- The “5G Interactive City” project enables visitors to discover the interior of monuments, stores and institutions, to see associated content and to shop online using a 5G-enabled mixed reality headset
- This is a pilot trial promoted by the Barcelona 5G alliance, together with MEDIAPRO Group and Orange
Today, Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia was turned into a 5G zone to provide visitors the chance to have an immersive experience with mixed reality. With a Magic Leap headset (featuring both virtual and augmented reality), users can view information superimposed on real images, interact with it and access further information or buy products. This new experience of immersive reality in the city with 5G is a pilot trial promoted by 5G Barcelona together with MEDIAPRO Group and Orange as part of the Smart City Expo World Congress.
The pilot project route included some of Passeig de Gràcia’s iconic sights including La Pedrera building and Casa Batlló; hotels (Monument, Majestic, Royal); stores (Orange, Mango, Rabat, Santa Eulàlia) and institutions (Catalan Tourist Board, Turisme de Barcelona, Barcelona Hotel Guild and Passeig de Gràcia Association). At each point, visitors used the headset to access information of interest such as virtual visit videos and product catalogues, plus other content.
“5G Interactive City”, a key project for the future of the tourism sector
Today’s pilot trial represents an initial step in adapting tourist experiences to the new digital reality and to new technological devices, which will exponentially increase the options of providing virtual and immersive content both for tourists and for the public at large. Hence, by using 5G superfast broadband it will be possible to download large amounts of information at great speed and interact with it virtually and in real time because of the technology’s low latency.
According to Eduard Martín, CEO of 5G Barcelona, “the application of 5G in city environments will make it possible to introduce general use of virtual reality apps, 360º technology, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. It will offer new personalised immersive experiences, both to tourists and to the public at large. Given that tourism is one of Barcelona’s driving forces, working towards swift deployment of 5G is strategic for the city”.
Specific content for the different points on the route was therefore created by MEDIAPRO Group in collaboration with the different institutions participating in the pilot trial. María Carmen Fernández, Director of Innovation of MEDIAPRO Group emphasised that “at MEDIAPRO Group we want to be involved in the development of cities of the future and new services and opportunities that are emerging because of new exponential technologies such as 5G that are revolutionising the content sector and ways of enjoying them in new urban environments”. She likewise stated that “innovation is one of the levers of growth for the Group, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a firm commitment to new business focused on content for new audiences: immersive experiences, eSports, videogames and transmedia productions, as well as many other projects”.
The experience was possible because of Visyon (a MEDIAPRO Group company), which is a pioneer and a world leader in extended reality (augmented, virtual and mixed reality). It has programmed and adapted the content to one of the pilot trial’s other key elements: the Magic Leap’s spatial computing-based headset with which users can interact with digital content projected onto the real world. These translucent goggles superimpose digital and interactive content on the user’s field of vision and provide a unique experience of interaction with cities’ monuments, institutions and stores.
Transmission of the project has also been possible thanks to Orange’s 5G network deployed in the zone with Ericsson technology. Montse Cereza, Territorial Director of Institutional Relations of Orange, added that “the advanced performance of the 5G network will change the way in which we relate to the world, as shown in this pilot trial with which our company continues testing technology to develop use cases in different industries and, in this case, in tourism”.
Cereza also stated that “5G is not just a new stage in the use of mobile devices. It goes beyond that and is taking us into an era of immediacy and real time in which data are processed in a millisecond, thus opening up a new field of potential. With experiences like this we can start discerning how far we can go with all this. Today we are starting the first pilot trials and are clearly committed to evolving and continuing to enrich the applicability of new use cases for tourism”.