Tourism

Hamburg seeks ideas to increase tourism

Hamburg, Germany -- one of the 21 cities participating in the 2012 LLGA -- has an interesting tourism challenge for this year's award participants. As the second largest port in Europe, Hamburg is a popular origin and destination city for cruise lines. About 300,000 cruise passengers arrive in Hamburg each year at some point along their trip, and yet few seem to stay long to tour Germany's second-largest city. In fact, Hamburg officials estimate that only one-third of cruise tourists spend a night or more in the city before or after their journey. Even for those who do prolong their visit, the average stay is just 2.1 nights. There is huge potential for Hamburg to capture a larger share of cruise line tourism, yet for some reason many passengers seem to view Hamburg more as a transport hub than as a destination in itself. And that's where this year's showcase challenge comes in. The city has asked participants to submit solutions that help to connect cruise passengers to the vast array of tourism opportunities that Hamburg has to offer. Since it already has a variety of tourist-friendly locations and events and has already succeeded in drawing tourists to the city, the challenge is in helping tourists to seamlessly integrate with Hamburg and its sights. City officials hope that through the use of interactive mobile and web-based technologies, cruise passengers can learn of Hamburg's many offerings and will be inspired to linger a few days more.

One of the showcases that rose to Hamburg's challenge and is among the five selected nominees is Sightsplanner, an interactive suggestion engine that instantly produces a customized tour itinerary based on your preferences and schedule needs. A tourist can access the engine via web browser or mobile phone, enter their preferences, and receive a step-by-step schedule of places to visit nearby. The user can enter details on time of day, how long they would like the tour to last, whether they are traveling by foot or by car, and preferences for certain types of attractions as part of their detailed itinerary. The program categorizes sights and events into museums & arts, architecture & city, eating out, shopping, sports & outdoor, and bars & nightlife so that tourists can easily find the places and activities that interest them the most. Sightplanner's ability to adjust to users' unique preferences makes it a much more dynamic sightseeing guide than the standard tourism books or brochures.

As an already popular tourist destination, Hamburg's local economy could benefit greatly by providing a simpler, more convenient way for visitors to interact with and explore the city. Tools like Sightsplanner help tourists see not just what a city has to offer, but when and how they can get there, taking much of the difficulty out of planning a tour. Widespread use of such a user-friendly system could transform the way that tourists view Hamburg and motivate them to prolong their stay.

~ Allison Bullock

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

Have a real-time information product for mobile devices? Fukuoka is willing to try it in their city!

The japanese city of Fukuoka is seeking products/solutions to deliver real-time bus, destination and tourist information to visitors in an easily accessible way on smartphones, screens and mobile devices. The city invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Fukuoka category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year's edition, Worldsensing for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its FastPrk Technology to monitor parking within 6 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award.

For the 2012 edition, with the aim of improving mobility in Fukuoka, we are seeking a solution that provides bus and city information to non-daily users using a mobile platform: Mobile Bus Information System, or MBIS for short. The MBIS should include information on current city traffic conditions, bus schedules, bus transfers, the time needed to reach any destination, tourist information, city information, and so on (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Make Yourself at Home: Tourism Solutions

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBKy-hSedg8&w=440&h=253] Four of our partner cities this award round are interested in finding solutions to issues of tourism (Barcelona, Derry-Londonderry, Hamburg, and Fukuoka).  What with tourism being the world’s largest service sector industry, 5th or 6th overall, and the need of cities to attract tax revenue from non-residents, it makes sense that so many cities see tremendous value in attracting more tourists.

As I am not intimately familiar with its mechanisms and recent innovations, I did a quick news search for “tourism industry.”  One of the first stories was about Aurasma, the “world’s first visual browser.”  The video at the top demonstrates the mobile app’s incredible power.  The app allows you to point your smartphone at any image or vista in front of you (actual reality) and over it impose an image (augmented reality).  While it’s simply fun to use, it offers tremendous opportunity for the tourism industry – Mexico and Hawaii are currently testing it out.

In a related search, several tourism-related companies showed up in TechCrunch’s CrunchBase, a database of start-ups.  Tourism Radio caught my eye.  This radio is “tuned to the listener” – a device put into rental cars and, using GPS and customer inputs, delivers individualized information about the area through which the tourist drives.

Related is hummba, a social and travel networking site that users can access through a mobile app to access free travel guides and share travel experiences.

I’m starting to think these apps could provide value to residents and tourists alike – you never know what your neighborhood used to look like.  What better way to engage more deeply with your environment?

