Today I want to talk about Augmented Reality, and it truly is one of my favourite subjects, mainly because I believe it is going to be massive in our space. Let me just talk about what Augmented Reality is first of all, because many people don’t really understand the term.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality, or AR, is a term used for when we place computer-generated images over the real world. A very popular example of that is the Pokémon Go game, where you get your screen out, you wave it around, and you see these little Pokémon characters applied on top of the real world.
This is very different to something else which some people may know, which is Virtual Reality, or VR. Virtual Reality is where you put a big headset on, and you’re absorbed into a completely different world. Everything is computer-generated. Augmented reality is where we’re putting computer-generated images over the real world.
Augmented Reality In Travel Safety – Training
What has this got to do with Travel Safety? I can see two applications that we can use in Travel Safety, the first being training, and the second being in-the-moment reactions. Let me break those down for you.
In training, if you think about how we do a lot of training, things like situational awareness, we train people in classrooms, or in videos, or in other sorts of environments, but how does it actually tell people what to do if, for example, an attacker was coming towards them, or if a vehicle was travelling towards them, or all the other scenarios we have to deal with inside Travel Safety?
Augmented Reality will allow us to really get the user – the person being trained – into an environment where they can learn how to react and what to do in situations, but also in the real world. Not in a computer-generated simulation, but in the real world. It is extremely powerful.
Augmented Reality In Travel Safety – Situational Awareness
The second part in the training environment is situational awareness. For example, let’s say we’re trying to train a whole bunch of people to travel to another country. One of the things that overwhelms a lot of travellers is airports. What if they could be in an airport, they could experience what to do in an airport, in real time?
It’s about removing all those little elements of interference to help us perform that much better. The second application for me is about in-the-moment examples. Let’s take, for example, a situation where an incident has happened, and you want to give them directions of how to get out of an area or to show them safe zones.
You can do all of this with Augmented Reality. We can direct our people – live – in hotels, in streets, in cities, to help them keep safe. If you don’t think Augmented Reality is going somewhere, you’ve just got to have a look at the people that are backing it.
People like Microsoft, with their Hololens, Apple with the ARKit, and a company called Meta are all investing billions and billions of pounds into AR. It truly is going to be the next generation. People are saying it’s going to be the thing that’s going to replace smartphones.
So here, for us at eTravelSafety, we are keen to develop and embrace AR technologies to be able to help people travel safely.