Singaporean congregants attend VR Umrah course (Translated from BeritaMediacorp)

Over the past months, IGNITE VR has been working hard with our partner from Shahidah Travel to develop a VR experience that can allow Muslims going to Mecca for Umrah (an Islamic pilgrimage) to prepare for the trip in Singapore first by using Virtual Reality. The pilot programme was launched recently and we are continuing to work together with Shadidah Trave to use VR to enhance the Islamic pilgrimage journey.

This translated article below was first published on BERITA Mediacorp website in Malay on 15/12/2019.
See original article here.

“On 15th December, approximately 150 Singaporean congregants became the first in the country to attend an Umrah course with VR technology.

With the VR gear, attendees get to realistically experience the routines and rituals of Umrah before even setting foot on the Holy Lands

BeritaMediacorp explored how the technology is applied, what its benefits are, and how course attendees felt after their VR experiences.

While VR technology is de rigeur in gaming and the like, it can now be used to further religious education.

Prospective pilgrims under tour agency Shahidah Travel and Tours were in Sultan Mosque this morning for an Umrah seminar, and saw firsthand how VR could transport them to Mecca to stand before the Kaabah.

The experience is part of the new Umrah course syllabus provided by Shahidah Travel and Tours, and is expected to be rolled out to Hajj congregations in the future as well. The first 150 attendees are scheduled to depart for the Holy Lands in the coming months.

The VR component of the course is interesting because it provides a much more immersive learning experience for attendees. Furthermore, attendees get to experience something they most probably will not be able to in real life, which is to be inside the Kaabah itself.

The VR course also benefits Shahidah Travels, as it makes the courses and seminars easier to facilitate and more effective.

Attendees have reacted positively to having VR involved in their Umrah course. Most find being able to see the surroundings in the holy mosque very helpful, even those who have been there before in real life.

The VR experience took around six months to prepare, and Shahidah Travels benefited from a $40,000 government grant to fund the project.

The company is keen to expand on using the technology, having seen the success of possibly being the first in Southeast Asia to offer VR Umrah courses. With the potential to scale, who knows how else the technology can change the tourist agency industry landscape?”