New Augmented Reality competition will enhance the visitor experience in Northern Ireland

Dave Vincent, Tourism NI Chief Digital Officer joins Eoin McFadden, Department for the Economy, Carson McNab, Digital Catapult NI and Phillip O’Neill, Department for Communities to launch the SBRI tourism augmented reality competition. ©Press Eye/Darren Kidd

Tourism NI, in partnership with the Department for Communities, Digital Catapult NI and Matrix announced a new £70,000 competition to encourage tourism -focused innovation in Augmented Reality (AR). The competition is seeking to promote and test in market the deployment of AR technology in tourism contexts. This is the first of a series of exciting opportunities using innovative technologies within the tourism sector.

The competition provides opportunities that may include multilingual signposting and way-finding, immersive storytelling and the provision of an enhanced visitor experience at remote or unmanned tourist and historic heritage sites. The competition, which is part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), will also help to identify and test new supporting operational and commercial models for AR in tourism.

Dave Vincent, Tourism Northern Ireland Chief Digital Officer, said, “We are keen to find new innovative ways to encourage visitors to explore more, do more and spend more during their visit to Northern Ireland outside of the traditional tourism hotspots. This SBRI competition provides a great opportunity for us to work with highly innovative companies to explore how augmented reality can enrich our visitor experience.”

Welcoming the competition, Tom Gray, Head of Digital Catapult NI said, “Immersive technologies, including augmented reality, are an extremely promising opportunity for new business models and applications. This competition will help provide practical demonstrators of how AR can add value in existing sectors such as tourism and also showcase creative and digital talent.”

Philip O’Neill, from the Department for Communities, said: “We see this as a great opportunity to work with our partners to help provide wayfarer information and digital presence at remote heritage locations. This will help enhance and broaden the visitor experience and provide us with important feedback.”

Further information about the competition can be found on the Tourism NI website at

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