Reach out for our Augmented Reality-Stars to learn more about the European Open Science Cloud

Grab your phone and take a walk to explore 11 Brussels-based buildings that will teach you more about how those organisations and the EU institutions contribute to the European Open Science Cloud. LucidWeb’s goal was to build a journey that combines compelling insights via a gamified experience in the most user-friendly way. All you need is your smartphone and a working internet connection to start your tour. Curious? Then, keep on reading.

LucidWeb has participated in the Stars4Media initiative, an exchange and training programme for young media professionals to accelerate media innovation and cross-border coverage in Europe. The project is co-funded by the European Commission with consortium partners SMIT, Europe’s Media Lab, WAN-IFRA and The European Federation of Journalism.

The LucidWeb team had the pleasure to team up with EURACTIV, a pan-European news organisation based in Brussels, with a view to bringing European policy and politics closer to its citizens thanks to augmented reality via the web.

This collaboration allowed the EURACTIV team to break new ground by bringing the world of Augmented Reality closer to themselves and their readership. Quality news and knowledge can be passed on directly to the customer in a creative and extraordinary way. The partnership has created new opportunities for both companies to expand and benefit from one another. To enable a successful collaboration, both the technological expertise of LucidWeb and the journalistic excellence of Euractiv had to be combined.

The gamified WebAR experience is used to discover key insights on 11 Brussels-based buildings in and around the city. To do so, the teams have decided to focus on giving visibility to a specific EU initiative — the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) — and the related buildings that pave the way towards its implementation and vision. EOSC is a new trusted, digital platform for the scientific community, with the objective to provide seamless access to data and interoperable services that address the whole research data cycle. Not only from discovery and mining the storage but also for management, analysis and re-use across borders and scientific disciplines.

An engagement process was initiated with a first EOSC Summit in June 2017, resulting in the EOSC Declaration endorsed by more than 70 institutions. The public and private investment needed to implement the European Cloud Initiative was estimated at €6.7 billion. So far, €400 million have been invested in EOSC since 2017.

The idea behind the project includes to spark people’s interest in the streets of Brussels and let them discover key insights into different organisations linked to EOSC. These include, among other political institutions, the European Commission or the European Parliament as well as Associations (European University Associations) and one university, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Another important political institution that is part of the experience is the Council of the EU in which government ministers from each EU country meet to discuss, amend and adopt laws, and coordinate policies.

In order to be able to activate the relevant information on the respective facilities, there is a poster with a suitable QR code next to each building. After the code has been scanned with the smartphone, the information is immediately available on the browser of the users’ phone.

11 Brussels-based EOSC buildings are part of LucidAREurope

LucidWeb thrives in WebAR technology, but of course, the experience also showcases unique creative assets. For this, LucidWeb collaborated with London-based 3D studio Poplar. LucidWeb asked Poplar to provide an animated 3D version of the logo of the European Open Science Cloud. Another design created by Poplar was the gold-colored stars as a visual reference to the European Union States. Three Poplar designers pitched their creative work in 3D, which led us to choose the low poly proposal that stood out, unique in animation, colours and shape.

The project officially started in early July and went live on September 25th. The project challenged both teams on different levels: Euractiv didn’t roll out an interactive campaign before, so by collaborating they were introduced to a completely new technical jargon linked to interactive technologies.

Next, the campaign demonstrated again how difficult it can be to define a language that is accessible to the audience, but still succeeds in including all technical details to be able to fully enjoy the AR experience on a mobile device. Last but not least, the biggest issue arose when the campaign almost had to go live. The original idea was to put a sticker in the ‘area’ of a building: Far enough to be able to observe the building through the browser window, but close enough to easily link the insights to the building.

During the course of the project, the sticker became a poster format and this did impact the feasibility of placing the stickers easily in the area of the building. So not all posters were placed street-side, but some were placed at the main entrance of the building. Then again, this approach required the approval of the respective organisations and institutions delaying the last phase of the project campaign.

Teamwork makes the dream work: fortunately, LucidWeb and Euractiv managed to overcome these challenges through excellent communication and guerrilla marketing strategies to end up with an impressive project and an extraordinary experience.

Credits go to Charlotte Pfeifer for the research and editorial work.

Your partner in all things #WebXR. WebXR players & educational experiences for brands & VR production agencies. Making it easy for everyone to get into XR.