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How Augmented Reality Will Improve Your Next Travel Experience

Not too long ago Pokémon GO sent people to the streets to capture collectible characters, with many real live locations serving as Pokéspots for players to visit. This is just one example of how augmented reality (AR) can change the way we interact with our urban environment, our cities and the physical world around us. AR is going to have an inevitable impact on the future of the travel and hospitality industries. Already, AR is used to both enrich and simplify your travel experience by impacting where you stay, how you travel, what you eat, and how you enjoy different attractions.

© MARS Storytelling

Traveling is much about exploring new places, sightseeing, and appreciating what the destination has to offer. AR can enhance these experiences in various ways. For example, MARS Storytelling, makes historical sites and visitor centers come alive with personalized AR experiences, making the visit more engaging. Berlin-based Zaubar enables city tours powered by AR that immerse you in 3D learning experiences about a city’s past and present. Asbury Park in New Jersey also offers its own unique and free-of-charge AR tour that reconstructs key historic landmarks in AR on the Asbury Park boardwalk.

© Zaubar UG

Boulevard and MuseoPic help museums create immersive and interactive art, architecture, and historical experiences with AR, while a number of museums have their own AR apps to showcase their exhibitions and better engage their patrons. The Smithsonian’s National History Museum in Washington, D.C. is embracing AR for skeletons in the museum’s Bone Hall. Users can download the Skin & Bones app and use their smartphone to recreate animals based on the skeletal structure. The American Museum of Natural History in New York also launched its own Explorer app with AR functionality.

© Smithsonian Institution


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Once you’ve decided on the destination you want to visit, AR can also help you better navigate in your city of choice. Google Lens and Google Translate both allow you to scan and translate street signs, maps and guides (and even menus!) in real-time and provide an augmented reality overlay of the translation in tens of languages. Google Maps also uses AR to make navigation more convenient, by placing big virtual signs on top of real-world roads to show you exactly where to go. Moovit, offers a similar AR feature in its navigation app. This way, it is hard to get lost in a foreign city.

© Google, Inc.

AR can also guarantee that your your next trip will be more enjoyable and more memorable. Snapchat’s Landmarker provides for unique AR experiences at selected locations around the world. AR can also be used to display helpful information when travelers scan their surroundings as well as recommendations for the best places to visit and dine in. Never worry again about ordering from a menu in a foreign language. AR can be used to translate menus and even add digital content such as 3D images and nutrition and allergy information for the benefit of hungry travelers.

© Snap Inc.

Augmented reality technology has great prospects in the hospitality and travel industries and we can’t want to see how it improves our next travel experience. Check out the inspiration page on the echoAR platform for more great examples of AR apps that developers are building for navigation and travel by using echoAR.

echoAR (http://www.echoAR.xyz; Techstars ’19) is a cloud platform for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that provides tools and server-side infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy AR/VR apps and experiences.