VIRTUAL TRAVELLING IN MACAO
A virtual reality app that lets you tour the city will be available soon.
Whether it is the Ruins of St Paul’s or Macao Tower, the sea view from Coloane or the architecture of the city centre, visitors can now experience Macao before travelling to the city. All they need is a smartphone application and a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles. These are products that technology company Virtualmente is developing to draw more tourists to Macao, especially younger tourists.
Virtualmente focuses on graphic design, web design, social applications and web hosting. It was founded in Portugal in 2010 and expanded its presence to the Macao market three years later. The company supplies a variety of technological products and services. It is now in the limelight owing to its latest product, OGVR Glasses, launched in March 2016.
OGVR Glasses were shown at the 2016 Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum and Exhibition (MIECF) and at the 21st Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF). The new product attracted great interest in the company and what it does, Virtualmente Operations Director Fernando Pereira tells Macao Image.
“Asians love gadgets and new technology, so I’ve found it very easy to promote our products and technology in Macao and in Asia in general. Every time I do a sales presentation of our goggles, 20 percent of the people that try it, buy it,” he says.
OGVR Glasses can be used with any type of smartphone. They immerse users in a simulated, three-dimensional environment presented by hundreds of VR apps available from the app store. The company is developing a Macao VR app, which will be available in early 2017, so users can tour a virtual version of the city. Apart from what can be seen, the app will give information about the places it shows in Cantonese, Mandarin or English, and give written information in Chinese or English – and it may give the information in spoken and written Portuguese, too.
The development of the app coincides with Macao Government’s push to diversify the city’s economy and its tourist attractions, so drawing in visitors to see the sights and experience stimulating diversions of other sorts. “This app could present Macao to the outside world, particularly the young, in a very engaging way,” Mr Pereira says.
Connecting via fairs
Mr Pereira says VR technology could easily be used in real estate. Property developers could use the app to show the interiors of virtual dwellings to prospective buyers or tenants, and thus do without a show flat. Mr Pereira says Virtualmente intends to discuss this possibility with Macao real estate companies.
Virtualmente exhibited at MIF in 2015 and 2016 and at MIECF in 2016. Mr Pereira says the fairs are ideal occasions for his company to build up its business network. “It is a very good place to build connections and try to sell our products to different places, not just Portuguese-speaking Countries and Mainland China, but also other places,” he says.
The presence of Virtualmente at the Macao fairs shows that Portuguese companies do more than just sell food and drink. “We are bringing the technology to show that Portugal is also very strong in this area,” Mr Pereira says. “We hope to bring our experience in the creative industry from Portugal to Macao.”