Attractions industry news

19 Jan 2021

David Attenborough to front AR-based natural world app

Broadcaster and natural historian, Sir David Attenborough, will front a new virtual app which will allow users to explore exotic plants and animals in their own surroundings.

Using augmented reality (AR), The Green Planet app is part of the government's £28m "5G Create" project, which has been set up to test and market the uses of 5G.

The Green Planet app alone has received £2.3m worth of funding.

Developed by a consortium of creative and technology firms – including EE and London-based immersive content studio Factory 42 – the app will be available in "set locations" around the UK, including parks, visitor attractions (such as Kew Gardens) and urban settings.

The app requires a 5G-enabled device and will allow users to stream high resolution ‘holographic’ video of Sir David, which will present detailed graphics of plants and animals.

According to Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman, the app will help demonstrate how new technology can reconnect people with the natural world while "demonstrating the power of 5G to a huge new audience".

"5G Create is about exploring new and inventive ways we can use 5G to give British industries a competitive advantage," Warman said.

"This cutting-edge app, fronted by broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough, is set to be an inspiring example of how new technology can reconnect us with the natural world whilst demonstrating the power of 5G to a huge new audience."

The Green Planet app is one of nine projects to receive funding as part of 5G Create.

Other leisure-related 5G Create projects include an initiative at the Eden Project in Cornwall, which will explore how 5G and 360 degree video can enhance the visitor experience and allow anyone to enjoy the exhibits and talks.

On the Isle of Wight, people will be encouraged to take up yacht racing using immersive virtual reality experiences in a bid to explore 5G's benefits to the sports industry.

At London's O2, a 5G project will explore how the technology can provide instant, multi-angle replays via smartphones during stadium events.

Elsewhere, the MK Stadium – home to Milton Keynes Dons FC – will be kitted out with driverless taxis, smart parking management and robots to help the site run more efficiently and enhance experiences for spectators and staff.

5G Create is part of the government’s £200m investment in testbeds and trials across the UK to explore new ways that 5G can boost productivity, grow existing businesses or spark new ones. In the competition’s second round, DCMS has provided £15.2m to be shared across the nine projects with the remaining £13.1m coming from project partners.

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