Thursday, 2 June 2016

Virtual reality tours to lure investors

A TECH company is offering virtual tours of an Australian state to help lure investors and potential trading partners Down Under.
The rise of 3D virtual reality headsets to provide users with an immersive interactive experience has made the leap from video games to business tool.
Technology company Georama provides virtual reality tours of South Australia to help market the state overseas and lure investors to the state.
Operations manager Chas Adlard said the company began creating full screen, 360-degree high-resolution displays of South Australia to help market the state as a tourist destination and highlight some of its key industries.
“As we move to an increasingly digital environment, the ability to adequately provide contextual data becomes more important,” he said.
“Virtual Reality is a completely immersive media, which is as close to reality as possible without actually being there.”
Georama’s South Australian virtual tours are regularly viewed by potential tourists and school students in the United States, China and Hong Kong.
In 2015, the South Australian virtual tours had almost three million views world wide.
Adlard said the company had been focused on attracting more tourists to South Australia from its Chinese sister-state Shandong but was now expanding its reach to also target businesses and potential investors.
“People in Shandong can now take virtual tours through South Australia. Having seen it through virtual reality, we hope that many people will decide to come here in person and buy more of our products,” he said.
“Presentation of the environment via virtual reality media will have a direct impact on exports and also promote tourism.
“When Shandong purchases products from South Australia, the resale value is partially based on the reputation of South Australia as a clean, green, high quality and prestige origin.”
Georama is featured on SASD Connect – an new investment website to assist bilateral trade between South Australia and Shandong, its Sister State of 30 years.
The tech firm began in 2006 after creating virtual street walkthroughs of South Australia’s capital Adelaide.
Georama then travelled around the state and used gigapixel photography to capture panoramic images of bushland and wine regions.
All of the captured images are available by using virtual reality glasses like the Oculus Rift to view them.
This allows the user to walk through South Australia without having to physically fly there.
Georama has also created eight 40-metre wall murals of South Australian bushland using more than 1200 photos and high-resolution photography for Ocean Park Hong Kong, where it was used to help koalas, wallabies and other Australian wildlife feel comfortable in their new environment.
China is Australia’s and also South Australia’s largest and most significant two-way trading partner, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the state’s total exports.
Last year, the two sister-states signed a Friendly Co-operation Action Plan 2015-2018 - committing both states to significantly increase trade, investment and cultural ties.
SASD Connect is an investment website that was set up by the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) in response to the action plan.
LGA Senior Policy Advisor of Economic Development Skana Gallery said the website supported wider trade and connected businesses with prequalified opportunities. 
“We’re interested in bringing more business to South Australia and in China they do business based on relationship and trust,” she said.
“Georama has a place in promoting services to Shandong and it may encourage some businesses to engage with us.”

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