Augmented Reality has a certain futuristic ring to the name. But it’s already in use on multiple industries: construction, education and architecture for example. The AR industry is developing and changing constantly as new breakthroughs and innovations surface. We now can also provide security and sustainability to heritage sites with AR – the innovations allow us to develop new wave experiences virtually.

In Pori, HTHIC provided an interesting take on gamification and using it as a driving force in tourism. It promotes more customer engagement and happiness in visitors. The flow of experience is a important factor when it comes to combining AR and Tourism. Studies have shown that immersion and storyteling are the two most crucial factors when Tourism and AR is combined – the overall experience is all about immersing yourself within the story of the game/experience. But developers and tourism leaders should undertand that virtual experiences cannot replace the actual experiences in real life (atleast not yet). When making the decisions, companies must choose carefully their techonology and the devices they want to use. Each device type has it’s own perk. One of the key challenges in Tourism and AR experiences is how we, as tourism experts, solve the problem of short attention span? Our younger generations have no patience for slow-built experiences or events as they want to have them here, now and on their terms. This might be a puzzle to solve for us future professionals.

But in general, combining Tourism and AR can produce really great innovations to preserve our heritage with modern technology. We should embrace it, develop it and strategize our intentions with it so we can utilize it as much as we can. Bringing forth the heritage conservation and museum designing in Pori, the AR really has some interesting perks over current come-and-see-style of museums and visits. AR can transform the industry to be more driven by heritage sites by re-creating actual events with virtual technology.

In our Suomi 100-workshop, we focused on creating a future’s museum in 2040. The theme was to think how it would be different in 23 years from now. Photo: Eetu Ollikainen

I keep new technologies in high regard, and I wish mankind would push more investments and resources to develop better devices, but also focusing on how we can preserve our valued cultural heritage sites, traditions and the old ways of living? The session in Pori for me raised more questions than it answered, but it’s a great thing to critically think about what the future holds for us as humans, and how we honor and preserve our own heritage regardless of races and countries.