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Posts in category 'Tourism'

7 September 2012

Service design in tourism

Screen Shot 2012-09-07 at 16.26.08

SDT2012 was the first international conference on service design thinking in the travel and tourism industry. For the first time, the conference brought together a community interested in the practical application of service design thinking within the travel and tourism industry.

The conference was the closing event of the project “Service Design in Tourism” funded by the European Union under the CIP Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, and hosted by MCI – Management Center Innsbruck, Department of Tourism.

A free 142 page e-book with Case studies of applied research projects on mobile ethnography for tourism destinations.

Abstract

Tourism becomes more and more transparent through social media and tourism review websites. Nowadays, it’s the individual guest’s experience that makes or breaks the success of a tourism product. Thus, the focus in tourism shifts from mere marketing communications to meaningful experiences. Service design thinking can provide an in-depth and holistic understanding of customers required to cocreate meaningful experiences with guests.

The book provides an introduction into service design and tourism and presents seven case studies of European tourism destinations, which used the app myServiceFellow as a mobile ethnography research tool to gain genuine customer insights. The book reports lessons learned of these case studies, gives managerial implications and an outlook on future research fields for service design in tourism.

“Service Design and Tourism” is the written outcome of the research project “Service design as an approach to foster competitiveness and sustainability of European tourism” funded by the European Union under the CIP Competitiveness and Innovation Program.

5 April 2011

Storytelling and destination development

Storytelling and Destination Development
The study “Storytelling and Destination Development” by the Nordic Innovation Centre set out to scrutinize the possibilities and drawbacks of using storytelling as a means of developing and marketing Nordic tourism destinations.

On the basis of five selected Nordic cases, the study sheds light both on the ways in which storytelling is practiced and how stakeholder cooperation unfolds and seeks to determine the prerequisites for using storytelling as part of a destination development strategy.

Drawing on the literature on storytelling as well as theory on inter-organisational relations, the study develops a theoretical model which centres on four closely interrelated elements: types of stakeholders involved; stages of the storytelling process; outcome of the storytelling process; and destination development. The theoretical model serves as a central tool for the cases presented to illustrate the issues at stake.

The five cases – one each from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – consist of rich sets of data: interviews with main stakeholders; collection of industry documents, marketing material and media coverage; observation of stakeholder meetings; and participant observation of storytelling events.

The findings point to the importance of a location-based story to conceptualize, substantiate, and commercialize a destination. Findings suggest that some cases are characterized by individual stories of many qualities in terms of dramaturgical principles and customer involvement, however, an overall story framework is non-existent which makes the storytelling initiative poorly suited as a means of destination development. In other cases, a more holistic, coordinated story can be identified that ties the individual stories together and on this basis a common identity for the destination seems to materialize. The nature of stakeholder relations helps explain why some storytelling practices have destination development potential whereas others have not. Dedicated leadership, multi-actor involvement and two-way communication appear to be prerequisites for the destination development potential of storytelling activities.

13 March 2010

Torino tags its monuments for tourists

Torino tags
The Italian city of Torino just launched “The Colors of Torino“, helping tourists through Microsoft’s Color Tags at monuments and tourist attractions.

If you want to know more about a certain attraction (currently only 10 key destinations are tagged), you just download a free mobile app, scan the associated Microsoft Color Tag with your mobile phone, and you’re automatically connected to relevant online resources (as described on a Microsoft blog).

Unfortunately, very little thinking and design has gone into the design of the resources and information one finally gets access to: not mobile specific, not very relevant, and not very much in depth.

The project seems gimmicky and remains at the level of a technical or marketing experiment. The user experience is poor and disappointing. Clearly no experience designer or service designer was involved here.

How is it possible that Microsoft still launches projects that are portrayed as providing value for real people, but in fact do not provide any meaningful value for them at all? Unless Microsoft Italia urgently does some drastic work on the user experience, the value here is only one of public relations for the entities involved.

- Download press release
- View video

21 November 2008

Service design in tourism

Live
DIT-Design in Tourism was an EU-funded project to develop tools suitable for everyday use within the tourism industry and to promote service design competencies from terminology to strategies and concepts.

The project has – up till now – not been very well communicated (the site has a lot of empty pages), but a book is in the making and one of the chapters is finished and it is strong. Very strong. Although it doesn’t have much to do with tourism.

