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An innovative new collaboration, led by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, entitled Digital NMD, will be the subject of a free event on Thursday 18 October in the Carriage Rooms at Montalto Estate in Ballynahinch, from 10am-1pm.

The collaboration, which brings together Southern Regional College, South Eastern Regional College, has partnered with the BCS (British Computer Society) NI, The Chartered Institute for IT to talk about exploring the use of Augmented Reality in the tourism and hospitality sector in the area and how its use can enhance visitor experiences.

Paul Kelly, Committee Member and Treasurer of BCS Northern Ireland, The Chartered Institute for IT; Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr. Mark Murnin; Emma Finney, Innovation Manager, South Eastern Regional College and Kieran Swail, Tourism Innovation Specialist, Southern Regional College pictured at the launch of the DigitalNMD ‘Exploring Augmented Reality for the Hospitality & Tourism Industry’ event at Montalto Estate.
Paul Kelly, Committee Member and Treasurer of BCS Northern Ireland, The Chartered Institute for IT; Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr. Mark Murnin; Emma Finney, Innovation Manager, South Eastern Regional College and Kieran Swail, Tourism Innovation Specialist, Southern Regional College pictured at the launch of the DigitalNMD ‘Exploring Augmented Reality for the Hospitality & Tourism Industry’ event at Montalto Estate.

Speaking about the relevance of the technology to businesses in the area, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Cllr. Mark Murnin said: “I am delighted to host this event along with our partner organisations.

“Tourism is a key priority for our Council and I would encourage businesses in this sector to attend in order to explore the benefits Augmented Reality (AR) can bring. Our stunning landscapes, unique attractions and cultural heritage are a huge draw for visitors to the district and AR can help to develop rich visitor “storytelling” experiences and bring wider exposure to this important international market.”

Augmented Reality (AR) can be broadly defined as any video or 3D augmentation overlaid on a screen that is used to view the real world (most commonly via a smartphone camera) and is increasingly being used to improve tourism experiences.

Paul Kelly, Committee Member and Treasurer of BCS Northern Ireland added: “The Northern Ireland branch of the British Computer Society is thrilled to have partnered with DigitalNMD to present this event.

“In order for businesses to stay contemporary and relevant, it’s imperative that they get on board with the rapidly developing technologies and this event will give those in the tourism and hospitality sector an insight into how cutting-edge technology can improve their business.”

The event will be led by Dr Nick Whitelegg, Senior Computing & Web Development lecturer at Southampton Solent University and a member of the BCS Animated & Games Development Specialist Group. The discussion will focus on what AR technology is and how it can be used by businesses to deliver a richer experience for visitors by adding an extra dimension to locations, tours and visitor attractions.

Dr. Whitelegg will also be conducting a live demonstration of his own app, Hikar, in the grounds surrounding Montalto. The Hikar mobile application uses AR to clearly map and highlight path and trail options to hikers and walkers and the demonstration will provide a practical exhibition of some of the capabilities and uses of AR technology.

Attendees will also enjoy complimentary access to the Estate and its beautiful gardens, trails and walks.

To register for this FREE event, visit http://www.digitalnmd.org/event/ar/

Please note that places are limited, and tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

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