Information Technology expert Mr. Yaqoob Al Awadhi said that the initiative of government and private entities in the Kingdom of Bahrain to expand the use of VR and AR technologies in sectors such as tourism, entertainment, industry, and education would produce millions of dinars in revenues, referring in this context to a report recently published by “Forbes” in which it expected the value of the VR and AR market in the region to reach 6 billion dollars.

Al Awadhi explained that AR is a technique based on rebuilding the components of reality in a virtual environment, with the possibility of adding other components and information and making this environment available to users by wearing special smart glasses or even through their computers or smartphones. He pointed out that Bahrain has a proper infrastructure for highspeed internet connection and experienced national cadres that will establish Bahrain as a home for manufacturing and re-exporting this technology.

“AR is revolutionizing tourism industry, especially in light of social distancing and limited travel. Many Bahraini tourist attractions can be redesigned virtually and made available via the Internet for free or for symbolic sums. Tourists can enjoy a virtual opportunity to visit Bahrain via a cruise ship, a tour in the Manama market and Complex 338 in Adliya, a cruise from Bu Maher Fort, or a free jump in Gravity Village, all within breathtaking minutes that will entice the tourist to visit Bahrain and live the experience.” Al Awadhi said.

In the same context, he explained that there is a great opportunity to use smart AR applications and audio and video systems to reproduce major events in Bahrain, such as the Formula 1 race, the International Airshow, the Arab Jewelry Exhibition, the Bahrain Shopping Festival, and others, and to make these events available to the whole world.

“VR and AR technology could introduce a new dimension to the curriculum, especially in light of online education. Let us imagine together that we can take our students on a trip to Addison's lab where electricity was invented, or on a tour inside the solar system, or creating a rainbow of colors between the seats of children in their early school stages, or helping all students share their stories with their teachers and classmates, and help them with their homework.” He added.

He affirmed that eLearning does not mean merely providing lessons and information through visual communication applications such as Zoom and others, and transferring the paper curriculum itself to the Internet, but rather developing an interactive virtual environment. He explained that there are many VR and AR educational applications produced by companies such as Google, but we need additional applications that reflect our culture and heritage and reinforce the higher values in the hearts of our children.

Al Awadhi, CEO of the "NGN" Training Center, said that the center worked during the past year to train Bahrainis in VR and AR technology, and added:

"Through our rich experience, we have seen the extent of the national cadres’ ability to innovate in modern technologies and keep pace with the accelerating global trend of using VR and AR technology in the field of engineering design, robotics, manufacturing industries and others.