In the 19-page article, CID Group design strategist and futurist Jari Koskinen (website) advocates an entirely new vision on tourism:

“Wellness and safety are mega-trends closely associated with innovation in service design. Slow-city and slow-food life philosophies are global trends. There are numerous natural opportunities for slowing down in an authentic, natural environment in Finland and Estonia. The dynamic increase of wellness tourism is mostly a question of marketing – the need already exists.”

Koskinen, who clearly has an eclectic mindset to just about everything, takes a resolutely Finnish cultural angle, and makes remarkable connections: Alvar Aalto and Naomi Klein, Hilary Cottam (Participle) and the Finland Futures Research Centre, a book published in 1923 (“Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins) and the discipline of interaction design, the Finnish Red Cross and digital fabrication.

I really like this piece of writing. The article is conceptual in nature, calls upon interdisciplinary approaches, and is just a highly refreshing and intellectually stimulating read:

“In regard to design, the conceptualisation and increasing complexity of work is obvious. The amount of manual work and artistic activity decreases as the proportion of concept design and strategic development requiring more versatile know-how increases.

The theme of this article, service design, is essentially intertwined with conceptualisation and increasing complexity. In the evolution of competence, there is a gradual shift from product design to service design. This change can also be understood through the changes apparent in social structures. The service sector is in a state of dynamic growth in Europe.”

Read article

(via InfoDesign)

11 August 2008

Africans get upwardly mobile in cell phone boom

Upwardly mobile
CNN reports on the cell phone boom in Africa:

“In less than a decade, cellphones, once the preserve of the very rich, are now ubiquitous in Africa and parts of Asia.

A device that’s sometimes used as a fashion accessory in the West has become a lifeline for millions of people in the developing world.” [...]

“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a population of 60 million, there are just 10,000 fixed telephones but more than a million cellphone subscribers. While in Chad, the fifth-least developed country in Africa, cellphone usage jumped from 10,000 to 200,000 in three years.”

Read full story

10 June 2008

Philips and NH Hoteles collaborating to optimise the hotel experience

NH room
NH Hoteles and Philips have announced that they will conduct an intensive two-year study into the optimization of well-being amongst hotel guests.

To support the research, NH Hoteles and Philips have teamed up as a first step to create a unique room at NH Hoteles’ flagship Barbizon Palace hotel in Amsterdam featuring the latest in ambient solutions.

Researchers will collect consumer insights into how different room settings and technologies affect the guests’ hotel going experience and well-being as well as their interaction and relationship with entertainment systems and lighting.

The partnership builds upon other experience research between the two companies on how to optimise the hotel experience.

The results from the current study will help Philips to continue to become more customer-centric and provide innovative and timely solutions that improve people’s lives based on indepth consumer insights. NH Hoteles, on the other hand, will in the future apply Philips’ solutions in its hotels to set the standards in the hotel industry and continue to improve the hotel experience of their guests.

Read full story

24 December 2007

Experience design in city tourism

Experience design in city tourism
Experience Design in City Tourism‘ is a study by the Nordic Innovation Centre to gain more insight into what and how visitors want to see and experience during their stay and what the tourist industry can do in the long run to satisfy their needs.

The study starts from understanding how tourists of Nordic & Baltic cities design their own experiences, and how they experience these cities. In total some 5,000 visiting tourists are being interviewed. The results are used to improve the design of tourist experiences in cities — taking into account the existing characteristics for each city — and to help cities meet the expectations and behaviours of their tourists.

“The introduction of experience design to the tourism, service and experience economy is new. Thus, ‘experience design’ will be analysed in order to arrive at a conceptual and practical understanding of how experiences are designed, communicated and constructed by producers as well as consumers.

‘Experience Design in City Tourism’ will provide fourteen cities in the five Nordic and three Baltic countries with valuable input for how to improve the tourism experiences. The analysis will also give Nordic and Baltic countries knowledge, inspiration and tools for how to analyse, understand, improve, customise and develop the user experience through the use of design in relation to experiences.”

The project is headed by Wonderful Copenhagen, the official Copenhagen tourist organisation. The other participants are Malmö, Arhus, Uppsala, Stockholm, Bergen, Oslo, Turku, Tampere, Helsinki, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. The project is financed by the Nordic Innovation Centre under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The results of the survey will be published during the spring of 2008.

