IFEMA takes the first step towards the “AUGMENTED TRADE FAIR” at FITUR 2018

12 January 2018

FITUR 2018 will be the presentation platform for a series of technological solutions aimed at the tourism industry and fair management, ready to spring into action with 5G technology- still in the standardisation process-,, in the near future. This is a line of prototypes developed by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers who have been working since last September at the IFEMA LAB 5G laboratory, set up by IFEMA and 5TONIC, a company founded by Telefónica, IMDEA Networks Institute, and  ERICSSON.

The team of researchers comprises 10 students who were chosen by Talentum, a platform launched by Telefónica and backed by companies such as Ericsson, to promote talent, innovation and entrepreneurship.

5G is short for the Fifth Generation of Mobile Networks and will offer revolutionary services both on band width and latency, with orders of magnitude better than its predecessor 4G. As important as its new features, and unlike previous generations, its main use will be in a variety of industrial transformation sectors: automotive, manufacturing, logistics, safety, transportation, health, and of course, in tourism.

IFEMA, through FITUR, will become a pioneer in what is going to be the first “Augmented Trade Fair” model in an impulse that aims to achieve international leadership in exhibition experience and which, focusing on the tourism field, expects to transform the experience of visitors and exhibitors based on a set of solutions that will reinforce user interactivity and will provide an environment of immersion in which to develop activities. All thanks to access to communications, data and computational services that are virtually unlimited, in real time.

The “Augmented Trade Fair” solution and the set of prototypes that will be unveiled at the IFEMA LAB 5G stand, located in the North hall of FITUR, includes elements of personalisation, planning and smart virtual assistant guidance, holographic interaction with other people who are exhibiting or attending FITUR, or connected to it, and the possibility of reviewing all of the activities performed as well as content with 100% digital access.

The prototypes developed at the IFEMA LAB 5G are also conceived to become commercial solutions in the short-term, making maximum use of the features of current technologies and virtual and augmented reality systems, the cloud and advanced 4G connectivity. They also have the possibility of incorporating new functions which are expected to be introduced mainly because of the evolutionary potential of 4G technology towards the new 5G network, both regarding hyper-connectivity and flexible distributed computing.

The IFEMA LAB 5G work process

The work process begins with the combination of analytical and creative aspects based on the new “Design Thinking” and “Agile Cycles” design techniques, ultra-fast development methods in which the team of IFEMA and FITUR professionals were also involved, in order to adapt the project to the reality of the fair experience and of the tourism industry.

The second step is the creation of the new “Augmented Trade Fair” concept, coined by the IFEMA LAB 5G research team, based on the combination of three strong technological trends that will become predominant within the next 15 years: Mixed Reality, Distributed Cloud and 5G.

Mixed Reality is the combination of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) which enables users to see the real world (as in AR) at the same time that they are seeing virtual objects (as in VR). The virtual objects are anchored to points in real space, making it possible for the user to treat them as “real”. This allows for endless advanced digital applications.

Distributed Cloud aims for a unified focus that will allow for both centralisation and decentralisation of computing resources, as well as optimising the use of access network connectivity and transportation. These will open possibilities of flexibly localising the running of intensive computing applications such as the case of VR/AR applications, improving their features, especially latency, by making the use of network resources and remote computing resources more efficient.

The IFEMA LAB 5 G stand at FITUR

The stand’s structure, containing a guided circuit and an exhibition area, immerses the user in a futuristic and social route through the “Augmented Trade Fair”; a simulation that will represent a visit to two points at the FITUR, and will provide two different experiences: Augmented Fair Circuit and Mobile Zone

The first experience, or “Augmented Trade Fair Circuit” will take place with Hololens glasses, which will enable a holographic circuit, in order to simulate a commercial visit at FITUR and offer all of the assistance systems until the mission is completed.

This experience is divided into stages that will be shown to the user depending on the point of the circuit where they are at. It starts off with a tutorial on the Hololens interface, to then give way to a personalised welcome application, and to a standard robot-type assistant that will be the guide for the purpose of the visit.  A map of Fitur 2018 will show information on each of the halls and will allow the choice of stand to be visited depending on the interests that were expressed to the assistant. The approximate time to the chosen stand is given, as well as the path to be followed, with a 3D model and audio, and the person to be contacted may be chosen, in communication with a database. The circuit also includes augmented publicity models.

When the destination is reached, the user can look at the augmented stand and, in other words, the products, informative displays, etc. can be shown holographically with attractive animations. The personal guide will at that point become the stand exhibitor and will explain the benefits of the target product. The user will become acquainted with the products detailed on the interface and can enjoy the 3D models, videos, photos, etc. The experience will end with the completion of the negotiation and the signing of the contract.

The second experience will take place in the Mobile Zone and it will offer augmented and holographic reality demos through smartphones. Among these, 360⁰ video applications to see places in Madrid, or a “Portal” that will transport the user to Madrid to see its monuments and to interact with them and get to know the monument’s details through their mobile, with a high degree of freedom.

Source(s): 5TONIC; IFEMA
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