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Honor launches AR-focused ‘Gateway to the Future’ campaign

David Murphy

Handset maker Honor has launched its ‘Gateway to the Future’ campaign, an initiative that it said is designed to enrich cultural heritage through the power of technology. Honor has challenged two popular artists to creatively reimagine the Wasserschloss, an iconic landmark located in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site using augmented reality (AR). The project aims to inspire global creative talent to leverage innovations such as AI, AR and Spatial Audio to connect communities with culture in more immersive ways and support the global tourism rebound, as the world embraces the connected future.

“As a global technology company, Honor is committed to developing smart device technology which enables people to celebrate and experience cultural treasures from the past while also discovering the possibilities of the future,” said Honor CEO, George Zhao. “We predict the rise of AR and AI technologies being used to create even more ‘phygital’ experiences for smartphone users around the world, contributing to the hybrid tourism boom. Beyond tourism, this technology has the potential to benefit a number of other industries and communities. It really is the Gateway to the Future.”

Renowned for being Germany‘s “Gateway to the World”, Hamburg evolved from a port city to a thriving metropolis by embracing a longstanding culture of community, collaboration and innovation. Inspired by the city’s history of transformation, Honor chose Hamburg as the pilot location for the project, with the aim of contributing to the digital cultural boom and inspiring people from all around the world to reimagine cultural treasures in the metaverse.

To bring the project to life, Honor partnered with ARLOOPA, an AR and VR development company, and celebrated artists Yunuene and Timo Helgert, who creatively transformed the famous Wasserschloss building in AR. 

Yunuene’s contribution to Gateway to the Future, entitled ‘Sailing Through Time’, pays tribute to the evolution of the city’s port, showing how innovation in marine logistics transformed over time with her signature visual aesthetic. Timo Helgert’s experience ‘Blooming Future’ takes a more futuristic approach, playing on Hamburg’s status as one of the greenest cities in the world and creatively imagining what the Wasserschloss would look like in a green future where beautiful plants and endangered species can thrive.

Hybrid tourism
Through the experience, Honor also aims to make a contribution to hybrid tourism, an emerging trend following the global tourism rebound, whereby travellers are expecting digital advances made during the pandemic to benefit and augment physical travel experiences. The AR experiences at the Wasserschloss bring the digital and physical worlds together, allowing travellers to experience culture in a totally new w
ay.

“The Warehouse District was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015 with the aim of protecting and preserving the history and culture of one of the world's largest trading ports,” said Bernd Paulowitz, Head of UNESCO World Heritage Hamburg. “Through the advent of emerging technologies, including augmented reality, it is now possible to educate and engage future generations about cultural heritage in new and exciting ways. We were therefore proud to be able to help Honor’s Gateway to the Future initiative, which not only offers a celebration of the district’s significance to Germany, but also its exciting future as a global metropolis.”

Launched as part of the Honor Talents Global Design Awards, Gateway to the Future also aims to inspire creative talent from all around the world to harness technology and reimagine their own communities in the era of the metaverse. For the first time, Honor Talents is introducing a dedicated AR Interactive Artwork Design category, and is now accepting applications for digital art that transforms local neighborhoods, including digital overlays for buildings, walls, parks, and other public spaces. Artists interested in the contest can find more information here

Available until the end of the year, the Gateway to the Future AR experiences can be accessed through the dedicated Honor page on the free-to-download ARLOOPA app. Users have the option to experience the AR artworks on site in Hamburg, or anywhere in the world. The on-site experience is anchored to the Wasserschloss building, and can be viewed from the Poggenmühlen-Brücke, the bridge opposite the landmark. Users who are not in Hamburg can select “experience on any surface” on the app and follow the on-screen instructions to virtually check out the AR experience on a flat surface nearby.