ACM goes hyper-personal with a new virtual museum host by TAIGER
Asian Civilisations Museum launches 3D virtual tours with specially curated tour narratives to give visitors a more personal and educative way to experience art.
You can now visit the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) from wherever you are, with the launch of 3D virtual museum tours built with its own AI assistant. Named Allie, ACM’s virtual museum guide brings to life the Materials and Designs collection’s Jewellery gallery—the world’s first permanent gallery to spotlight Southeast Asian jewellery.
Allie was released on ACM’s website this June, and officially launched this November in an exclusive media showcase held at the museum.
The breakthrough solution seamlessly blends 3D space capture technology and an AI chatbot. This closely mimics the experience of interacting with the museum artefacts together with a personal tour guide, but through a digital lens.
At a highly opportune time where art sectors must rethink traditional patterns of art consumption, these virtual experiential tours optimistically point the way forward for the industry.
We officially launched Allie at a media showcase at ACM
We walked guests and representatives from leading local media titles through the new virtual museum guide. TAIGER’s Head of Government Business Jaron Ong introduced Allie’s intelligent features, even showing users how they can pose questions for Allie to answer.
Leaders from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and NHB graced the media launch. They shared the importance placed on digitalising our cultural heritage to expand its reach.
These efforts are designed to augment physical museum visits, as NHB’s Chief Information Officer Mohamed Hardi mentioned in an interview with CNA. What Allie does is entice visitors to make return visits and see the museum in real life as well. Together, the two experiences create a ‘physical‘ to significantly take customer interaction up a notch.
Local radio station, Capital 95.8FM also picked up the story, diving deeper into how NHB is championing digital initiatives by leveraging IMDA’s Open Innovation Platform (OIP) and the Accreditation@SGD programme. These initiatives help identify solution providers who can meet rising digitalisation demands. TAIGER is one such vendor accredited by IMDA on the established accreditation programme.
An inside look: ACM’s 3D capture cameras and AI assistant
With 3D capture cameras, ACM’s galleries are first transformed into dimensionally accurate 360-degree simulations, otherwise called ‘digital twins’. What users see are realistic representations of real-world spaces that they can freely navigate and pan in and out.
AI then builds on this 3D base in the form of a virtual museum host, i.e. chatbot, created by Omnitive Converse—a virtual assistant solution by TAIGER.
The chatbot assumes the integral role of an on-site, private tour guide using humanistic conversational AI capabilities. Namely, Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding, Ontology and Machine Learning technology give Omnitive Converse the ability to engage individuals in human-like conversations.
This ‘hybrid AI’ approach as we call it allows the smart bot to understand human intent, natural language context, synonyms, and even malformed sentences of Singlish. Omnitive Converse would greet and lead visitors through the different virtual displays within the galleries. It uses guided dialogues personalised according to both their interactions with the bot and the National Heritage Board’s (NHB) curated tour narratives.
Users would be able to access the 3D space and virtual assistant simultaneously, to learn about exhibits and pose questions in natural language where necessary. This way, the user experience more heedfully mimics a guided experiential art tour occurring on-site; visitors are free to roam immersive exhibits and yet receive humanistic guidance while doing so.
These technologies create a more one-to-one experience beyond the museum walls
In many ways, ACM’s new virtual museum host also complements real-world museum tours. The learning experience becomes far more comprehensive as no questions are left unanswered in this digital tour.
Omnitive’s search fallback functionality opens access to an exhaustive digital database. This allows Allie to address unanticipated or challenging questions posed by visitors, without being limited by human knowledge or memory.
From a logistical standpoint, taking ACM’s museums beyond its walls lowers its overhead and eliminates all physical boundaries. Museumgoers would no longer be limited by the finite capacity of art exhibits and staff alike, all while retaining the highly immersive and one-to-one tour experience. Globetrotters from all around the world would be granted seamless access to a cross-border cultural exchange, to experience artefacts and sites otherwise difficult to transport offsite.
ACM’s solution showcases an intelligent way to scale enriched visitor experiences
The local museum’s novel solution models the way for greater customer experience innovation—one that is resilient to adversity and crisis.
Sporadic border easing and tightening happening worldwide are signalling an impetus for more long-term initiatives to guarantee accessibility to arts and culture.
Despite sitting in the creative industry, ACM has commendably demonstrated the efficacy of AI in organising and humanising abstract art forms to vastly enhance its accessibility at scale. The museum has shown that experiential tours like this could become a staple in the future of art consumption.
What's next for ACM and museum tech?
ACM and TAIGER have plans to further extend this project with more virtual museum hosts underway. One of them is for the Malay Heritage Centre, as Jaron shared at the showcase.
The duo’s partnership is part of a larger digital transformation plan, which includes other projects such as an online heritage resource repository with the National Heritage Board, called roots.gov.sg.
For now, have a go at touring ACM’s Jewellery gallery here, up close with a personal touch.