London

Integrating London's public transportation options

Many cities today are striving to create dense, well-connected public transportation networks that reduce auto-dependence, mitigate congestion, and provide a variety of travel alternatives. Unfortunately, the complexity of large transit systems can be daunting even for native residents, especially when users need to transfer from one type of transportation to another. Juggling transit schedules, maps, and route listings just to get from Point A to B can make public transportation an unattractive option for some. Enter the smartphone users, who might say, “Well, isn’t there an app for that?” And they’re right – mobile apps for public transit systems abound. Having access to real-time service information, station locator tools, and interactive maps can make public transit a much more viable option for many. However, in most cities these apps only provide information on a single mode of transportation. If you need to transfer from a bus to a subway line, for instance, you would have to toggle between two apps for schedules and travel times. Taking bike share? Add a third app. And so on.

Mobile apps are designed to make our lives easier and save time, but few have been able to tackle the complexities of urban public transportation networks in a way that helps to connect users to the multitude of travel options that cities have to offer. The Travel London mobile app from Urban Times aims to do just that. It provides real-time information on bus routes, tube lines, and bike share stations throughout the city, allowing users to easily compare and combine different travel options.

While it’s of course great for residents, an all-in-one transportation app is especially useful for visitors who are trying to navigate an unfamiliar city. Being able to easily find all of the travel information you need in a single place makes a city instantly more accessible and tourist-friendly. And with the summer Olympic Games fast approaching, Travel London is doing its part to make the city an open and inviting place.

~ Allison Bullock

Chromaroma. The Name Doesn’t Matter – It’s Cool!

I’ve never been a gamer. Even back in the days of early Atari, Sega, and Nintendo systems, I never got much beyond the 3rd or 4th level of Super Mario Bros. I just couldn’t bring myself to care about these fantastical worlds. But with today’s technology, games aren’t just about fantasy anymore. They take place in the world around us, intimately integrated with our lives, and we are the very characters in search of points, credits, and check-ins. And I am starting to come around. [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/22023369 w=400&h=225]

Chromaroma from Mudlark on Vimeo.

I stumbled upon Chromaroma a couple days ago, a mobile app developed by Mudlark in the UK that turns riding The Tube into a social game. Poking around its website, I realized that all games are really just about incentives, and as any self-respecting economist will tell you, people respond to incentives. Chromaroma incentivizes riding public transport by giving riders points for each ride and sending them on missions to “capture” stations and identify unique locations along The Tube (like the station where Jerry Springer was born).

The game excites me not as much for its current use, but for its potential. Transport for London should seize this opportunity to make a public-private partnership. Mudlark now owns some extremely valuable data for the agency (it reminds me a lot of the data collected by San Francisco County Transportation Agency’s CycleTracks app). They can tell you when people travel, where they travel from, where they travel to, and whether they use a diversity of transit lines or mainly rely on it for commuting purposes. Depending on how widespread the game gets, it could even provide a measure of how overcrowded particular lines get – a metric for prioritizing transit investment.

The private sector has clearly seized on the opportunity technology presented to capture ubiquitous travel data. Let’s hope the public sector rides that wave as well.

-          Terra Curtis

Chromaroma. The Name Doesn’t Matter – It’s Cool!

I’ve never been a gamer. Even back in the days of early Atari, Sega, and Nintendo systems, I never got much beyond the 3rd or 4th level of Super Mario Bros. I just couldn’t bring myself to care about these fantastical worlds. But with today’s technology, games aren’t just about fantasy anymore. They take place in the world around us, intimately integrated with our lives, and we are the very characters in search of points, credits, and check-ins. And I am starting to come around. [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/22023369 w=400&h=225]

Chromaroma from Mudlark on Vimeo.

I stumbled upon Chromaroma a couple days ago, a mobile app developed by Mudlark in the UK that turns riding The Tube into a social game. Poking around its website, I realized that all games are really just about incentives, and as any self-respecting economist will tell you, people respond to incentives. Chromaroma incentivizes riding public transport by giving riders points for each ride and sending them on missions to “capture” stations and identify unique locations along The Tube (like the station where Jerry Springer was born).

