Shédio, the start-up promoting Algerian heritage

PARIS: Founded by sisters Feriel and Doria Tounsi, Shédio (“design” in Greek), an Algerian start-up specializing in virtual reality, offers, among other things, 3D reconstructions of historic sites. Its aim: to promote Algerian heritage and make it more attractive using digital tools.

The reconstructed frescoes. (Photo provided).

“Shedio is a company with a vision oriented towards virtual technologies and their use and integration in the world of business, culture and tourism”, specifies Arabic news in French Feriel Tounsi. She cites the example of the use of virtual reality by companies that wish to organize virtual visits to their facilities, factories or for the production of advertising or promotional documents.

The idea was born in Doria when she was a student at the School of Fine Arts in Algiers. After a master’s degree in digital marketing and new technologies, she became interested in the issue of popularizing and safeguarding heritage by associating new technologies. “Our core business is immersive marketing in which the consumer or customer is immersed in the universe of the brand or product through the virtual reality headset”, explains Feriel Tounsi, co-founder of Shédio.

Algeria
Reconstructed Basilica of Santa Salsa. (Photo provided).

Comprised of a team of designers, 3D designers, marketing specialists with degrees from leading business schools and the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Algiers, Shédio wanted to respond to a need for renewal in marketing. “Our idea is to reach young video game enthusiasts who don’t necessarily go to museums, to become virtually interested in the historic sites of our country and discover their origins and their state at the time of their construction”, explains Feriel Tounsi.

Various formats to popularize culture

According to the founders of Shédio, the aim of the start-up is to produce documentaries for the general public that can be broadcast on television channels, in tourist attractions, in museums or even during exhibitions. “The company plans to create 3D interactive virtual museums as well as a 360-visit app on the web and mobile devices. Integrating our technology into virtual reality headsets can allow tourists visiting a website to walk through it while discovering it at the time of its construction, which is called immersive content,” says Feriel Tounsi.

According to her, the 3D reconstruction of archaeological and historical sites and various monuments and objects of Algerian heritage is also beneficial for entities in the tourism sector, cultural professionals and companies wishing to present their projects. “Our goals are to create immersive content for virtual and augmented reality at the service of tourism and cultural heritage and to democratize access to Algerian cultural heritage”, says Feriel Tounsi.

Content documented and validated by experts

For the documentaries, Feriel and Doria Tounsi use the archives and turn to cultural heritage specialists such as archaeologists and historians. “Our approach has an educational purpose. The design of our documents is carried out in a very rigorous way so that the result is as faithful as possible to the original appearance”, continues the co-founder of Shédio. “To this end, we carried out extensive upstream research work with professionals and experts in the sector in question.”

According to them, Algeria has one thousand and thirty-eight historical and tourist sites, seven of which are classified as world heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). “We decided to use technology to overcome obstacles to accessing the sites, such as the deterioration of buildings or the occupation of facilities by the public administration”, explains Feriel Tounsi. “We offer a digital tourism service that combines 3D design, virtual tours and augmented virtual reality”, he highlights.

Algeria
Presentation of the Algerian Tourism Awards. (Photo provided).

The frescoed village of Tipaza reconstructed in 3D

For the first time in Algeria, tourists will be able to discover in 3D reconstruction the frescoed village located in the Roman ruins of the city of Tipaza, a coastal town located sixty kilometers west of Algiers.

Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the National Office for the Management and Exploration of Protected Cultural Assets (OGEBC), and organized by Shédio Design in partnership with the insurance company Macif, this operation will allow tourists to visit this historic site through a virtual reality headset. ear.

The two sisters are working on other projects, such as the reconstruction of the Ketchaoua mosque (Algiers) and the Roman ruins of Timgad, dubbed the “Pompeii of North Africa”. It is an ancient city located in the city of the same name, in the wilaya of Batna (Aurès region, northeast Algeria). His projects also concern Djemila, an ancient city located in the city of the same name, in the wilaya of Setif, in the northeast of the country. The Djemila site houses the remains of ancient Cuicul, a Roman city classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Start-up Shédio was a finalist in the Emerging Valley edition in 2021 and received the first prize of the Best Start-up Trophy at the second edition of the Argeria Tourism Awards 2021.

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