Ready for Vodafone 4G? We're kicking off a tour of the UK to showcase what 4G really means for you, all with the help of some pretty pioneering technology.

vodafonecityscape

Our ultrafast 4G network is well into its rollout across the UK, and we’ve been planning something a bit special to bring the Vodafone 4G experience to life. Starting from this week, we’re heading out on a tour of our 4G cities with an amazing augmented reality-based 4G cityscape to let you explore what 4G, along with #4GSport and #4GMusic, really means for you.

Hang on…augmented what now? We’ve been talking to the Vodafone team behind the tech – to explain what it’s all about.

 

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“The Vodafone 4G tour will allow people to have an amazing augmented reality (AR) experience that brings to life the fantastic benefits of the Vodafone 4G offering,” says Helen Cullen. “The easiest way to explain augmented reality is that it’s a live view of a physical, real-world environment with extra computer-generated information that’s added onto a screen you’re looking through. It’s similar to a fighter pilot’s view of cross hairs in their visor.”

Instead of crosshairs, though, we’ll be giving you a view of city life like you’ve never seen it before. Helen explains: “When people visit the 4G cityscape, they’ll see a city model that comes to life before their eyes using that augmented reality technology.

“You’ll stand in front of a large 3D model holding a Sony Xperia Tablet Z, and when you move it over the scenery, the city comes to life on the screen. You’ll be able to move through the streets and discover various things that demonstrate what Vodafone 4G’s all about and how it can make your mobile life even better.”

The science bit…

So how does augmented reality actually work? It’s pretty technical stuff, but it’s all about mapping physical objects and pinning them to positions in a virtual world.

“It feels like quite a magical experience, but the Vodafone 4G cityscape is rooted in cutting edge technology,” says Helen. “The approach we’re using is based on the positioning of visual cues or ‘markers’, which are seen by the tablet’s camera. Those markers are used to create moving images that are displayed to the user on the tablet screen.”

The result? It really looks like all of that happens as if it’s really taking place in the scaled down city streets in front of you.

“The use of AR combined with physical objects is pioneering stuff.”

“The use of AR combined with physical objects is pioneering stuff,” Helen adds. In fact the team behind the tour reckon it’s one of the largest AR experiences ever done. It’s certainly the biggest they’ve ever built.

“We’ll be harnessing every bit of each tablet’s available processing power to create fully animated content, and to render all that on a scale larger than anything attempted before.

“At 2.5m long, the 4G cityscape is both complex and challenging, but we’ve been able to create realistic looking vehicles and people to really bring the city itself to life. It’s pretty ambitious, but we think it does a great job of bringing 4G to life.”

The Vodafone 4G cityscape will be touring around the UK over the coming months, starting this weekend at the Westfield Shopping centre. The next tour dates and places are as follows:

– Manchester Trafford Centre – Friday 1st-Sunday 3rd Nov
– Sheffield Meadowhall – Friday 15th – 17th Nov
– Birmingham Bull Ring – Friday 22nd– 24th Nov

Going on tour… We’ll be heading to a host of other 4G cities, so stay tuned for more very soon.