The game excites me not as much for its current use, but for its potential. Transport for London should seize this opportunity to make a public-private partnership. Mudlark now owns some extremely valuable data for the agency (it reminds me a lot of the data collected by San Francisco County Transportation Agency’s CycleTracks app). They can tell you when people travel, where they travel from, where they travel to, and whether they use a diversity of transit lines or mainly rely on it for commuting purposes. Depending on how widespread the game gets, it could even provide a measure of how overcrowded particular lines get – a metric for prioritizing transit investment.

The private sector has clearly seized on the opportunity technology presented to capture ubiquitous travel data. Let’s hope the public sector rides that wave as well.

-          Terra Curtis

Google's Next Steps

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, recently wrote a brief article indicating his company’s role in the “mobile revolution.”  As we have highlighted in our book Connected Cities, mobile technologies already have been responsible for and continue to offer further opportunity in market creation (to the tune of 256 billion euros).  The technology has only hit the tip of the iceberg, and Schmidt notes the next three places he intends to take it.

First, Google will focus on the underlying fast networks; second, on the development of mobile money; and third, on the availability of inexpensive smartphones in developing countries.  Of note in the second two categories are a few companies from our Showcase.  It appears that Google’s initial intents in regards to mobile money are for consumers in more developed regions; it’s near field communication, or NFC, technology enables smartphone users to pay for groceries, clothing, or other consumables simply by waving their phone near an in-store device. As far as I can tell, this technology would also be useful for things like mobile parking or public transit passes.  Park-line’s current model involves paying for parking by using your mobile phone to make a call to a processing center; NFC would make these calls unnecessary.  Similarly, Transport for London could move away from necessitating a physical “Oyster card” by enabling NFC.

The use of mobile technologies in developing countries is already well known.  We documented Mission 4636, which used mobile technology to facilitate the first responders to the Haiti earthquake.  Of course, their reach could have been much broader had the local population had access to more mobile phones.  Somewhat surprisingly, 90 percent of the world’s population already does have access to mobile networks, though this does not mean they actually own a mobile device, nor does it mean they have access to smartphone technology that significantly improves access to information.

The brevity of Schmidt’s article has attracted a fair amount of attention.  We’ll keep our eyes out for updates.

-Terra Curtis

Visualising Biking

This morning I opened up my email to find the December 2010 World Carfree Newsletter.  The World Carfree Network is a global organization promoting alternative transportation advocating for quality of life improvements for all.  Every month, they send out a newsletter that is chock-full of news from around the world relating to the “carfree movement” – moving towards more mixed use, denser environments that de-emphasize the private automobile and encourage bicycling, walking, and public transit use. This morning I clicked a link that led me to the Slideshare presentation embedded below.  The presentation itself it somewhat dry, but it contains a wealth of information and links regarding some really amazing bike share data visualization projects.  I wanted to share a few of the highlights here.

First, the Bike-o-Meter.  This project comes out of the University College of London’s Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis.  It’s beauty is really in its simplicity – it takes data from bike share systems in 16 world cities and displays the current percentage of the fleet that is currently in use, along with the local time in that city.  The point-in-time snapshot may not be that useful (time trend data is available here), but still it is interesting and can provide some insight.  For instance, at 7:38 AM on a Saturday morning, 50 percent of the bikes in Rio de Janeiro are checked out; in Montreal it’s close to 60 percent!

The second one to call out is the Bike Share Map.  This app overlays bike availability data on a map of a city (London is the default).  Twenty-one cities are available.  I can imagine a 24-hour capture of this visualization being really useful for the bike share companies who are responsible for bike redistribution throughout the day.

More projects are available here and here.  Enjoy!

