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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Tourism'

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

24 April 2006

We are globalised, but have no real intimacy with the rest of the world [The Guardian]

We are globalised
With globalisation, most anticipate an inter-connected world with greater understanding of multiple cultures more than ever before. Martin Jacques, a senior visiting research fellow at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore, argues in The Guardian that this assumption is at odds with the tone of globalisation, based on a “one-size-fits-all” model of western cultural imperialism.

Whereas European colonialism included exporting self-defined values of civilisation, it did not strive to refashion other cultures in the image of the West. Underlying globalisation, on the other hand, is the belief that the world is moving toward a common culture.

What is disturbing for Jacques is that the shift is taken to mean the mass export of US, neo-liberal and mass-consumption values at the expense of traditional mores and standards of other societies.

Often, self-proclaimed experts on cultural exchange hold but a mere surface understanding of other cultures that are rapidly becoming receptacles for the transfer of western politics, economic models and lifestyles.

In an age of connection facilitated by technology and tourism, a lack of respect for difference has emerged. Globalisation has produced a worldwide intimacy that is, sadly, coupled with intolerance because mental distances have changed little.

Globalisation has fostered the illusion of intimacy while intolerance remains as powerful and unyielding as ever – or rather, has intensified, because the western expectation is now that everyone should be like us.

Ironically, the non-West continues emerging as a world force. Jacques points out that the current hubris of the West hints that future reactions and conflicts will not be so benign.

Read full story

2 March 2006

Ethnographic study on shopping in Paris airports

Men_airport
Aeroports de Paris presents the first ethnographic study about men’s buying behaviour in an airport. This unprecedented survey was carried out in January 2006.

In an airport environment, a man travelling on his own becomes a true shopper: He is more autonomous; he takes responsibility for his own shopping and buys more easily. Most men when alone at the airport go through a methodical and quite thorough shopping tour. Contradicting their urban shopping habits, they stop by almost every window and enter in several boutiques.

Their behavior is totally different from the man travelling with his spouse who generally relies on her to guide him. More experienced than him, she validates his choices.

The airport environment greatly modifies the behavior of male passengers. Shopping and window shopping, generally considered as trivial activities, become here natural conduct. Downtown, only 1 man out of 100 enters in a perfume shop alone; at Aeroports de Paris, the visit rate totals 21%!

Read full story
Download press kit (pdf, 1.3 mb, 14 pages, in French)

24 February 2006

What Ikea could teach Alitalia [Business Week]

Alitalia
Design Continuum CEO Gianfranco Zaccai imagines an airline that strives to provide an overwhelmingly positive customer experience

I recently visited Boston’s new Ikea store with my two young children. A few days later, I flew to Italy on my usual carrier, Alitalia. The two experiences offered quite a lesson in the design of a customer
experience.

Ikea, the Swedish chain of retail stores for the home, is a worldwide success in customer loyalty and profits. Alitalia, the Italian national airline, seems perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy, with a shrinking base of often-dissatisfied customers.

All the while, Ikea provides a taste of Sweden to a receptive global audience, and here the contrast with Alitalia is dramatic. Far more tourists travel to Italy than to Sweden — 40 million last year alone. Yet Alitalia does little to leverage Italy’s positive “brand,” ignoring opportunities to offer a unique experience for its customers and to actually design itself out of its financial predicament.

Imagine if Alitalia thought about the customer’s total travel experience the way Ikea thinks about the customer’s total shopping experience? Here are some touch points that would be part of the total designed “Ikeatalia” experience.

Read full story

(via the European Centre for the Experience Economy)

20 February 2006

Historic city of Bath to host wireless experiment [Reuters | CNN]

Bath
Britain’s historic city of Bath is to host an experiment in advanced wireless computer technology that could provide the blueprint for developing the world’s next generation of mobile phones and lap-tops.

Called Cityware, the project will see 30 volunteers using state-of-the-art mobile telephones to access interactive technology and gauge its use.

“Pervasive technology that is available to everyone, everywhere and at all times promises to be the next big leap in mobile computing technology,” said Dr Eamonn O’Neill from the University of Bath’s Computer Science department.

One reason why Bath was chosen to road-test the new technology was that, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it attracts millions of visitors each year, who may one day be using the type of technology being tested.

