In the “Digital Innovation Hub West”, a project to support and assist Austrian SMEs in the process of digitalization and innovation, enterprises have the opportunity to learn and work together with a number of project partners, including universities or research departments. As a result, knowledge can be transferred in a variety of fields – for example in robotics and artificial intelligence, industrial security or eTourism – just to name a few.
Focusing on tourism, one area of attention within the project where we are partnering, is virtual reality. Regardless of the type of SME, whether hotel or tourism destination, whether ski area, museum or theme park, VR has the potential to create unforgettable experiences and memories for guests and customers.
When linking VR to tourism, some people might see VR as a tool to visit hotels, destinations or attractions before physically traveling to a specific location. Although this is an option and might be useful in the planning process of a vacation, VR can also be much more than that.
For example, let’s have a look at the American Museum of Natural History. One special exhibition introduces visitors to the time of dinosaurs, and to one of the most famous representatives of that time – the tyrannosaurus rex. While visitors can engage with interactive elements, fossils and other familiar components of museums, the exhibition also offers a VR-multiplayer game. In this virtual world, visitors can work together as a team, use bones to build a skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex, and bring the t-rex to life. Thus, letting players explore parts of nature, which they have never seen before. (Article link)
This example shows that VR cannot only be seen as a tool for marketing, sales or vacation planning, but also as a type of technology that allows people to travel to distant locations, to go on extraordinary adventures or to explore the unknown.
As part of the project “Digital Innovation Hub West”, the Fachhochschule Salzburg will therefore hold workshops on the topic of VR starting in autumn 2020. In each workshop, an overview of the topic will be given, and best practices and an outlook into the future will be presented. In the end, participants will have the opportunity to test and experience VR for themselves.
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