-Terra Curtis

Crowd-Sourced Infrastructure

Boris Bikes Chilworth Muse When I lived in San Francisco, I used the San Francisco Bike Coalition’s form for requesting bicycle racks from the City.  During that time, the City was under an injunction barring it from installing any new bicycle-related facilities, but the data was still useful for planning efforts.  Now that the injunction has been lifted, the City is seeing the benefits of collecting that citizen-sourced data through the online form and its mobile phone app, Cycle Tracks. London’s Cycling Campaign is providing a similar service to cyclists and would-be-cyclists by hosting a website for reporting locations in need of secure cycle parking.  In London, the new “Boris Bikes” bike-sharing program has seen tremendous success – so much so that outer-rim residential areas are completed depleted of bikes in the morning, as is the central city in the evening.  London Cycling Campaign argues that, with the correct provision of secure bike parking, people would be encouraged to ride their own bicycles to work, alleviating the management costs from shuttling Boris Bikes back and forth all day.

Crowd sourcing is not a new idea, but this application is encouraging for cyclists specifically.  More importantly, it’s encouraging that the state is using technology to improve its response to citizen feedback.

-Terra Curtis

Connecting cities: a Cluster.eu interview with Sascha Haselmayer

Cluster.eu, a great online and published magazine, gave me some challenging questions about our book "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend". Read it here - Connecting cities: an interview with Sascha Haselmayer.

Now out: Spanish Edition of our Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities

Living Labs Global is pleased to invite you to the launch of the book “Tu Dividendo de 256.516 Millones”, the updated and Spanish language edition of our handbook “Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend” be published by the University of Barcelona. The book features a new epilogue by Professor Xavier Torrens, placing the book as a critical contribution in the current debate on local and urban innovation policy.

We will present the book on the occasion of INTA's 34th World Urban Development Congress, in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain) during the Welcome Reception on Sunday, October 24, 2010, from 19:00-21:00 and the first plenary session on Wednesday, October 27th.

The book is now available to order from the University of Barcelona webstore or can be bought in one of the University of Barcelona’s bookshops.

The Case of Tourism and Roaming

In our Handbook on innovation in services and mobility in cities, we published comparative data on the cost and impact of digital vs paper tourist maps. One of our conclusions is that digital mobility costs 1,011x more than paper maps. The updated table below, reflecting the latest available data on global tourism in cities (2008), shows the scale of the burden roaming poses on cities. Table taken from "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend"

Our data shows that, as an example, the 15 million international tourists visiting London in 2008 would have had to pay a total of EUR 102 billion in roaming charges to access the 22 million paper maps they collected that year. This is about 5x the total spending of tourists in London per year. Yet, the paper maps resource consumption constituted the equivalent of 19,000 trees - never mind the burden on dealing with the 1,600 hectares of discarded paper to the recycling systems.

But these numbers are fictional, since no tourist coughs up the EUR 4,550 per visit that these numbers imply. instead, visitors chose to disable data services and roaming, pick up a free paper map (subsidized by the local tourist industry), continuing to make use of all its functions: scribbling, asking for directions, sharing & tearing, and tracing their route. All that at a cost of zero Euros.

What then, has to change? In our book we argue that we need to fundamentally change the way we organise the cost of digital services in cities, eliminating roaming whilst adding significant commercial upsides to the operators to the tune of EUR 2 billion per year. Roaming is about 182x as costly as local data tariffs on prepaid plans, meaning that London could replace its paper maps for about EUR 560 million - or a mere 2.8% of tourist expenditure. These numbers do not take into account the efficiency gains in bulk-costs and data consumption by reversing our business models, which would reduce costs to around 1.4% of spending and could make London (or any other city choosing to become the first to tackle this issue) the first roaming-free tourist destination in the world.

Who would finance this? How about those that pay for the maps already dedicating a small percentage of their revenue instead to making theirs the most innovative and attractive tourist destination in the world...