Read full story

3 February 2006

Swisscom presents ICT usage vision for 2015

Swisscom_vision2015
Swisscom’s Vision 2015 highlights the most probable future with respect to developments and usage of ICT.

Taking into consideration both technological and societal trends, Swisscom developed a number of storylines covering different aspects of the every-day life in order to understand how these trends could affect the evolution of the ICT world in different domains (e.g. work, mobility, health care) and which new ICT applications could be commercialised and adopted by 2015.

The vision consists of six stories: the digital life, the perfect worker, the global tourist, the safest world, the virtual doctor and education on demand, as well as a trends report (pdf, 891 kb), a 100 years innovation trajectories overview (pdf, 352 kb) and a mini-revolutions map for 2015 (pdf, 477 kb).

31 January 2006

Experience design and national parks

Maya_rmcad
During the Fall semester of 2005, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design teamed with MAYA Design to do a long-distance academic collaboration.

Students were given the Strategic Plan 2001-2005 of the National Park Service and were asked to develop a hypothetical roadmap for the Strategic Plan 2006-2012 that is devoted to advancing its “goal categories” oriented toward “visitor experience.”

The students focused their work on the Rocky Mountain National Park and targeted the following interface categories: web, signage, environments, printed matter and digital devices.

To find out more and download all the documentation, visit this MAYA web page.

20 December 2005

Australian qualitative research results in 35 mobile phone product ideas

Backpackers
Backpackers in Australia often wish to organise group activities, but have few collaboration methods available and only a trickle of communication is possible between them as they move. They regularly explore unfamiliar locations quickly, but have only basic resources to inform them about those places. Many opportunities exist for mobile devices to assist them with their difficulties.

University of Queensland researchers used a combination of mobile group ethnography, contextual group interviews and participatory activities, to explore current communication behaviour between backpackers engaged in a typical tourist activity.

Results indicate a long list of inconveniences backpackers face, which have translate into a list of 48 user requirements and a table of 35 product ideas.

Read full abstract
Download paper (pdf, 3.5 mb, 71 pages)

(via Mobile Community Design)

1 October 2005

Campers want electronic creature comforts [The Indy Star]

Campers
The wilderness isn’t what it used to be. Today’s campers come equipped not just with bug spray and burgers, but cell phones, computers, televisions and video games. As electronic gadgets have become more portable, Americans have begun toting them everywhere — even into the great outdoors. So private campgrounds and state parks are busily adding electronic amenities to keep campers happy.

Recently, company officials at Kampgrounds of America polled campers about amenities they’d like to see. High on the list were cable and phone lines and wireless Internet access.

To appease its customers — whose average age is over 50 — KOA is installing Wi-Fi wireless Internet access at all its campgrounds.

Read full story

(via textually.org)

12 September 2005

Participatory design, branding and ethics (as applied in Barcelona)

Barcelona_brand
In a blog that talks about participatory design and how users can contribute to the design of services, we cannot sidestep the ethical issue. Often people’s creativity and cultural contributions are used against their own interests.

In a long and thoughtful article about the over-branding and over-gentrification of Barcelona, the city’s Yproductions group argues that people are often the victims of branding and city marketing strategies that use their own cultural production (e.g. the tourist bus route that takes you along Barcelona’s ”Anarchist Route’ – meanwhile gentrified, of course), unless they understand that they are not just knowledge producers, but that they also need to create the right circumstances for this tacit knowledge to be transformed into Knowledge (with its capital K).

The article, which starts with a very concrete problem setting but addresses it in a too theoretical expose (to my liking), nevertheless raises some interesting questions for experience designers on the merits of the public domain in an increasingly privatised and corporate knowledge economy.

Read full story

(via Doors Report)

29 August 2005

Green petite cars tempt tourists in southern Spain [BBC]

Blobjects
The narrow, cobbled streets of Cordoba in southern Spain are no place for a car, but Alfredo Romeo, a Spanish entrepreneur wanted to change that and set up a business with “blobjects”, electric hire cars that are proving popular with tourists.

Romeo has been taken with the idea of blobjects ever since he heard technology guru Bruce Sterling discuss them in a speech.

Each Blobject car comes with a touch-screen computer system, based on open-source software, mounted in the dash. Through a USB port, you can plug in a flash drive containing information on Cordoba in Spanish, English or French.

