. Even before COVID hit, technologies were woven into our lives and our travel experiences already and that is not going away. Digital experiences do not replace actual physical experiences, but they do enhance them and can supplement them whenever not accessible.
Now, more than ever, technology gives us the ability to connect with one another as well as the places we all love to visit and explore.
This article is dedicated to all of the people and places I have connected with during the COVID lockdown, including the people listed in this article.