Adidas Addendum: Tracking Marathon Runners

For two consecutive years, Adidas succeeded in extending the scope of their London marathon sponsorship by creating real value for users while galvanizing its own role as an active wear brand. Moving beyond the splash and wear logo model of competing sponsorship models, it launched the Adidas Runner Tracker application, allowing families and friends to track the status, pace, and estimated finish time of their loved one.

The solution itself is quite simple and almost obvious: teaming up with Marvellous, they designed a java app that linked up with the existing radio-frequency identification chips and timing mats used to track runners' splits. Few people run marathon's without somebody on the sideline to cheer them on. Adidas just made it easier for these parties to connect, making the marathon experience more enjoyable for everyone involved. Moreover, through the tracker platform, supporters could text in encouraging messages to digital screens along the running course where they were then displayed as the targeted runner approached.

It’s estimated that 500,000 people interacted with the Adidas runner tracker application this year alone and that over 1 million people read about the application on social networking websites. Again, Adidas has delivered value for its consumers and hasn't wasted money on empty bubble campaigns.

Read more on this campaign and collaboration here. Learn about Adidas other novel campaign initiatives here.

mVisitors: Challenges and Opportunities in Mobile Tourism

As chair of the session on mVisitors, at Living Labs Forum Barcelona, May 30 2006, Session 2 I would like to provide a short review of the outcomes of the discussions attended on mVisitors and mTourists by representatives of 12 regions. The point of departure for the session was the fact that a tourist is:

  • normally in a mobile situation;
  • needs instant information and interactive services;
  • is willing to pay for relevant services;
  • a prioritised audience for communities and hospitality businesses.

Tourists and Visitors are today recognized as a prime target group that not only generates economic values to local stakeholders but also tends to act as an eye opener for potential investors and potential citizens. A positive visit acts a proof of concept. In spite of the economic potentials very little has been done to offer visitors tailor-made mobile information services. Two examples were mentioned:

It has been calculated that the recent 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona attracted an income to the city''s economy in the region of 100 million Euros via the 50.000 international visitors. In spite of that, no mVisitors service was offered at the 2006 event. Not even a prototype was launched in spite of coinciding theme of the conference. (Incidentally, a new service called 7010 was launched as a pilot during IGC which will provide several mVisitor services - the pilot sadly excluded foreign mobile phones). The same was the case during the last winter Olympic Games in Torino. An mStrategy for the Olympics was proposed in advance but no decision was taken. In both cases, the situation can be contrasted by the mVisitors system launched in conjunction with the City of Stockholm 750 anniversary a few years ago. The mobile platform was used to show the brand of Stockholm as a leader in mobile ICTs and solutions. A few months later the Stockholm prototype was shown for the City of Beijing. The presentation worked as trigger, since the mobile platform had been pioneered in a real city environment, hence being legitimized. In a city-to-city dialogue trust was generated and the decision was taken to start the so called Beijing Digital Olympics 2008. This example can also be seen as an ideal outcome from a living lab context.

Inspiration and trust was built between two parties and the business community could gain a market access. One natural question was raised: why is it difficult to start mVisitors projects? The answer focused upon the fact that the traditional infrastructural investments are known and easier to cope with along the classical channels and well-known business-models. It was clearly said that some tourism organisations simply do not know that the technical structure is now available and that a breakthrough basically is a question of organisation and some leadership. It was also reported, that often there simply are no mStrategies in the community. In the absence of such an mStrategy few decision makers can act. (In a reference to Barcelona / Catalunya it was said that it was still not too late to develop a mVisitors mobile service in time for the next 3GSM event 2007, priming the ground for a significant impact in 2008. Such an initiative has now been outlined in the so-called branding manual for Living Labs Catalunya where mobile solutions form an important role in the concept of Simpli-City).

