The New Frontier
How augmented reality is changing travel
Augmented reality (AR) makes it possible to layer digital enhancements over an existing reality or real-life scenario. For a traveler, this means that booking a hotel, accessing information at the destination, navigating the destination, translating signs, locating restaurant and entertainment options and reading reviews can all be done simply through an app on a mobile device.
Point your phone’s camera at a foreign sign and Google Translate can tell you what it says, or another app can point out what landmarks you are currently looking at via virtual information that pops up over real-life objects. The London School of Economics projects AR to be one of the top five influences in the travel industry over the next 10 years, according to an October 2016 Travel Distribution report.
AR apps such as Google Translate, Yelp Monocle and eTips make it easier for travelers to enjoy a new destination without having to preplan, carry a guidebook or check restaurant reviews before they leave their hotel or resort. “Geo-located AR is also great for helping people find city landmarks in an easier way than using maps,” says Joanan Hernandez, founder of Mollejuo, an app development company.
Mollejuo created Terra Icons, an augmented reality app that uses a phone’s camera to overlay facts and information about the user’s location. Tapping on an icon as it appears allows the user to call and get directions to the selected point of interest. The app is currently available in more than 70 cities, from New York to Hong Kong.
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