Visitors to the historic Roman Baths in the city of Bath recently had the opportunity to try out futuristic technology as part of a £5m ‘smart tourism’ project.
The trial enabled 20 invited guests to use a smartphone app to view virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) content enabled by 5G mobile network technology.
At locations around the Roman Baths, the app told the story of three periods in the World Heritage Site’s history: the mythical discovery of the hot springs by King Bladud; the Baths falling into disrepair when the Romans left; and the renovation in Victorian times. Each period was recreated by Aardman Animations as an animated 3D scene that plays for several minutes, with ‘hotspots’ that the user could discover to display interesting information about various parts.
Content was delivered via 60GHz mmWave high-speed network connection provided by Cambridge Communication Systems (CCS).
The West of England Combined Authority and Bath & North East Somerset Council are working with a number of partners, including the BBC, to help test 5G capabilities in Bath.
The 5G Smart Tourism project plans to hold further trials at various locations over the next few months.
West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “I am proud our region is playing such a pivotal role in both the development of 5G technology and the exciting first trials of these exciting new wireless services. We are ambitious to help support a commercial rollout of 5G infrastructure across our region and we see 5G as having a role in helping us address mobility across the region and in helping with digital inclusion.”
Although 5G technology is not yet available to the public, and there are currently no plans for the Roman Baths to offer VR experiences to the public, the trials will demonstrate how 5G can enable new visitor experiences.