Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre Opens its Virtual Doors

23 September 2020

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre has partnered with local, up-and-coming XR (extended reality) technology company JIX Reality to launch a virtual tour of the centre.


The Christchurch-based company specialises in building digital experiences to meet real world industry need, in Te Pae Christchurch’s case immersive true-to-life technology to showcase the building to potential Te Pae Christchurch clients and the community.

The result is a virtual tour that can be viewed online, or using a phone, iPad or virtual reality headset. A separate iPad app is also available.
 
Each experience starts at Te Pae Christchurch’s main Oxford Terrace entrance and Ground Floor Foyer before “guests” visit the centre’s array of flexible and modern spaces, including the 1,400 seat Auditorium; the Rivers Room – a 1,000 seat banquet space; the 2,800sqm Exhibition Halls and an array of smaller meeting rooms and pre-function areas.
 
Depending on the viewing method, the tour either follows a pre-determined path, or users can undertake a self-guided 360 degree experience and visit specific spaces.
 
“In developing this product we wanted to look at the expertise available in Christchurch first,” Te Pae Christchurch General Manager Ross Steele said. “It’s really important for us to be part of and support our community, so to have all that knowledge and creativity that JIX Reality brought located just down the road was just fantastic. It made collaborating on this project so easy – we’re thrilled with what they have produced.”
 
“Christchurch is well-known for being innovative and pushing the envelope in those areas where it has the expertise and passion to make a difference, so it’s little surprise that hi-tech solutions are one of the city’s growth industries,” Mr Steele said.
 
“JIX Reality is a great example of this, the team are forward-thinking and creative – they came up with some industry-leading ideas and had the technological capability to make it a reality. And when we needed to look at solutions that would allow us to open our doors, so to speak, while the borders remained closed – they quickly adapted our new virtual product to suit.”

JIX Reality Founder and CEO Sakthi Ranganathan said “Right from the get-go, our objective was to not offer a standardised product or agency service but rather create a customised experience for Te Pae Christchurch's customers.

“What you see today is the result of a successful co-creation process led by Te Pae Christchurch's team. We have a flexible approach to development that allows for adaptations to unforeseen circumstances like the current pandemic, and in fact over time, the final product evolved from being solely a virtual reality experience to being an experience that can be enjoyed virtually by anyone anywhere in the world, regardless of device,” Mr Ranganathan said.

“We are excited to continue the partnership with Te Pae Christchurch and look forward to rolling out many more digital experiences that will be the first of their kind in New Zealand".

Te Pae Christchurch connected with JIX Reality through the University of Canterbury’s School of Product Design, based at the university’s College of Engineering. Mr Ranganathan is a former student of the college’s HIT Lab. Also operating as a research innovation hub, JIX Reality is a place where research, industry and students come together to test new ideas, explore the latest tech and build prototypes.

“We work closely with the university in conjunction with ChristchurchNZ and Tourism New Zealand to identify and bring conferences to Christchurch that support their expertise and research goals – a prime example being the 2022 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces,” Mr Steele said.

“When we began investigating the idea of a virtual tour of the centre, we knew that we wanted to work with a Christchurch-based company or education provider – so it was a natural fit to reach out to the university for their advice.”  

To download the tour visit www.tepae.co.nz/gallery.