Eric Mizufuka, Epson on AR and museums

Tim Kridel learns more about the uptake of technology in museums and visitor attractions and explores opportunities in content creation, when he speaks with the product manager of Epson’s Moverio AR glasses.

TK: Who typically creates the AR/VR content for museums, science centers and other visitor attractions? For example, do these facilities have the hardware, software and staff to do that in house, or do they typically outsource content creation? 

EM: Large well-funded venues typically create AR/VR content in-house, while mid-size companies that may not have the same level of technical expertise or resources typically use specialty integrators or agencies for content development.

TK: If they usually outsource, what types of companies provide those services? I ask because InAVate readers will be interested in the types of companies they could partner with in order to offer clients a package of hardware, installation and content services. 

EM: If a venue is outsourcing content creation, they are most likely working with advanced mobile development companies that are familiar with wearable technology and building 3D assets. For example, vStream, an interactive content production company, is one of the most experienced integrators of high-end AR. Based on vStream’s portfolio, the company was hired by Epson and Mercedes to build out an amazing experience for the AMG Petronas Formula One racing team. 

TK: What do museums, science centers and other visitor attractions see as the business case for AR/VR? This technology is not inexpensive, so I’d like to show readers how these facilities justify the AR/VR investment. For example, is it effective for attracting younger demographics and more donations? 

EM: AR/VR is a hot technology that few have experienced, so there is high demand to test it out. Consumers are not likely to spend $700 (approximately €620) for an AR/VR experience, however, paying $15 to experience it at their local museum will create incremental demand. This drives a new audience to museums, and by loading different applications and content, museums can increase repeat visitors as well by marketing new experiences. For example, instead of replacing an old exhibit with a new one, venues would only need to change the AR/VR content.  Museums can also create exclusive, premium AR/VR experiences for donors.

TK: In your experience, what’s key for a successful AR/VR feature for a museum, science center or other visitor attraction? For example, what are some tips for making the technology user-friendly for a wide range of demographics? What are some common pitfalls to avoid? 

EM: Initial AR/VR experiences should take advantage of the platform to educate the user in a unique and compelling way.  For instance, Epson Moverio smart eyewear is being used by Brescia Museums in Italy to provide 3D digital reconstructions of archeological ruins that show visitors how the structures looked 2,000 years ago. The great thing is the technology allows a venue to start small and scale rapidly as content clicks with users.  Another important feature is durability. The AR/VR smart glasses should be durable enough to withstand constant wear, while also being easy to sanitize after each use. Epson’s Moverio glasses have no foam component for easy cleaning.  They can also be worn over prescription glasses. In addition, the smart glasses are all-inclusive systems that are portable and lightweight without the hassle of a PC connection or multiple cables and wires. 

You can find out more on this topic in an article that will appear in the March edition of InAVate EMEA. If you don’t receive the magazine then sign up now to receive the March digital edition and select a free print or digital edition moving forward.

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