Other related projects and studies on the Nordic Innovation Centre website:

30 September 2007

WARC, huge online marketing database with many relevant papers

WARC
I just took a 7 day trial subscription to the online database of the World Advertising Research Center (WARC) – which allows you the download of 5 papers – and discovered a treasure trove of information.

Two papers in particular caught my attention:

The emperor’s new clothes: technology is useless if consumers can’t use it
Simon Silvester, Market Leader, Spring 2007, Issue 36, pp.20-24
Digital technology is developing at a staggering rate, but there is a danger that it could collapse as the dotcom boom did if companies do not change their attitude to consumers. Consumer ability to understand technology does not rise; consumers (including the young) adopt new products slowly, and with difficulty. Most people use only one or two of the many functions programmed into their equipment, and companies need to understand how innovations spread through a population, and how understanding always falls as mainstream consumers follow the technology nerds who adopt first. They must put the consumer first and become more basic in their marketing. This includes finding the one killer application that is really wanted, instead of adding functions that no-one will use just because it is possible. Simplicity is a primary benefit. The article ends with 15 guidelines for making sure that technological products become user-friendly: they include watching what people actually do, including women and people in emerging markets.

Transforming leisure with ethnography
Caroline Gibbons-Barry, Scott Moshier and Karen Hofman, ESOMAR, Leisure Conference, Rome, November 2006
To offer satisfying experiences, the leisure industry must understand how consumers have adopted a complex, multifaceted and integrated approach to leisure. Profound cultural and values shifts have lead consumers to build uplifting and transformative leisure moments into their everyday lives, changing the standard against which the leisure industry must compete. Ethnography can take leisure purveyors beyond their own facilities to uncover both the contexts that inform consumer mindsets and perspectives, and what resonates with consumers’ inner beings and deepest desires.

Since it’s a subscription based service, I cannot link to the papers but the site has a good search engine. Unfortunately, full subscription is rather expensive.

28 September 2007

A mobile revolution is taking place in the developing world

Phone use in Africa
The mobile platform is currently undergoing somewhat of a revolution in the developing world — and so are people’s lives — with Africa now more advanced than the rest of the world in terms of mobile banking. The user experience challenges are only beginning to be addressed.

If you want to keep abreast on developments in this field, here is a crop of news stories from just this last week:

A recent special report in Business Week on how basic cell phones are sparking economic hope and growth in emerging — and even non-emerging — nations. The report takes a particular look at the micro- and macro-economic impacts of this development, and what it means for local entrepreneurs and major mobile operators. It also features an online extra on the use of mobile phones by artisans and tradespeople in rural India, a summary graphic and a slideshow;

A Reuters story on the beeping boom in Africa, what the social practices are, and how that is pushing mobile operators to innovate their services;

A post on the Vodafone R&D Betavine blog on the Mukuru Kash service that like Paypal will store funds that you pay to them online and then set up a voucher which can be redeemed at the petrol station for fuel;

Next: bridging the digital divide, a recent post by Niti Bhan, where she puts developments in the bigger picture of bridging the digital divide between the digital haves and have nots, and wonders what will happen if all these people in the developing world can also start accessing the internet from their mobile devices;

In a recent post on mobile banking, Barbara Ballard of Little Springs Design guides us to three blogs on the topic: Mobile Banking (news and analysis from Brandon McGee, a VP in charge of mobile banking), Mobile Money & Banking, and Mobile Banking, the blog of Hannes van Rensburg, CEO of a South African mobile banking provider Fundamo.

Note by the way that all the user research work by Jan Chipchase and others seems to have paid off: Nokia dominates the mobile handset landscape in India with an astonishing 74% market share.

25 August 2007

A gorgeous cinematic introduction to Turin, Italy

Turin
Even for those who don’t understand Italian, this is quite a spectacular introduction to Turin (or “Torino”), Italy, and its surrounding region.

The videos are shot in gorgeous high definition quality by the Turin movie director Luciano De Simone and narrated by Carlo Massarini (who was also responsible for the highly entertaining videos in the excellent Turin Museum of the Mountains).

Eventually the site, which was produced for the Italian Ministry of Culture, will introduce a number of Italian cities but for now the only one online is Turin, the city where I live.

