Singapore Tourism Goes Digital: Local Experts Develop AR Attractions
The combination of artificial intelligence with augmented reality should help make tourist routes more interesting and attractive.
Singapore attracts millions of tourists every year, but lags far behind other Asian destinations like Malaysia, Indonesia or Japan. Part of the problem lies in the limited space for building new attractions – the whole country is located on a small island. Therefore, the Singapore Tourism Board decided to create digital projects to attract foreign visitors and their wallets.
As Wong Ming Fai, CTO of the Singapore Tourism Board, said at yesterday’s developer conference, the wide availability of no-code development tools has enabled the rapid creation of augmented reality projects applicable to the tourism industry.
“We see that in popular applications like Google Maps, these features are already implemented out of the box. As soon as AR“glasses will become a mass phenomenon, such experiences will be used even more actively,” Wong said.
One of the Council’s projects, available since May of this year, is a partnership with Google. An innovative development projects cartoon musicians onto the building of the Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore when viewed through a phone.
Frame from official presentation new project
The main difficulty in overlaying characters on a building, according to Wong, was the precise positioning of the user so that the characters did not appear to be floating in the air. However, this was also solved with the help of GPS technology.
The specialists responsible for the implementation of the project used API visual positioning Google. The environment scan is compared in real time with the Google Street View database of street panoramas and produces a clearly positioned image.
Wong acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done by local experts to complete this installation and create several new ones, but a start has definitely been made.
A separate question, which is rightly asked by the sponsors of this project: “Is the game worth the candle?”. Can visuals on a phone really attract overseas tourists? So far, unlikely, but they can definitely improve their experience of visiting the country.
One of the other interesting augmented reality experiences currently being implemented in Singapore is the Battle of Fort Siloso. This is a World War II themed AR video game set in a historic location. During the game, the user can walk in any direction in the territory of Siloso Fort, shoot planes with their eyes, and complete various missions.
Wong specifically noted the role of the ubiquitous artificial intelligence in the implementation of this kind of AR projects. “We need to program the realistic behavior of non-player characters – soldiers and aircraft, so that they do not follow a fixed scenario, but react to user actions,” explained the technical director.
“This platform allows us to define objects in a scene. What the object can do is set rewards, targets, and penalties, and then run many parallel trials. We just train the system and then deploy the trained model,” Wong explained.
The Singapore Tourism Board hopes that industry representatives can be inspired by these technologies and create similar projects of their own. To do this, the organization provided the necessary library of tools.