A conclusion was reached that well documented pilot projects can act as catalysts (see above the Beijing example) for more proactive actions. Thus, the Living Labs Global Showcase, containing numerous forerunning mobile solutions, can play a crucial role to speed up the European performance even in places where the actors are normally dragging behind. In an innovative exchange, a number of Unique Selling Propositions (U.S.P.), which could be communicated via the mobile phone, were identified from across the participating regions. Since each place has a strong competitive pressure to deliver unique offerings to the potential visitors and to make them visible the session tried to find some natural and unique links between the various living labs.mFood: One such unique theme is the food industry and all the connected offerings. The first cluster being mentioned was the “Kingdom of Culinary Art and Meal” in the middle of Sweden. An in depth dialogue has been established between Living Labs Europe and the City of Grythyttan and the surrounding region. Here a unique culinary university education is established. One of the important resources is a world leading library containing cookbooks and recipes from all over the world. The proposal now is to offer a unique mobile service to customers based on all the culinary knowledge from Grythyttan. For instance, customers in store to buy the ingredients for the meal can use the mobile phone in order to get instant access to the relevant recipe. The mobile service can also contain a supplementary voice-based help which instructs the customer on how to prepare the meal at home in their kitchen. On October 20-21, 2006 an international conference will be arranged in Grythyttan with approximately 250-300 participants from the network of culinary activities. This is a big meeting in the centre of Grythyttan and in collaboration with Nordic House of Culinary Art and other partners.

It was concluded that other Living Lab places may participate in this event. Among the participants interest was expressed from Torino / Piedmonte with its outstanding culinary traditions as well as their unique concept of “slow food”. In addition, IT Øresund, Catalunya, Minho (Portugal) and Budapest notified their interests. It was concluded that the mFood approach is also an illustrative example of collaborative and crossborder effort to build critical mass.

The mobile platform acts here as a gateway for easy access with the customers. It also shows how Living Labs Europe can fulfill its role as cluster-builder. mReligion: Another clustering theme was outlined by Joao Carvalho representative from the Minho region in Portugal. His initiative was named “mReligion” with the aim to improve the access to religious icons and tourist offerings for the growing number of religous tourism activities in the region. Santiago de Compostela was used to illustrate the huge potential for more informative service along the 400 km pilgrimage road ending in Galicia.

In parallel to the above examples the automotive Mecca of Stuttgart could well find a natural clustering approach in the field of automotive mobile road services. One project in the mWatch kaleidoscope is the location based visitors systems adopted for cars and run by M-Lab at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering. Interestingly enough, Stuttgart may also be ideally placed to address the mTourism and other services for non-urban areas - as the car acts as the information device and space rather than external advertising or service zones - as was presented in the Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces initiative. Some projects in the same direction are underway in the Gothenburg cluster called Telematic Valley.

Estonia and Finland also host projects relevant for the automotive industry and mVisitors. It should be added that numerous cases in the Living Labs Global Showcase are focusing on mVisitors. As an illustration the following cases are mentioned: Tourist services in Barcelona utilising Bluetooth access points to enable local interactive multimedia services on the mobile (FuturLink); Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces in Hamburg (with collaboration in Catalunya, Budapest and Vaestervik); Mobile city information system in Stuttgart; Oyster card in London aiming at easy payments throughout the London public transportation with its 26 million travelers each day; Ticket@mobile by XSmart in the Greater Zürich Area; the city of Malmoe provides tourists with a so-called Instant Phone Guide; the Estonian project Audio Guide is available in 6 languages, visitors to Tallinn airport are welcomed via a Wifi area, a mobile positioning system called PinPointMgine in the city of Tartu is helping the visitors to find their way. Stefan Malmborg (Vaestervik) presented the mStrategy of Boat Meet (35.000 visitors 2005), jens Bley (Living Labs Germany) exposed some of the underlying marketing opportunities and infrastructures that should be considered for mVisitors: Train TV, 10.000 Multimedia Booths rolled out by T-Com. Despite this broad range of services, lessons were learnt also from Estonia, where these services are practically unknown to visitor. Marketing of mVisitor services therefore remains a key challenge, as they often rely entirely on the mobile phone (unlike the Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces model which interlinks traditional with mobile information channels). Whilst impressive solutions where reported from Tallinn, awareness or experience (even by visitors in the rooom) were extremely low.

