As Tokyo is set to host the Olympics in 2020, the government is expected to have an influx of foreigners visiting the capital for the event and its numerous tourist spots, including the Shibuya district. Considering the maze-like quality of the Shibuya Station, a start-up company called Boxyz has created a smartphone application that will allow visitors in the area to know where they are and where they’re headed.
The “Shibuya Pedestrian Navi” app uses around 60 Bluetooth transmitters to collect data from the smartphone. It also has a technology called AR, or augmented reality, that instructs users on where to go, whether left or right, according to the digital information it gets based on views from the real world. Users will see a map display on their screens with an icon that represents them. The starting point for the icon is the user’s exact location, which will be determined via the smartphone’s camera and scanning the location. Arrows will come up on-screen to help the user navigate their way to the destination.
Many agencies from a public-private association have supported the new app, including the Transport Ministry, the University of Tokyo, KDDI telecom, wireless providers and four railway firms, including JR East, Keio, Tokyu and Tokyo Metro. “The number of international visitors will keep growing in the runup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This is the first step toward making Japanese cities easier for travelers to navigate,” said an association official.
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