Since January 2022, the UrbanXR team have been working hard on a collaboration with BT at their new HQ at 1 Braham, London. The exhibition, titled the Aurora Showcase is a bespoke exhibition space, showcasing the very best cutting-edge technology that BT services and platforms can utilise to enable connectivity and increase efficiencies in how we live. We were delighted to be selected to develop a unique Augmented Reality (AR) experience for the Future Cities section.
How does the AR for Future Cities experience work?
Using a physical 1.6 x 1.8-metre scale model of central London as a canvas, the experience overlays smart city data the model is brought a series of Augmented Reality screens and animated icons. These overlays can be viewed simultaneously on individual iPads and also broadcast to a main viewing screen for client presentations.
What is the Future Cities concept?
Our content brief for the project was to use augmented reality to showcase three layers of information:
Layer 1: Smart City
This AR layer displays information about public transport, traffic, leisure attraction use and air quality.
Layer 2: Smart Ports
This AR layer displays information about delivery logistics and security
Layer 3: Agritech layer
This AR layer focuses on green spaces and parks, monitoring soil quality, maintenance requirements and environmental conditions. This layer even has the capability to assess the quality of underground farms.
Each of these layers can be triggered whenever the presenter wishes, by pressing the relevant ipad app button. Each layer is made of 6 AR “screens” that display dynamic data graphs and video feeds, as well as more detailed models for HMS Belfast within Smart Ports and the underground farm within the AgriTech layer. Each AR screen has been linked to a physical location on the map, identified by a location pulse and an animated icon for routes such as delivery tracking, public transport etc.
Along with the three AR layers, the ability to pause the animations at any point has been integrated within the application. This provides assistance with presentation flow and allows the presenter to respond to any questions from the audience. Finally, a conclusion AR layer option completes the app functionality. This layer allows users to view all of the screens and animated content at the same time.
The Smart Cities AR showcase was seen as a highlight by both our client and visitors on opening day. Being able to visualize data in this way is a vital tool to unlock the power of smart cities and showcase BT’s platform abilities in collecting data for their clients in the city, agriculture, and shipping sectors.
We see a future for this concept beyond the exhibition. By connecting the Augmented Reality content to sensor platforms, this approach can provide real-time immersive feedback on the functionality and quality of a city, farm, or port for example. It can record anything that can be monitored with sensors, such as train functionality, footfall, occupiers of buildings, air, water quality, soil quality, maintenance requirements and logistics.
If you would like more information on our concept for Future Cities, please get in touch.