-          Terra Curtis

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

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.

Smart Phones as Hotel Keys

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yXd3wS3Acg&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3] Two Holiday Inn hotels in the US have begun a new pilot program that allows guests to check into their hotel rooms and unlock the door itself through their mobile phone. Participants in the MobileKey program are sent a text message containing their room number and a special key code on the day of their reservation. Overall the participating Holiday Inn branches are receiving reviews which range from warm to enthusiastic, many busy clients are thrilled to skip the concierge stop and head right to their room. Watch the Video above to learn exactly how MobileKey works.

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...

Museum Mobile Phone Apps

In the current issue of Museum Practice, a journal that focuses on trends in curatorial practices, Simon Stevens presents us with an informed perspective on the costs and benefits associated with implementing mobile applications in the museum-going experience. The premise of this piece is that it may serve many museums well to pause and think about what they want this application to do for them before they make the investment; Is it just for in-house use? Should it be geared towards a specific age-group? Should it engage museum-goers when they are out and about? Does it individualize the experience? Should it bring more people in? Though the piece can only be accessed with a subscription, any museum or similar organization considering this strategic decision should put up the dough to take a look. Stevens does an especially great job at giving his audience a framework that diagrams how to develop and market an app for their museum.

Moreover, Stevens provides examples, cataloguing the experiences of four different museums and their apps- including the Hunterian Museum (pictured), which developed its app in-house on a tiny budget.

Our Handbook on Innovation in Services and Mobility in Cities - "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend" - now out!

We are pleased to announce that our new Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities is now out, published by the DesignLondon at the Royal College of Art. The result of a collaborative effort involving more than 20 contributors, the book presents rich original data and serves as a resource for professionals from both public and private sectors, as well as entrepreneurs, engaged in the complex yet potentially profitable market for service innovations in cities.

You can flick through and order the book now at Amazon (UK), Amazon (US).

Mobility is not a technology, but a paradigm shift. The user, as citizen, professional, or visitor is in a state of mobility represented by the ubiquity of mobile phones in our society. Why this book asks, have highly appreciated services like mobile parking, tourism services, or solutions for the visually impaired not taken off despite the astronomical investments into digital infrastructures in the past decade? Why, have these infrastructures not had the productivity impact that the internet had on our economies, when more than 60% of the world population have access to them?

256 Billion Euro is the sum of opportunity presented in this book, following real business cases and examples of mobility and service innovations in cities. Drawing on the rich insights of Living Labs Global, the book illustrates what defines the market for mobility, neglected by many for its complexity. It logically structures the market opportunities, frustrations and successes, and actors that make or break success into a coherent call for action to fundamentally change how we deliver services in cities.
This book reveals important insights for public leaders, local politicians, service professionals in public and private organisations, entrepreneurs, technology experts, consultants and researchers interested in promoting innovation and excellence in cities today.

Mobility Value: The Supermarket Checkout

Sometimes mobile or wireless service experts get baffled why users don't take up their killer-application. Value creation in mobile services is rarely related to their actual cost. Tourists can pay more in roaming charges than their entire touristic expenditure for an average stay; managing parking through advanced mobile services is rationalised down to a (high margin) mobile payment transaction. In today's mobility industry, users are expected to pay per kilobyte and not for their gain in efficiency, productivity, pleasure or other gains provided by a service.

If we compare this to a supermarket Check-out, we may arrive at the value-proposition shown above. Would you enter a shop in which you pay for a) the time you spent in the shop, b) the width of the corridors (bandwidth), c) the volume of the goods you bought, and d) 10% just for the pleasure of payment (billing fees)?

A How to Guide for Mobile Internet Calls

Want to avoid heinous roaming rates and sky-high mobile bills--the type capable of inducing an early-heart attack--when travelling abroad and using your mobile phone? Here's a useful article in the NYTimes giving step by step advice on how to avoid these noisy bills. The guide runs through popular VOIP services such as Skype, Skype Lite and Fring, and extends its review to lesser-known services such as Truphone. Enjoy.

The 'Grythyttan' of Texas? Maybe...

A while back Living Labs Global reported on the Swedish mining town of Grythyttan: a town which on its last legs reinvented itself as a global center for gastronomy, exploring all aspects of restauranteering and using new technologies to boot. Here is the original post. Marfa, Texas, of all places, seems to be experiencing its own culinary renaissance. Many leagues from Texas's traditional epicentres this small town, a mere dot on the state's westward territories (it's closest to the city of San Antonio), is becoming known for its unpretentious, global home cooking.

