My group is looking at a new way to create walking tours in museums. We are working around the technology developed by Steven King, a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, that he is already using for a product called FilmSync.
After we determined who we needed to talk to (tourism professionals and tourists), my group focused on defining what we could offer to each group – what’s our value proposition? Therefore, one of our first tasks of the week was to meet with King to get a better idea of what was possible. One of our first concerns was how precise we could get with the sound waves that the technology uses, but he quickly revealed that it should work anywhere from one meter to an entire football stadium. One of our ideas was also to allow users to wear headphones with the app. But he realized that he hadn’t tested it with headphones, so he would have to test that out.
After our meeting, we walked away with a much clearer idea of what was possible. While there are similar technologies being developed, we decided that we could offer precision and a seamless user experience.
For tourism professionals, we believe our value proposition will center on improving the process of providing interactive tour experiences. Currently, museums rely on old audio devices that they need to charge, and these devices cannot be easily updated if an exhibit changes or moves. Our idea can provide a simple backend interface that will allow museums to update the interface at will. Also, they will not be responsible for maintaining and keeping track hundreds of devices each day.
For tourists, we can make the experience more personal. Rather than trying to follow a series of numbered exhibits, they will be able to visit the museum or attraction and control their pace and route. During the visit, their phone will react at the appropriate times, allowing a tourist to focus on enjoying the experience. By using smartphones, we can also make the experience more interactive and provide more interesting visuals.
This new information allowed us to begin brainstorming other potential features and the questions that we had for each group. For example, do museums typically provide free Wi-Fi? Will users be willing to download an app specific to their trip? How often do museums even need to update their audio guides? Now it’s time for us to put feet on the street and start talking to our potential customers…well once IRB gets back to us at least.
Previously: My personal thank you to IRB