Now that last week’s snow is ancient history, and that everyone went back to work this sorry Monday morning, I thought I’d share something pretty cool that happened to some Chiltern Railways commuters experienced on their way to London.
To brighten their commute to work when it blatantly should have been a snow day, Chiltern Railways teamed up with Tourism Western Austrailia to celebrate the first ever non-stop flight between the UK and down under.
To celebrate, TWA handed out Samsung Gear headsets to each commuter, to give them a taste of what Australia has to offer. The interactive experience let passengers meet various forms of wildlife, including a peaceful swim with a gentle whale shark and a meeting with a friendly Quokka.
It’s not often that a cool story comes our way, so we just wanted to share with you what Tourism Western Australia are doing for people on such a gloomy day. I’m certainly a little jealous I wasn’t there to experience it.
But now on to the serious stuff. The non-stop flight is being run by airline Qantas, and is connecting London with Perth using their luxury Dreamliner plane. The entire flight will take a whopping 17 hours, but I’m sure doing it in one go, rather than stopping over for a few hours and returning to another flight will be worth it.
Dr Darrel Greenhill, head of the Department of Networks and Digital Media at Kingston University, which boasts the Centre for Augmented and Virtual Reality Environments, said: “We’re just getting started in terms of what is possible for virtual reality. I would imagine we will start to see VR being used much more widely over the next few years.
“I don’t think it will be long before commuters using VR becomes a commonplace reality – in some ways it’s surprising more people aren’t doing it already.
“The VR experience could be specifically designed to take the user away from the drudgery of the daily commute. There are so many possibilities for this technology – visiting a place you’ve never been, games, educational purposes or even doing your shopping virtually.
“One issue is how immersive it is – so perhaps integrating the technology with the journey or locations would allow commuters to receive notifications when they reach their stop. And augmented reality could be an alternative to virtual reality for commuters as it is less intrusive and you can see what’s going on around you at the same time.”
Paul Papalia, Minister for Tourism, Western Australia, said: “Visitors from the UK will be able to fly non-stop to Perth, from March 25, with Qantas using the latest in aviation technology. To celebrate this history-making flight we wanted to give London commuters a taste of some of the extraordinary experiences waiting for them in Western Australia using state of the art VR technology. Western Australia boasts stunning landscapes, unique wildlife, flawless beaches, wonderful wine regions and endless sunshine – everything you need to brighten up a cold morning commute.”
Alan Riley, Customer Services Director, Chiltern Railways, said: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and we want to make sure that they enjoy a great experience every time they travel with us. We’re excited to be partnering with Tourism Western Australia on this project, giving our customers the chance to enjoy a commute they will never forget – travelling into the future!”