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Competition seeks to immerse visitors in Belfast’s tourism experience

29 Nov 2017
As part of the Smart Belfast initiative, a new competition has been launched to help develop cutting-edge technology which can immerse visitors in the city’s tourism experience.

The Immersive Belfast Tourism Challenge will offer a one-off £25,000 grant to help create a working prototype product, which will use the latest in immersive technologies to enhance the visitor experience of key attractions or locations in the city.

Councillor Mairéad O’Donnell, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, explained the rationale behind the competition:

“Immersive technologies are changing the way that we interact with our environment; in the home, on the move and when visiting new places. The growth in new immersive platforms has created a rush for high-quality consumable content that is easily accessible and shareable. We want to take advantage of the emergence in content creators. We want to turn Belfast into a next generation destination to visit, harnessing immersive platforms and content in the city to create an unforgettable experience for visitors.

“Immersive content includes virtual, augmented and mixed reality as well as new creative formats for video, sound and other media. The unifying factor being that an immersive experience should bring you into a new world (or bring new things into your world) with seamless integration.

“We would like to explore the potential of these technologies to deliver a bespoke tourism product that will showcase our fantastic city, and to test new immersive formats which could be consumed across the city at multiple locations. To start this process, we are asking immersive content creators to focus on a single attraction, location or area of Belfast which they believe would be an ideal destination to showcase their ability.

“The challenge will provide a grant up to £25,000 to help create a working prototype product. It is envisaged that the grant will be awarded to one project only, depending on the number and quality of submissions received. We are seeking applications that will describe the creative direction and ambition of the project. We would aim to take the prototype into full development, subject to funding. As a result, we are particularly interested in prototypes that could be fully developed quickly.

“We are open to a variety of business models and will consider funding prototypes that are partnership projects or that have match funding, concluded Councillor O’Donnell.

With the challenge now open for submissions, projects will be assessed on a number of criteria, including cultural and artistic value, suitability for the visitor audience, relevance/suitability for immersive delivery, suitability and feasibility of the prototype beyond the initial challenge, appropriate team experience and value for money.

Full details on the Immersive Belfast Tourism Challenge, and details on how to submit projects, can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/immersivetech. The closing date for submissions is Friday 15 December, with the successful project being announced a week later.

The Immersive Belfast Tourism Challenge supports the Smart Belfast framework, which seeks to harness new technologies and data science to support local economic growth and build on the city’s growing strengths in the digital sector to foster an environment in which local businesses, innovators and universities and universities can experiment and build products for the future.
As part of the Smart Belfast initiative, a new competition has been launched to help develop cutting-edge technology which can immerse visitors in the city’s tourism experience. As part of the Smart Belfast initiative, a new competition has been launched to help develop cutting-edge technology which can immerse visitors in the city’s tourism experience.