Structured in nine chapters, accessible via a horizontal menu on the bottom, the series includes:
- a general introduction to the city;
- Piazza Carignano, which introduces some of the historic centre, Italy’s first parliament (Turin was Italy’s capital from 1861 to 1864), the Egyptian Museum, the role of the theatre in the city, Piedmont food, the Langhe region, and the culture of the “aperitivo” in Turin;
- Turin and the movies, focused of course on the Mole Antonelliana, site of the cinema museum;
- Turin from the Balôn to the Murazzi, which introduces various neighbourhoods such as the Balôn area where the city’s flea market takes place;
- Lingotto, the former FIAT factory, now a mixed-use facility with a conference centre, a commercial centre, a museum, a hotel, and a cinema;
- Italia ’61, one of the sites of the Olympic Winter Games of 2006;
- From the Dora to the Docks, focused on the new uses given to old industrial buildings;
- The heart of the city, introduced as a historic but lively centre;
- Turin nightlife.

The interface is quite simple: the “+” sign gives you a larger image, “link utili” provides you with links to what you just saw, and “mobile” allows you to download the movie files.

The site is not at all interactive though: the only thing you can do is watch. Another concern I have is that the creators did not add (optional) English subtitles, which would have not been so difficult to do. Graphically, the meaning of the bar code design element is beyond me.

But it is beautiful. Enjoy.

2 August 2007

New Virgin planes take user experience up a notch

Virgin's purple plane
Artur Bergman recently had the opportunity to tour a Virgin America plane and was impressed with the attention to the user experience:

“The planes are brand new Airbuses equipped with leather seats, a generous seat pitch, and really big first class seats.

The entertainment system aboard is the highlight. Every seat is equipped with an in-flight entertainment device (IFE). Developed internally at Virgin America, the system is named Red and provides live satellite tv, movies, mp3s, games and plane-wide chatting. Yes, chatting. There is a general chatroom, a private invite channel for your friends, and direct user-to-user messaging. When watching television, you have the option to chat with everyone who is watching the same event. Talk about a brand new way to find someone to enter the mile high club with.

Most impressive is how integrated everything feels, from the website to the in-flight experience. If you build a playlist from the 3,000 mp3s on board, the reservation system will remember it and pre-load it the next time you board. Small touches like that are easy to implement if you have the right architecture and are bound to bring a smile to at least some customers.”

Read full story

(via Core77)

24 July 2007

Trabber, the simple flight search engine

Trabber
Trabber [a contraction of travel + grabber] is a new and seemingly simple search engine that simultaneously searches on the main online flight providers: online travel agencies, lowcost carriers and traditional airlines.

Trabber compares all the flight offer from [a still somewhat limited list of] providers and shows the final prices of the flights, without hidden cost. The Trabber results are the same that one would get by directly going one by one to all the web sites. The difference is that, with Trabber, one only has to search once to find all the available flights.

The tool was launched by two young Spanish entrepreneurs, with the help of a usability expert. The first version was in Spanish and that seems the most advanced site for now. Meanwhile, beta versions of the site have launched in the US, the UK, Italy and Germany.

Their business model is based on traffic redirection, they told me. The first impression is one that feels like Google, so perhaps being bought by Google might be their other business goal.

Some hickups need to be fixed still (it didn’t recognise Milan as a “nearby” airport to Turin and has only 6 traditional airlines in the Italian version), but on the whole it works rather well.

16 July 2007

Segnaloitalia: a social network for tourism in Italy

segnaloitalia
Blognation Italy reports on Segnaloitaly, a user generated recommendation service for the Italian tourist market.

“Creating a community of unconventional Italian travellers, SegnaloItalia is building an online community of tourists who choose independent B&Bs over five star hotels and search for farmhouses instead of holiday complexes.

Developed by the multimedia content production company Bitness.it, headed up by Tiziana Ferrando and Massimo Dalmazzi, SegnaloItalia’s goal is to provide a user generated recommendation service to the internal Italian tourist market.

One of the recent trends in the Italian tourism sector has been the growth of independent holiday bookings with flexibility. An increase in online bookings has also been evident, coinciding with growth of broadband penetration and prepaid cards used for online purchasing. Italians are also searching more widely for travel information, looking at more than one source before booking their holidays. (Source: EuroMonitor)

SegnaloItalia was developed using open source software Pligg, including Google and blog mash ups. The site itself has a Digg-like feel to it, where users vote for the holiday destinations they have enjoyed. The more votes an entry receives, the higher up the ranks it climbs. To date, the site is concentrating on building its Italian community and increasing user numbers.”

