Second Keeper Adventure Launches at NPL

The Keeper of Measurements: Metric Mayhem has launched today at the National Physical Laboratory as part of their World Metrology Day celebrations.

Visitors to the NPL’s open day will be able to explore the astonishing science that is carried out across its labs in Teddington, and embark on an adventure to help the Keeper of Measurements rescue the SI Bots that have been captured by the dastardly Croakers.

THE KEEPER STORYWORLD

The World of the Keepers is a liminal space that exists alongside our own. Overlaid, intertwined but rarely seen by human eyes. Home to the mysterious guardians of our world’s most important cultural collections and sources of knowledge.

The National Physical Laboratory’s Keeper of Measurements is one such guardian. With absolute mastery of the SI, the seven major units that measure mass, length, time, current, temperature, substance and luminosity, the Keeper of Measurements is unrivalled in this realm.

But the Keepers are not alone in their power. The shadowy legion of Croakers are intent on creating chaos and discord, disrupting the equilibrium that the Keepers work so hard to preserve.

The Keeper of Measurements is beyond even the Croakers’ abilities, but the SI-Bots, each created to serve the Keeper of Measurements, are not so strong. The Croakers saw their chance and took it, abducting the seven Si-Bots and imprisoning them around the National Physical Laboratory!

Weakened by the loss of the SI-Bots, the Keeper of Measurements needs your help to restore their power by finding the Bots and thwarting the dastardly Croakers.

Join the Keeper of Measurements on a magical quest at the National Physical Laboratory. Have you got what it takes to rescue the SI-Bots from the shadowy Croakers and save World Metrology Day?

The Keeper of Measurements is the second Keepers adventure, following The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception which launched at The National Gallery earlier this year.

More Keepers stories are planned with other cultural institutions. If you’re interested in creating your own Keeper experience, please get in touch.

TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE KEEPER OF MEASUREMENTS OR TO TALK TO THE TEAM, GET IN TOUCH

Coronavirus: Get in touch for a FREE creative brainstorm

As everything shuts down, we’ve been wondering what we can do to help. Our most valuable assets are our experience and creativity, and we are making them available for free.

Our founders will be donating their time to run free creative innovation workshops (conducted over video call of course) to explore low cost, high impact tech-driven solutions to the Coronavirus challenge.

If you’re a visitor attraction, heritage site, retailer, brand or any other organisation wondering how technology might be able to help engage increasingly housebound audiences, get in touch – we’d love to help.

FOR A FREE CREATIVE BRAINSTORM, GET IN TOUCH

Coronavirus: Keeping audiences engaged when the doors are shut

It’s time to reverse the location-based entertainment model. If audiences can no longer come to you, why not go to them?

TO EXPLORE HOW IMMERSIVE TECH CAN HELP, GET IN TOUCH

An existential threat

In COVID-19 and the provisions being put in place to minimise its impact, the location-based entertainment industry is facing a challenge unlike any it has ever faced before. Organisations under the ‘LBE’ label may be incredibly varied, from museums to crazy golf, theme parks to shopping centres, but their business models all share a fundamental characteristic: large volumes of people arriving physically at their premises to spend time and, in most cases, money. As the Coronavirus crisis forces one after another to close their doors, they face a genuinely existential threat.
Despite all of the sensible, sober official communications that share lines like ‘abundance of caution’, ‘factors beyond our control’ and ‘closed for the foreseeable future’, behind the scenes there is, understandably, panic. The reality is that no one knows when they will be able to open again, how long it will take for public confidence to be restored, and whether or not this could spell the end, for some locations at least.
But is shutting up shop the only option? Physically, yes. But digitally? Perhaps not.
The undeniable fact for LBE is that people can no longer come to you. So why not go to them?

Reverse the model

Technology has reached a point where it can enable the kinds of experiences that were unimaginable only a few years ago. More than 95% of UK households now have at least one smart device, and organisations with a dash of creative ingenuity can harness this to deliver immersive experiences in the home that maintain – or even deepen – the relationships we have with LBE organisations at a time when we are unable to visit them in person.

The so-called experience economy is characterised by the increasing desire to get out, go to places and enjoy doing more, all of which is ideal for LBE. That desire hasn’t gone away, but for the next few weeks and months – at least – we won’t be able to physically act on it. Instead there will be parents whose kids are climbing the walls; child-free housemates, couples and empty-nesters watching their 10th box-set of the day; all crying out for interesting ways to occupy their time and scratch that ‘experiential’ itch. Which is where the LBE organisations we know and love could step in, with a little help from immersive tech – the most experiential digital technologies around.

