PARIS: Founded by the sisters Feriel and Doria Tounsi, Shédio (“design” in Greek), an Algerian start-up specializing in virtual reality, offers, among other things, 3D reconstructions of historical sites. Its goal: to promote Algerian heritage and make it more attractive by using digital tools.
“Scedio 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. He cites the example of the use of virtual reality by companies wishing to organize virtual tours of their premises, their factories or for the production of advertising or promotional documents.
The idea was born at 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, you are interested in the theme of dissemination and protection of heritage by combining 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 viewer”, explains Feriel Tounsi, co-founder of Shédio.
Made up of a team of designers, 3D designers, marketing specialists graduated from the main 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 out to young video game enthusiasts who do not necessarily go to museums, to take a virtual interest in the historical sites of our country and to discover their origins and their status at the time of their construction”, explains Feriel Tounsi.
Various formats to spread the culture
According to the founders of Shédio, the goal of the start-up is to produce documentaries for the general public that could be broadcast on television channels, in tourist sites, in museums or even during exhibitions. “The company plans to create interactive 3D virtual museums and a 360 degree viewing application on the web and mobile devices. The integration of our technology into virtual reality headsets could allow tourists who visit a site to walk around and discover it at the time of its construction, this is called immersive content, “says Feriel. Tounsi.
According to her, the 3D reconstruction of archaeological and historical sites and various monuments and objects of the Algerian heritage is also beneficial for organizations in the tourism sector, culture professionals and companies who wish 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 specialists
For documentaries Feriel and Doria Tounsi use the archives and turn to cultural heritage specialists such as archaeologists and historians. “Our approach has an educational goal. 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 undertake a long research work upstream with professionals and specialists in the sector concerned”.
According to them, Algeria has one thousand thirty-eight historical and tourist sites, seven of which are classified as World Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). “We have decided to use technology to overcome obstacles to access to sites, such as the degradation of buildings or the occupation of premises by the public administration,” explains Feriel Tounsi. “We offer a digital tourism service that combines 3D design, virtual tours and augmented virtual reality,” he points out.
The villa of the frescoes of Tipaza rebuilt in 3D
For the first time in Algeria, tourists will be able to discover in 3D reconstruction the villa of frescoes located on the Roman ruins of the city of Tipaza, a coastal city located sixty kilometers west of Algiers.
Promoted by the Ministry of Culture and the National Office for the Management and Exploitation of Protected Cultural Heritage (OGEBC), and organized by Shédio Design in collaboration with the Macif insurance company, this operation will allow tourists to visit this historic place using a reality virtual headset.
The two sisters are working on other projects such as the reconstruction of the Ketchaoua mosque (Algiers) and the Roman ruins of Timgad, nicknamed the “Pompeii of North Africa”. It is an ancient city located in the town of the same name, in the wilaya of Batna (region of Aurès, north-eastern Algeria). Their projects also concern Djemila, an ancient city located in the town of the same name, in the wilaya of Sétif, in the north-east of the country. The Djemila site houses the remains of ancient Cuicul, a Roman city, classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Start-up Shédio was a finalist for the Emerging Valley edition in 2021 and received the first prize for the Best Start-up Trophy at the second edition of the Algeria Tourism Awards 2021.