Blognation Italy caught up with Tiziana Ferrando and asked about monetising the site and future plans for development.

Read full story

23 June 2007

Bringing together nature and technology, tradition and vanguard in southern Italy

Interferenzes
Sustainable tourism is one of the main focus areas of the Dott07 initiative (a year of community projects, events and exhibitions in North East England that explore what life in a sustainable region could be like – and how design can help us get there).

Programme director John Thackara has invited Leandro Pisano and Alessandro Esposito to an upcoming expert meeting.

Pisano and Esposito are partners in Ufficio Bifolco, a marketing and cultural planning company that works on ICT strategies for development of rural areas in South Italy.

They are producers of two festivals in Southern Italy – Interferenze and Mediaterrae – that bring together nature and technology, tradition and vanguard, past and future, local and global. This unique convergence of sounds, images, landscapes and carnival rites of a rural land, are signals of new ways we might visit and experience new locations.

(via Doors of Perception)

16 June 2007

Marriott partners with Ian Schrager to create unique lodging experiences

Marriott Schrager partnership
Hotel giant Marriott is partnering with hotelier and real-estate developer Ian Schrager to create a new brand of as many as 100 hotels that will combine the personal, intimate, individualized and unique lodging experience on a global scale.

The brand, the brainchild of the new partners, responds to new cultural and social imperatives that Mr. Schrager says have emerged. This brand will reflect these changing lifestyles and cater to a vast underserved market of guests expecting and in turn demanding a unique experience not merely a place to sleep. “Together Marriott and I have a new vision and plan to radically rethink and catapult the lifestyle boutique hotel into the present by capturing the spirit of the times,” said Mr. Schrager.

“People today are sophisticated and they understand good design, quality, originality and commitment to excellence. They will not accept something derivative and they want the ethos and soul of a hotel to be authentic and have character. They also expect and deserve impeccable, modern and gracious personalized service that is at the same time luxurious yet down to earth. It is the ultimate balancing act of these apparent contradictions to create a hotel that is simultaneously specific and customized yet universal. We intend to make this type of lodging widely accessible and available for the first time in the key lodging destinations across the globe and to everybody around the world who wants it.”

The hotels will be located in gateway cities throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. The initial list of markets to be explored includes New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, and Las Vegas in the U.S.; London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Rome in Europe; and Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo in Asia. With an average size of 150-200 rooms, each of the hotels will reflect the best of the cultural and social milieu of its location and of the time. A diverse set of world-renowned architects and designers will be recruited to create one-of-a-kind buildings spanning the complete range of project types, from new construction, to conversions, to dramatic renovations.

Read full press release

(via influxinsights)

8 May 2007

Delta Airlines: change the experience / experience change

Experience change
Delta Air Lines launched a new advertising campaign to mark a new era, introduce an updated, boldly modern corporate brand and showcase a reinvigorated customer experience. The campaign, entitled “Change,” honors Delta’s strong 78-year heritage with a renewed sense of vitality and is focused on Delta’s effort to rethink every moment of the of the travel experience, enhancing the time customers spend at each stage of their journey – from trip planning to arrival – to make it as rich and rewarding as possible.

The campaign reflects the airline’s refreshed focus to completely change the customer travel experience, both on the ground and in the air through unique, stylish and entertaining enhancements. [...]

“Delta is doing what no other airline has had the guts to do,” said Lenny Stern, founding partner of Delta’s advertising agency SS+K. “It’s acknowledging the 800-pound gorilla in the room for travelers – that the travel experience can sometimes be frustrating and annoying. Through creative messaging, it’s clearly stating that change is the only acceptable option to respond to customer needs. By being honest about what is at stake, customers can believe Delta is also being honest about how they are changing with a keen focus on making make every moment of the travel experience better.”

Delta’s new web site will ultimately enable travelers to participate in a dialogue about their travels, share ideas, travel tips and provide feedback, in order to help with Delta’s ongoing commitment to change.

Read full press release

9 January 2007

Torino 2008: design is direction

Design is direction
Over the last year I have sporadically been keeping you informed about the plans for Torino, World Capital of Design 2008.

Things are now taking shape and a website is up.