Museums and other heritage organisations could develop experiences that entertain families with their astonishing stories from history. Visitor attractions could design fun, on-brand digital experiences that put smiles on faces when they are needed the most. Sports teams and administrators could create and promote next generation e-sports that keep fans engaged by moving beyond the 2D screens of consoles and PCs and into the three-dimensional environments of their homes and local areas.
Resigning to the fact that no visitors equals no business is understandable for LBE but it is premature and, quite possibly, wrong. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it is just possible that, with a bit of vision, creativity and determination, the biggest crisis in memory could offer an opportunity to create greater levels of audience engagement than ever before.

If you’re interested in exploring how immersive technology can help your organisation to weather the Coronavirus storm, get in touch.

Music Walk of Fame Inducts Amy Winehouse, Madness and Soul II Soul

The Music Walk of Fame is Camden’s newest heritage attraction and is fast becoming one of the hottest music accolades on the planet. This week three new bands and artists were inducted, with stones being laid in the Camden pavements alongside The Who’s inaugural award last November.

Coinciding with BBC 6 Music’s music week, also taking place in iconic Camden Town, ceremonies are being held for Madness, Amy Winehouse and Soul II Soul in the space of just five days.

Fans can join the Madness ‘nutty train’ – the iconic image from the cover of One Step Beyond, spend some time with much-missed idol Amy Winehouse, captured in a famous mural appropriately titled Fallen Angel by street artist Pegasus, and get Back to Life with 80s legends Soul II Soul.

To access all of these AR experiences, and those for The Who and the Music Walk of Fame’s Founding Stone, just download the free app and head to the stones.

The Music Walk of Fame hits the streets of Camden

Image showcasing the music walk of fame tiles augmented with digital elements

On 19th November 2019, Camden Town, London officially became home to the global Music Walk of Fame. Designed as a new cultural attraction for London, The Music Walk of Fame will become a huge accolade for the music industry. Tuesday saw the augmented reality embedded Founding Stone and the first artist stone unveiled with a special ceremony attended by music legends.

After growing speculation in the weeks leading up to the launch, it was revealed that the recipient of the first ever Music Walk of Fame artist stone were none other than global music icons The Who. Flanked by a moped parade reflecting their famous mod-era heritage, surviving members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend accepted the accolade from Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, with the Arcade team present to celebrate the launch and demo the experience to assembled journalists and music royalty.

Arcade were selected as partners to design, create and provide the AR experiences that can be triggered by each stone. At launch, that involves a series of metallic rings that rise from the spinning ‘records’ that each stone is designed to evoke. The rings spin and whirl through the air, reflecting the light and surroundings before resolving as an interactive player through which visitors can enjoy a variety of exclusive film clips and music.

Over time, the AR experiences are expected to develop and push boundaries even further. Visitors to the Walk can expect unseen, rare and exclusive footage, 3D art, augmented reality performances and more. Stay tuned!

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Arcade launches the new Madame Tussauds AR app: Fame Cam

Emma Watson with Augmented Reality in Madame Tussauds
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The latest Madame Tussauds app, Fame Cam, was launched today. Developed by Arcade, an immersive technology company specialising in location-based augmented reality, Fame Cam lets Madame Tussauds visitors bring the waxwork figures of their favourite celebrities to life.

Using the app, visitors can see celebrities’ facial expressions move, change their outfits and learn more about them, all in AR. By exploring all of the celebrities, visitors are rewarded with discounts in the gift shop.

“This was quite some undertaking,” said Arcade CEO Jon Meggitt. “We had to integrate deep neural net machine learning with AR to produce the quality, accuracy and seamlessness of the immersive experience, which was hugely challenging but massively rewarding. When you see the results, and the visitors connecting with the models so much more powerfully, it was definitely all worthwhile. We’re delighted with the app, and hope Madame Tussauds visitors enjoy the experience as much as we did creating it.”

Roxy the Ranger: The story behind the world’s first AR chatbot in a visitor attraction

SEA LIFE Junior Ranger AR Poster
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To get in touch, contact us at contact@arcade.ltd

 

“At Arcade, we’re all about making meaningful connections between people and places”

It starts with strategy: Roxy was created for the London Aquarium by Arcade, to amplify SEA LIFE’s ‘Amazing Discovery’ essence, which is all about fun, interactive learning.

Augmented reality is the perfect technology for a challenge like this because it has a unique ability to fire the imagination, particularly when used sparingly rather than persistently. It shows us worlds, places, objects – or, in this case, characters – that are hidden from the naked eye, but even when the device goes away and Roxy disappears from view, she still persists in our imagination. We may not be able to see her, but we know she is nearby. As a result, our relationship with the aquarium and the creatures within is transformed, and radically deepened.

