Built in 1405 by the Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung palace in Korea is one of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ and the only one to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It attracts 18 million+ visitors each year and is a major source of cultural pride for Korean people. Over 10,000 of the annual visitors have physical disabilities. As the first carrier in the world to launch a commercial 5G network, SKT wanted to use their tech to make the world a little better and came across the 'Barrier Free Cultural Property Viewing Policy' of the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea. In palaces where the values of preservation and utilization can clash, this project was about overcoming the limitations of accessibility using 5G powered AR.The team set out to create a first of its kind Augmented Reality guided tour to make Changdeokgung palace barrier free for all to enjoy. Visitors are greeted by the virtual guide and mythological guardian of the palace, Haechi, and are taken around an eclectic mix of educational, immersive moments, granting unprecedented access to areas of the palace otherwise reserved for the non-disabled. Visitors can explore secret portals and partake in ancient customs and traditions with members of the Joseon court, sensitively brought to life in AR. Areas of the palace including a secret garden, which has limited access, were recreated entirely in AR. During the tour, Haechi shares historical information and points out objects of significance, imparting wisdom from times gone by.
The experience is aimed at the 18 million visitors each year to Changdeokgung Palace and, more specifically, the 110,000 annual visitors with physical limitations. The ripple effect of the project has been far greater though, with people downloading the ‘at home’ version remotely from across the world as well as people reading about the experience online across social media and news channels. The mobile device was key to the experience and every detail of the project was designed and adapted to suit the medium, ensuring the highest possible quality was achieved. The project pushes the boundaries of location based AR, demonstrating to consumers what is coming next for 5G ready handsets. 5G permits even richer, more interactive, higher fidelity AR experiences to be accessed in any location where traditional wifi cannot be accessed. It removes the creative boundaries set by data limitations.
Commercial or Social Value:
Changdeok ARirang is paving the way for the future of cultural experiences, demonstrating the incredible potential of 5G technology, making history and culture accessible to all. Over 147,000 articles were published about Changdeok ARirang on the day of its launch. When the ‘at home’ version was released over 250,000 people downloaded the app in just 4 months. The app has been really well received maintaining a 4 star rating on the app store with lots of positive responses across social media. The point of Changdeok ARirang was not to drive sales but rather to build brand resonance.