Another significant challenge raised were the roaming charges. Many visitors prefer not even to switch-on their devices for fear of unpredictable costs. Intransparency of costs (especially data roaming) makes users averse to exploring services. A map for 4 EUR download costs may not even be competitive with an extensive paper version. Examples were presented from the Netherlands (rent a PDA for your stay) or Hong Kong (get a local SIM card with your tourist map) indicate some of the helplessness of some regions in trying to open the mTourism channel.

mVisitors: Challenges and Opportunities in Mobile Tourism

As chair of the session on mVisitors, at Living Labs Forum Barcelona, May 30 2006, Session 2 I would like to provide a short review of the outcomes of the discussions attended on mVisitors and mTourists by representatives of 12 regions. The point of departure for the session was the fact that a tourist is:

  • normally in a mobile situation;
  • needs instant information and interactive services;
  • is willing to pay for relevant services;
  • a prioritised audience for communities and hospitality businesses.

Tourists and Visitors are today recognized as a prime target group that not only generates economic values to local stakeholders but also tends to act as an eye opener for potential investors and potential citizens. A positive visit acts a proof of concept. In spite of the economic potentials very little has been done to offer visitors tailor-made mobile information services. Two examples were mentioned:

It has been calculated that the recent 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona attracted an income to the city''s economy in the region of 100 million Euros via the 50.000 international visitors. In spite of that, no mVisitors service was offered at the 2006 event. Not even a prototype was launched in spite of coinciding theme of the conference. (Incidentally, a new service called 7010 was launched as a pilot during IGC which will provide several mVisitor services - the pilot sadly excluded foreign mobile phones). The same was the case during the last winter Olympic Games in Torino. An mStrategy for the Olympics was proposed in advance but no decision was taken. In both cases, the situation can be contrasted by the mVisitors system launched in conjunction with the City of Stockholm 750 anniversary a few years ago. The mobile platform was used to show the brand of Stockholm as a leader in mobile ICTs and solutions. A few months later the Stockholm prototype was shown for the City of Beijing. The presentation worked as trigger, since the mobile platform had been pioneered in a real city environment, hence being legitimized. In a city-to-city dialogue trust was generated and the decision was taken to start the so called Beijing Digital Olympics 2008. This example can also be seen as an ideal outcome from a living lab context.

Inspiration and trust was built between two parties and the business community could gain a market access. One natural question was raised: why is it difficult to start mVisitors projects? The answer focused upon the fact that the traditional infrastructural investments are known and easier to cope with along the classical channels and well-known business-models. It was clearly said that some tourism organisations simply do not know that the technical structure is now available and that a breakthrough basically is a question of organisation and some leadership. It was also reported, that often there simply are no mStrategies in the community. In the absence of such an mStrategy few decision makers can act. (In a reference to Barcelona / Catalunya it was said that it was still not too late to develop a mVisitors mobile service in time for the next 3GSM event 2007, priming the ground for a significant impact in 2008. Such an initiative has now been outlined in the so-called branding manual for Living Labs Catalunya where mobile solutions form an important role in the concept of Simpli-City).

A conclusion was reached that well documented pilot projects can act as catalysts (see above the Beijing example) for more proactive actions. Thus, the Living Labs Global Showcase, containing numerous forerunning mobile solutions, can play a crucial role to speed up the European performance even in places where the actors are normally dragging behind. In an innovative exchange, a number of Unique Selling Propositions (U.S.P.), which could be communicated via the mobile phone, were identified from across the participating regions. Since each place has a strong competitive pressure to deliver unique offerings to the potential visitors and to make them visible the session tried to find some natural and unique links between the various living labs.mFood: One such unique theme is the food industry and all the connected offerings. The first cluster being mentioned was the “Kingdom of Culinary Art and Meal” in the middle of Sweden. An in depth dialogue has been established between Living Labs Europe and the City of Grythyttan and the surrounding region. Here a unique culinary university education is established. One of the important resources is a world leading library containing cookbooks and recipes from all over the world. The proposal now is to offer a unique mobile service to customers based on all the culinary knowledge from Grythyttan. For instance, customers in store to buy the ingredients for the meal can use the mobile phone in order to get instant access to the relevant recipe. The mobile service can also contain a supplementary voice-based help which instructs the customer on how to prepare the meal at home in their kitchen. On October 20-21, 2006 an international conference will be arranged in Grythyttan with approximately 250-300 participants from the network of culinary activities. This is a big meeting in the centre of Grythyttan and in collaboration with Nordic House of Culinary Art and other partners.