“It’s important that AR is used to enhance experiences, not replace them”

Available via a free app, Roxy helps SEA LIFE visitors, especially families with kids aged 4-10, to understand more about the creatures they see by entertaining, educating and rewarding them through a series of engaging challenges. Kids can chat with Roxy and pilot her various craft (including a ray-like submersible and flying machine), and are encouraged to quiz their grown-ups on the facts they have learned along the way. Roxy rewards them with Ranger Cards, and at the end of the experience they become fully-fledged Junior Rangers!

Critically, the AR experience is designed to amplify the connection between visitors and the aquarium. In between challenges, visitors are encouraged to explore the space without Roxy’s help, creating a virtuous circle of engagement between the physical experience and the digital one.

“It is was really important to have a character, so there was something in the space for kids to see and interact with”

Roxy plays the role of a SEA LIFE curator or aquarist, and was intricately designed to be as believable as possible, whilst also embracing a cute, animated character aesthetic to appeal to young visitors. It was important to make her feel dynamically involved with the world of the aquarium, which is where her vehicles come in – allowing kids to go with her into the tanks and foster a sense of shared discovery.

“It increased the level of engagement, it increased the level of fun, it increased the level of interactivity”

 The impact of the experience, as validated by two independent trials, has been phenomenal. From a business perspective, ‘dwell time’ was identified as a key metric at the outset, with a target of increasing it by 10%; trials showed that visitors using the app spent on average 25% longer in the aquarium than those without, with dramatically higher satisfaction scores and perceived value for money from their SEA LIFE experience.

As importantly, if not more so, kids and parents alike expressed their excitement and delight with their interactions with Roxy. Parents in particular appreciated the educational benefit and appreciated the way their kids slowed down and took their time to engage with both Roxy and the sea creatures themselves. 

“Working with Arcade has been incredible. They are so responsive, so knowledgeable, so accommodating, so much fun to work with. I would work with them again any time, any day, anywhere.” – Rita Marcal, Global Senior Brand Manager, SEA LIFE.

Ready Visitor One….? Why it’s time to say goodbye to the ‘visitor’​

Ready Player One Film Poster
As a part of the Commonwealth Games that took place in Queensland earlier this year, the legacy group launched an initiative called ‘Be My Guest‘. Its aim was to positively shift the mindset of the local tourism industry in terms of the way it consciously and sub-consciously treated its consumers.
Gold Coast 2018 Banner

Referring to standard industry monikers such as ‘passenger’, ‘visitor’, ‘customer’ or ‘tourist’, it points out that, “from these definitions, people will be treated with varying degrees of personal care, according to the way they are viewed.” They go on to encourage every host to consider their audiences as ‘guests’ – because we are taught from a young age that guests are special, to be afforded special privileges and treated exceptionally well.

It is undoubtedly true that the names we use for groups of people have an impact on our behaviours towards them, and that ‘guest’ cues many positive attitudes that ‘visitor’, for example, does not. But, thinking of visitor attractions specifically, does it go far enough?

In order to continue to thrive and grow, museums, galleries and heritage sites are having to engage increasingly tech-savvy audiences whose expectations of the ‘IRL‘ experiences they choose are rising every year. Despite best efforts, traditional approaches to audience engagement, curation, interpretation and exhibition planning risk falling short with experiences that remain static, flat, linear and impersonal, and invite audiences to be little more than passive observers. That treat them as visitors, the same way they always have.

The ‘Be My Guest’ initiative defines a visitor as “One who visits a place or person, socially/as a tourist; is not permanent, does not belong to the area; a passer-by; not local.

It is becoming clear that, as an attitude towards our audiences, this simply isn’t good enough if we are to meet their rising demands. They – we – live in an experience economy characterised by increasingly blurred lines between the physical and digital worlds, where we carry supercomputers in our pockets that keep us topped up on entertainment-fuelled dopamine every few minutes. As a result, our expectations of everything we do and everywhere we go are changing. We want to be active participants, feel immersed and part of the experience and, most importantly, have fun.

Which means we don’t want to be visitors. Or even guests.

We want to be players.

‘Play’ should not be mistaken for frivolity – it is a fundamental, even profound motivation, and is being given a prominence in culture like never before, fuelled in large part by technology.

If we stop thinking of the people turning up at our sites as ‘visitors’ and start seeing them as ‘players’, we will start to build experiences with more of the characteristics of games: competition, challenge and reward. This is the interactivity and dynamism we crave; by making places playable, and designing them for players, not just guests or visitors, we can equip attractions to reassert their relevance in the digital era.

Visitor attractions: it’s time to say goodbye to the visitors, and hello to the players.

Kids using SEA LIFE Junior Ranger AR App