By using GPS technology, the computer keeps track of exactly where you are in the city. When you pass a certain landmark, the computer then knows to display the appropriate text, audio and video information about that landmark on the screen.

Read full story

18 July 2005

Context

Context
Context-based Research Group was established in 1999, the goal was simple – to help marketers and product designers do better work through the power of ethnography.

Margaret’s Walking Stick is Context’s perpetual anthropology / ethnography education project. Each month contains a cultural insight from around the world. This year it is devoted to teen trends.

Go to this page to download any of the following reports:

  • The mobiles: social evolution in a wireless society
    A growing and vibrant international subculture has seamlessly integrated wireless products into their daily existence: The Mobiles. Context-Based Research Group’s latest global study reveals a shift in human consciousness as wireless integration alters behavior, attitudes and etiquette around the world ­ as well as how business should adapt to this evolution.
  • The new normal: portrait of today’s consumer
    How are people doing one year after the attacks of 9/11/01 and what direction might businesses take to best communicate with them and meet their changing needs? Context-Based Research Group and Carton Donofrio Partners went back to the original participants from our initial 9/11/01 study, “Who I Am? How Business Can Survive a Global Crisis of Identity,” to find out the answers to these questions.
  • 9/11 study: Who am I? how business can survive a global crisis of identity.
    Carton Donofrio Partners and Context-Based Research Group utilised their proprietary global network of anthropologists to conduct research in eight cities in the United States and in Israel, Northern Pakistan, Indonesia, Columbia, China and France. The anthropologists conducted interviews with consumers, who also produced photo essays, to get insights on how people were altering their lives after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. As the field reports came in, ethnographers and business strategists outlined scenarios to help companies who are looking for direction in this altered consumer environment.
  • Home for the holidays. Retailers challenged to respond to shoppers’ new needs.
    This global study, conducted by Carton Donofrio Partners and Context-Based Research Group’s network of anthropologists, collected insights as to new holiday shopping behavior from gift selection, to holiday budgets and the desired in-store experience. Based on the research results, Context and Carton Donofrio Partners outlined possible holiday shopping scenarios in order to help companies prepare for the critical season.
  • Global study on travel examines consumer behaviors
    The latest report published by Carton Donofrio Partners and Context Research Group gives new insight into the effects of current consumer experiences during business and leisure travel. A team of anthropologists in Tokyo, London, Israel, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas gathered data from a global sample of travelers and identified basic needs that are not currently being met by the travel industry. These findings were used to understand and pinpoint opportunities within the travel experience where industries such as hotels, rental car companies, attractions and cruises can better meet the needs of their customers.
  • Wireless opportunities: a global ethnographic study
    No one truly knows what consumers really want in a wireless experience. By interviewing
    and observing users of web accessible PDA’s, cellular phones with Internet access,
    pagers, and messaging devices, Context explored what “killer apps” and inventions people will want and need in the future.
  • GenWired 2000: a longitudinal study of youth and technology
    This study explores the development of young people and interactive media in the home space and beyond. The study is designed to generate new technology ideas, marketing implications and social insight for innovations that improve people’s lives.
  • Women in the outdoors
    This study of how women interact with and relate to the outdoors can help outdoor product manufacturers and retailers enhance marketing and product development efforts – particularly in response to the emerging casual outdoor market.
1 July 2005

Sun, sand and too much sizzle – a Mediterranean meltdown could mean tourist trauma [WWF]

Mediterranean
Global warming could mean hard times ahead for the Mediterranean, including its all important tourism industry, according to a report commissioned by WWF.

Read full story

17 June 2005

Venice goes mobile with Wi-Fi walking tours [Metropolis Magazine]

Tour_users_home
A collaboration between the Department of Urban Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Architecture Venice (IUAV), the project uses video-equipped cell phones, PDAs, and location-based technology to deliver multimedia walking tours of lesser-known Venetian neighborhoods. The mobile information system will not only provide visitors with a truer taste of the city, but also, organisers hope, create technology and content-production jobs for residents, luring them to stay.

Read full story

21 May 2005

A city with drive [The Independent]

Molle
Stephen Bayley takes a pit stop in Turin, and finds the hometown of Fiat is fuelled by fast cars and fabulous food.

Read full story