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Augmented reality (Representational picture) Reuters

Thanks to the revolution in the field of technology from health to business, the world is witnessing an unbelievable era. As per experts, those days are not so far when people will step over the remaining barriers and achieve something which is currently unbelievable. In this dream run to clinch the success, Singapore has also stepped forward and decided to turn the city-state into a Smart Nation, by harnessing technology to the fullest with the aim of improving the lives of citizens, creating more opportunities, and building stronger communities.

While smart technologies are the rage these days, the National Parks Board (NParks) is enthusiastically adopting an array of tech solutions – from using Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) to develop predictive models of how trees respond to the weather conditions, to using drones for trimming lawns and monitoring marine life.

In March this year, NParks has launched 36 km Coast-to-Coast (C2C) Trail connecting Coney Island Park in the north-east with Jurong Lake Gardens in the west on March 30. The online guide of the C2C trail comes with its own augmented reality (AR) app, which includes 3D-animated characters that help to provide clear information about native flora and fauna and surrounding areas of interest. This is the latest of four different mobile apps launched by NParks to date.

Since the official launch of the AR app, developed by Revez Corporation, it has hit over 20,000 downloads which means 2,800 new downloads every month on average. As per the company, users have so far generated over 23,000 posts with the app, sharing photos of their experiences on the trail. More than 3,400 rewards have also been given out to users for their engagement on the platform.

It should be mentioned that the creators of the AR app is quietly behind many of the digital platforms and displays used by public agencies in Singapore. The tech staff have worked on a wide range of projects - from robotic process automation (RPA) software to augmented reality (AR) solutions; ranging from government agencies like the National Gallery to the Land Transport Authority, as well as giant brands like Nestle and even financial institutions like Citibank.

The co-founder of Revez told IBTimes Singapore that the app is a product of both recent technological trends, as well as the Singapore government's eagerness to adopt new tech from observing private industry use cases. He mentioned that "We live in an age where nearly everyone owns a smartphone, with cheaper data plans, and higher quality cameras and sensors. Those trends already have, and will continue to change the way we interact with the physical world around us, especially with technologies like augmented reality, and IoT."

"I think Singapore government agencies like NParks have been remarkably adept at keeping pace with innovations in the tech space, and finding ways in which the same technology that brought Pokemon Go users out in droves, can be also used to engage citizens in public spaces. "Behavioural principles like gamification, and user-generated content are new ways in which public spaces can continue to be relevant to new generations of digital natives, and the government agencies we work with like NParks have been enthusiastic adopters of that."

The app overlays visual information, hosting a series of AR characters to complement the real-world user experience and surrounding areas of interest using a smartphone camera. It also includes a reward system where hikers can accumulate points by visiting checkpoints, completing quests, hunting for augmented fruits or sharing photos. These points can be in turn exchanged for rewards in the form of things like gift vouchers.

However, as these new technologies become common, Victor believes that REVEZ is well-positioned to fill that gap in providing end-to-end digital solutions for institutions looking to keep a pace with a changing world, especially in the rapidly growing Southeast Asian markets.

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