A friend of mine, the young, dynamic and very globally focused Paola Zini, who has been the de facto lead of the initiative of the initiative for a long time, has just also been appointed the official director.

Paola immediately selected a scientific committee not to be ignored: Gilo Dorfles (Italy), Guta Moura Guedes (Experimenta, Portugal), Michael Thompson (UK), Enrico Morteo (Italy), and Bruce Nussbaum (Business Week, USA).

I will write soon (a lot) more about this exciting initiative, which is energetically chaired by the Mayor of Torino.

To make this happen, I am happy to be able to count on the collaboration with some top-level people that I will soon let you know more about.

[To be continued, of course...]

26 September 2006

New usability report on the online travel sector

Online travel
The UK usability firm Webcredible has published a usability white paper on the online travel sector, based on a comprehensive study of online flight booking services on 25 travel websites in June 2006.

Webcredible states that poor usability, including hidden charges, cumbersome search functions and booking forms that are hard to find, is driving away customers.

The company presents ten key guidelines to help online travel companies significantly improve the user experience and effectiveness of their website.

Though based on the online flight booking process, many of the guidelines are valuable and transferable to other online travel sectors, such as booking holidays, hotels or car hire.

Practical advice and examples of best practice are provided throughout the report.

- Read story
- Go to download page

6 July 2006

More information on Dott, the UK regional design initiative

Dott 07
Dott is a ten year programme of design innovation, initiated by the Design Council, that will take place every two years in a different region or nation across the UK.

The programme encourages the innovative use of design as contribution to economic, cultural and social success of the UK and will provide the opportunity for designers, businesses and public service providers to engage with citizens in improving national life through design.

Dott will be an inspiring, involving and educational initiative for young people and various groups of citizens. Its aim is to raise knowledge of the value and importance of design to our wellbeing.

Each Dott biennial will respond to the specific needs and ambitons of the region concerned. The aim is to foster an inclusive and participatory approach to design that will stimulate long-term change and create a lasting legacy.

The first Dott – Dott 07 – takes place in North East England in 2007. It is organised in partnership between the Design Council and the region’s development agency, One North East and led by programme director John Thackara and executive producer Robert O’Dowd.

Dott 07 will take eight core themes – energy and environment, sustainable tourism, school and community, health and wellbeing, mobility and access, town and country, food and nutrition, and housing and home – and work with local communities within the region to frame specific challenges as design opportunities.

Dott 07′s projects are organised into three programme strands: Public Commissions, which involve real people in real places, exloring how design may improve an aspect of daily life; Education, aimed at school pupils, college students, teachers and local communities, working together in collaborative projects; and Design Showcases, which are events in museums, galleries and festivals that explore the present and futures of design.

The recently relaunched Dott 07 website – which comes with its own blog – illustrates some of the projects, which are already in the works: Lo Carb Lane, Future School, Health Wise, Alzheimers 100, Move Me, Smart Town and City Farming.

The results of all Dott 07 projects will be presented at the Dott 07 Festival in October 2007.

25 June 2006

Experiencing digitally resurrected cultural heritage sites

EPOCH's digital reconstruction of part of the ancient city of Sagalassos
Most of us find it rather hard to picture ancient times when viewing old bones and stone fragments in dusty museum display cabinets. Now archaeological artefacts can come alive with the help of EPOCH, a European research project that uses augmented reality, computer game and 3D-image technology to resurrect cultural heritage sites, according to IST Results, the online magazine of the European Commission’s Information Society Technologies (IST) research initiative.

“From an archaeological point of view, it now becomes possible to reconstruct large sites at low cost. Previously, 3D modelling has all too often focused on a limited number of landmark buildings, without the context of sites surrounding them. Producing entire city models was just too expensive, so we got a Parthenon without Athens, and a Colosseum without Rome. Thanks to EPOCH this no longer needs to be the case,” explains the University of Leuven’s Prof Luc Van Gool.

Computer-generated humans – avatars, will act as multilingual guides in this computer-generated world, explaining about the visited site. With the help of interactive storytelling, visitors will be able to personalise the story according to their interests and the time available for the visit, explains Franco Niccolucci, EPOCH Director for Training and Dissemination at Florence University.

To further enhance the user experience the project has developed a cost-efficient prototype that uses widespread techniques known as ‘rapid prototyping’ and 3D scanning.

Read full story