Manchester Christmas Markets opened this morning and this year they come with a taste of Augmented Reality.

Futuristic tech will give the Christmas Markets a digital upgrade as a new augmented reality app is revealed for the first time at the festive attraction.

The “buzzin” app – which is free to download on iOS and Android will bring the Christmas Markets digitally to life, allowing users to explore the event in a new, interactive and entertaining way.

Visitors can use the app to find their way around, look for points of interest around the markets, and there’s even a Pokemon Go-style game to keep the kids happy.

For example, by scanning the much-loved Christmas Market mugs the visitor will be rewarded by a special Christmas treat, or by using the phone’s camera to look at the attraction, useful pointers will appear on the screen from toilets and cash machines, to various market stalls or the ice rink.

The Catch the Elves augmented reality game will challenge young people to find five elves hiding in Cathedral Gardens by using the app to throw a snowball at their targets – and there’s a reward for those who can catch all five.

buzzin was created in collaboration with CityVerve – Manchester’s Internet of Things smart city demonstrator.

The CityVerve project brings together the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, deployed at city scale to deliver transformative benefits.

Cllr Pat Karney, Manchester City Council’s Christmas spokesperson, said: “Our world-famous Christmas Markets will enjoy a futuristic make over when they open this week. Be transported in the online festive world through the buzzin app and you’ll be fully immersed in our markets. I can’t wait to have a go.”

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