Global technology brand HONOR announced Gateway to the Future, an initiative designed to enrich cultural heritage through the power of technology. Launched during its IFA 2022 keynote, HONOR challenged two popular artists to creatively reimagine the Wasserschloss, an iconic landmark in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, using AR. Set against the backdrop of surging interest in the metaverse and the growth of hybrid tourism, the project aims to inspire global creative talent to leverage innovations such as AI, AR, and Spatial Audio to connect communities with culture in more immersive ways and support the global tourism rebound, as the world embraces the connected future.
“As a global technology company, HONOR is committed to developing smart device technology which enables people to celebrate and experience cultural treasures from the past while also discovering the possibilities of the future,” said George Zhao, CEO of HONOR Device Co, Ltd. “We predict the rise of AR and AI technologies being used to create even more phy-gital experiences for smartphone users around the world, contributing to the hybrid tourism boom. Beyond tourism, this technology has the potential to benefit a number of other industries and communities. It really is the Gateway to the Future.”
Renowned for being Germany‘s “Gateway to the World,” Hamburg evolved from a port city to a thriving metropolis by embracing a longstanding culture of community, collaboration, and innovation. Inspired by the city’s history of transformation, HONOR chose Hamburg as the pilot location for the project to contribute to the digital cultural boom and inspire people from all around the world to reimagine cultural treasures in the metaverse.
To bring the project to life, HONOR partnered with ARLOOPA, an AR and VR development company, and celebrated artists Yunuene and Timo Helgert. They creatively transformed the famous Wasserschloss building in AR.
Yunuene’s contribution to Gateway to the Future, entitled “Sailing Through Time,” pays tribute to the evolution of the city’s port, showing how innovation in marine logistics transformed over time with her signature visual aesthetic. Timo Helgert’s experience “Blooming Future” takes a more futuristic approach, playing on Hamburg’s status as one of the greenest cities in the world and creatively imagining what the Wasserschloss would look like in a green future where beautiful plants and endangered species can thrive, taking this historic landmark into an otherworldly realm.
Unlocking Immersive Experiences through the Power of AI and AR
Through the experience, HONOR also contributes to hybrid tourism, an emerging trend following the global tourism rebound, whereby travelers expect digital advances made during the pandemic to benefit and augment physical travel experiences. The AR experiences at the Wasserschloss bring the digital and physical worlds together, allowing travelers to experience the culture in a new way. HONOR has been consistently investing in technologies, including AI Space Identification, Spatial Audio, and AR to enable enhanced immersive experiences for the digital revolution.
“The Warehouse District was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015 with the aim of protecting and preserving the history and culture of one of the world’s largest trading ports. Through the advent of emerging technologies including augmented reality, it is now possible to educate and engage future generations about cultural heritage in new and exciting ways. We were therefore proud to be able to help HONOR’s Gateway to the Future initiative, which not only offers a celebration of the district’s significance to Germany, but also its exciting future as a global metropolis,” said Bernd Paulowitz, Head of UNESCO World Heritage Hamburg.
“With tourism soaring to new heights following years of global lockdowns, it’s great to see brands like HONOR bringing new and enriched experiences to people as they start to explore the world again. This summer, our city saw again the same level in visitors as in summer 2019, which in part has been due to new interactive cultural attractions enabled by technology. Inspired by Hamburg’s status as the Gateway to the World, we’re thrilled to partner with the Gateway to the Future initiative, which we are confident will allow visitors and residents of Hamburg alike to connect with the UNESCO World Heritage Speicherstadt in more immersive ways. We are witnessing a huge demand for hybrid experiences, with travelers increasingly expecting a virtual layer to their interactions with cultural landmarks. This is the right time to harness the power of technology in tourism to create magical experiences for tourists around the world,” said, Guido Neumann, Head of PR of Hamburg Tourism Board.
Reimagine Your Community with HONOR Talents
Launched as part of the HONOR Talents Global Design Awards, Gateway to the Future also aims to inspire creative talent from all around the world to harness technology and reimagine their own communities in the era of the metaverse. For the first time, HONOR Talents is introducing a dedicated AR Interactive Artwork Design category and is now accepting digital art applications that transform local neighborhoods, including digital overlays for buildings, walls, parks, and other public spaces. In addition to Gateway to the Future AR experience, HONOR has partnered with the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in China to create a new AR artwork titled “INFINITY.” The art is available at HONOR’s IFA booth through the ARLOOPA app.
AR Experiences are Now Live
Available until the end of the year, the Gateway to the Future AR experiences can be accessed through the dedicated HONOR page on the free-to-download ARLOOPA app. Users have the option to experience the AR artworks on-site in Hamburg or anywhere in the world. The on-site experience is anchored to the Wasserschloss building and can be viewed from the Poggenmühlen-Brücke, the bridge opposite the landmark. Users not in Hamburg can select “experience on any surface” on the app and follow the on-screen instructions to virtually check out the AR experience on a flat surface nearby.
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