AR in Tourism with Apple Glass

Apple glass

Augmented Reality is not something new and unfamiliar. There are various examples of successful AR devices and applications. However, until today there is no AR device available that is affordable and accessible for any user. For example, Hololens by Microsoft is too expensive and is only sold for corporate clients, Google Glass is impractical, difficult to wear, not to mention its camera access which brings into question consumers' privacy.

Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device.

On the 19th of May, Jon Prosser (A YouTube blogger; famous for many accurate predictions and teasers from Apple’s new products) announced that he had seen and even tried new AR glasses from Apple. Although it is not an official announcement from Apple, many proofs are showing that Apple is working on AR for a long time and Jon has shown himself as a reliable source of the news. When we talk about unlaunched products, there are always doubts about whether they are true or not, but if we assume that Jon is right, 2 questions follow.

Can Apple Glass overcome its competitors in the AR sector?


How can they be implemented in the Tourism Industry?

Can Apple Glass overcome its competitors in the AR sector?

And, of course...

How can they be implemented in the Tourism Industry?

The first thing that comes to mind is that Apple never launches a new product until they are confident that it will succeed. The perfectionism, the attention to details, and the deep research of consumers’ needs and behaviors are what Apple is famous for. That gives credibility to the company.

The second thing is that the developers of Apple Glasses have analyzed the failure of other AR devices, spotted defaults and taken them into account. For instance, Apple was not the first to issue the tablet or the smartwatch but they made the best products in these segments and took the first place among their competitors.

Another problem that AR devices have is the design. Most of them are too cumbrous and look unattractive. Apple is a trend-setter in the device design world, it is a company that creates user-friendly attractive smart glasses that people will love.

AR smart glasses

While previous arguments were debatable, the following one is more logical. There is a very interesting and revolutionary feature in the new iPad Pro which is called LiDAR. LiDAR creates a virtual map of the space nearby and understands the shapes of the objects. This technology helps to put more accurate virtual objects in real space through the device. Some trustful insiders said that LiDAR will be installed in the new iPhone 12 as well. At the same time, many experts were confused by the usability of LiDAR in the iPad and iPhone as it is not very convenient to use hand-carrying devices with AR. Users have to hold them and move everywhere around to see virtual objects on the screen. 

However, with the disclosure of the information of Apple Glasses by Jon, LiDAR makes more sense. It seems that Apple uses LiDAR in iPad Pro and iPhone 12 to test and improve this new technology before releasing the device that will make the most of it. Moreover, it is important to note that LiDAR does not use a camera so there is no “privacy problem” for Apple Glass users.

glasses icon

Apple Glass characteristics

  • The first generation of Apple Glass is expected to work only by a combination with iPhone (the same as the first generation of Apple Watch), therefore, the number of first adopters will be limited. However, the following generations will probably be autonomous.

  • According to some sources, Apple is developing their own type of QR codes which by scanning these codes the related AR objects will be displayed (like Snapchat’s Snapcodes).

  • Apple glass is expected to have a wireless charger on the provided plastic stand.

  • Apparently, Apple Glass will be a camera-free device.

  • The device will have a simple design like any regular glasses.

  • Controlled via gestures and in front of the device.

  • Affordable price compared to the competitors, Jon Prosser mentioned that the price of the glasses will be around 500$.

How Augmented Reality is already used in tourism?

There were a lot of experiments in implementing AR in tourism and hospitality services but only few of them became used by customers. 

The most useful AR application in tourism is the Augmented Reality hand baggage check which used KLM, EasyJet, Iberia… It helps travelers to compare the size of their hand luggage with the limits that an airline has. It is a simple application but solves a very annoying problem that travelers face.

AR google maps

Some good examples are the AR maps, like AR mode in Google maps. They help tourists navigate in an unknown city, especially when all signs are in foreign languages. The main disadvantage of these apps is that the user has to carry a mobile device in front of him the whole time to see the AR objects.

The third AR app that is quite widely used is Smartify. This app allows users to scan paintings in more than 40 museums all around the world and see the information about the artist, the painting itself, its history and tips. 

AR art scanning Smartify
foodpix ar menu

AR technologies are implemented in restaurants as well. There are some companies like Foodpix and Kabaq that develop software and hardware that makes it possible to create 3D AR models of food. In the end, guests have a 3D interactive menu where they can see the dishes from different angles.

Live-time translation is another successful example of AR apps. It lets its users translate text by just pointing a smartphone camera at an object. In tourism, it helps travelers translate signs, announcements, menus, descriptions, etc.

AR translation

There are many less successful examples of implementing AR in tourism services, however, with a better device, they may become more highly sought.

So which new opportunities can bring Apple Glass device?

To begin with, it may improve all the existing AR services that are mentioned above because it disengages hands that were carrying a smartphone, also it brings customer experience to a whole new level.

hotel room 3d model

In hotels, AR technology can be used to present 3D models of different rooms available during the booking process. Guests will be assisted to choose a room which suits them best.  While today photos on the hotel websites can be misleading by showing rooms bigger or with different layouts, AR models will allow guests to see what exactly they are booking. Moreover, some personalized touches can be implemented when the guest will not only choose a room but also types and colors of bed sheets, pillows, bathrobes, and maybe even some small furniture like chairs, lamps, or paintings.

Talking about Apple Glasses in particular, hotels can provide wireless charging stands in guest rooms, which is easy and helps improve their experience.

glasses stand
ar navigation in the hotel

In tourism facilities with large spaces like resorts, museums, airports, etc., AR technology can be used for navigation. For example, Apple Glasses can display the shortest way to the users’ gate so he won’t waste time on exploring the map.

Hotels can also find many ways to use Apple QR codes in their hotels to display some information and images in AR.  

Augmented Reality brochures may become a new way of advertising tourism products. Apple QR codes may be implemented in any printed documents or banners. When the Apple Glass users look at the codes, they will be provided with AR photos, videos, or any additional information. In some cases, a booking interface may be also applied in the brochure which will allow customers to book services on the spot.

ar brochure

To conclude, the Apple Glass device is expected to revolutionize AR technology by bringing it to the mass market, as they did with many other innovations. This is the time to pay the most attention to this technology and start to prepare for new customer behavior, needs, and expectations. In these hard times for tourism, the only way to succeed is to adapt and innovate.

Authors: Alexey Petrash, Aznive Boghossian, Ikram Ouazzani Touhami

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