It was concluded that other Living Lab places may participate in this event. Among the participants interest was expressed from Torino / Piedmonte with its outstanding culinary traditions as well as their unique concept of “slow food”. In addition, IT Øresund, Catalunya, Minho (Portugal) and Budapest notified their interests. It was concluded that the mFood approach is also an illustrative example of collaborative and crossborder effort to build critical mass.

The mobile platform acts here as a gateway for easy access with the customers. It also shows how Living Labs Europe can fulfill its role as cluster-builder. mReligion: Another clustering theme was outlined by Joao Carvalho representative from the Minho region in Portugal. His initiative was named “mReligion” with the aim to improve the access to religious icons and tourist offerings for the growing number of religous tourism activities in the region. Santiago de Compostela was used to illustrate the huge potential for more informative service along the 400 km pilgrimage road ending in Galicia.

In parallel to the above examples the automotive Mecca of Stuttgart could well find a natural clustering approach in the field of automotive mobile road services. One project in the mWatch kaleidoscope is the location based visitors systems adopted for cars and run by M-Lab at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering. Interestingly enough, Stuttgart may also be ideally placed to address the mTourism and other services for non-urban areas - as the car acts as the information device and space rather than external advertising or service zones - as was presented in the Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces initiative. Some projects in the same direction are underway in the Gothenburg cluster called Telematic Valley.

Estonia and Finland also host projects relevant for the automotive industry and mVisitors. It should be added that numerous cases in the Living Labs Global Showcase are focusing on mVisitors. As an illustration the following cases are mentioned: Tourist services in Barcelona utilising Bluetooth access points to enable local interactive multimedia services on the mobile (FuturLink); Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces in Hamburg (with collaboration in Catalunya, Budapest and Vaestervik); Mobile city information system in Stuttgart; Oyster card in London aiming at easy payments throughout the London public transportation with its 26 million travelers each day; Ticket@mobile by XSmart in the Greater Zürich Area; the city of Malmoe provides tourists with a so-called Instant Phone Guide; the Estonian project Audio Guide is available in 6 languages, visitors to Tallinn airport are welcomed via a Wifi area, a mobile positioning system called PinPointMgine in the city of Tartu is helping the visitors to find their way. Stefan Malmborg (Vaestervik) presented the mStrategy of Boat Meet (35.000 visitors 2005), jens Bley (Living Labs Germany) exposed some of the underlying marketing opportunities and infrastructures that should be considered for mVisitors: Train TV, 10.000 Multimedia Booths rolled out by T-Com. Despite this broad range of services, lessons were learnt also from Estonia, where these services are practically unknown to visitor. Marketing of mVisitor services therefore remains a key challenge, as they often rely entirely on the mobile phone (unlike the Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces model which interlinks traditional with mobile information channels). Whilst impressive solutions where reported from Tallinn, awareness or experience (even by visitors in the rooom) were extremely low.

Another significant challenge raised were the roaming charges. Many visitors prefer not even to switch-on their devices for fear of unpredictable costs. Intransparency of costs (especially data roaming) makes users averse to exploring services. A map for 4 EUR download costs may not even be competitive with an extensive paper version. Examples were presented from the Netherlands (rent a PDA for your stay) or Hong Kong (get a local SIM card with your tourist map) indicate some of the helplessness of some regions in trying to open the mTourism channel.