Serving up everything from diesel fried chicken to marfalafel, a local spin on falafel, in old delivery trucks or washed up car dealerships.

Ok, so Marfa isn't home to the world's largest cookbook library and nor can eager students complete a PHD in Taste (both are possible in Grythyttan.) Still, it's an exciting story of culinary reinvention. To read more about the town's revitalization---click here.

Bike Abuse in Paris

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CagYn9-7jQ&hl=en&fs=1&] Saturday's New York Times ran an unassuming yet provocative piece on the Parisian bike-sharing system, the Velib.  It seems that Velib bikes have become the scapegoats for the underlying class-tensions that persist between the modern center city and Paris's suburban banlieusards. Of the 20,000 bikes that made up the original Velib fleet,  some 8,000 have been stolen and another 8,000 rendered irreparable the NY Times reports.  Moreover, vandalism is on the rise, in 2008 incidences of destructive vandalism to the Velib fleet increased 54 percent.

Obviously, this destruction is problematic from a maintenance and provision perspective. Paris is now digging deep in its pockets to reimburse JCDecaux, the advertising company  that presides over the Velib bike sharing service; JCDecaux reports that it repairs as many as 1,500 bicycles per day.

Putting the financial implications of this abuse aside, the reporting hints at the daunting nature of the challenge at hand, the challenge to  create new, accessible, egalitarian city services, extending new degrees of mobility to all city residents.   In the article Bruno Marloff, a sociologist who specializes in transportation, describes the phenomenon as "an outcry, a form of rebellion...There is an element of negligence that means, 'We don't have the right to mobility like other people, to get to Paris it's a huge pain, we don't have cars, and when we do, it's too expensive and too far."

Velib is is unique in that it is the largest bike sharing system of its kind with 20,000 bikes in circulation and just under 1,500 docking stations.  Since its inauguration, it offered up over 63 million unique trips, changing the way many residents and tourists  experience point to point.  And, in the city center where these stations are placed every 300 meters or so, indeed, it is quite convenient.  For those living outside Paris, however, the system falls short and in this sense, the service itself might be perceived as exclusive or privileged.

Moreover, the city or JCDecaux might have reserved the Velib bike service for Paris residents instead of extending the service to tourists [bikes are readily available to everyone, simply swipe a credit card and pay a small fee] as fending off tourists during tourism season is annoying enough without having to wrest your bike from them on your morning commute;  unlike Paris, Barcelona boldly limits its bike sharing system to city residents by introducing an annual subscription model and a 3-4 day delay in the registration process.

Online, in teh comments section of the NY times, readers were eager to condemn residents for the dubious behavior, condemn the city itself for providing a service which is not without its imperfections, condemn the phenomenon itself as an enigma or capitalist culture.

Neither here nor there, filtering one's perspective through any of these enigmatic lens cuts the real problem short and makes it easy to draw incomplete conclusions.  During a plenary session in Taiwan this last month, I whitnessed two urbanists debating the role of services in shaping city identity.  While one party was eager to dismiss them as symptomatic of our urban experience, the other bearishly declared that in modern society, city services are the cornestone through which city identity and connections are made.  The case of Paris's Velibs only serves to bolster the latter planner's claim.

Nine Global Cities launch joint award for technologies to help millions of citizens and visitors

9 cities from Europe, Asia and the United States join forces with Living Labs Global in a challenge to find the innovative solutions to major societal problems by opening competition among international solution-, technology- and service providers.
The 9 winners of the Living Labs Global Showcase Award will be invited to pilot their solutions in these cities, proving the effectiveness of new solutions and offering a first step for innovative providers to enter new markets.
Today, we announce the launch of the Living Labs Global Showcase Award in partnership with global cities such as Chicago, Taipei and Barcelona as well as smaller cities such as Eindhoven, Sant Cugat and Caceres. This award is open for companies and organizations that have developed digital solutions that add high value to users in cities around the world.
Living Labs Global has partnered with global cities, representing around 12 million citizens from Europe, the US and Asia to call for solutions that can solve some of their most pressing challenges. Challenges include social inclusion, digital tourism, water management, urban service automation, citizen participation, healthcare and mobility. Submissions follow the format of the Living Labs Global Showcase, which already today presents more than 230 international service innovations. Submissions to qualify for the Living Labs Global Showcase Award can be submitted until the 1st of December 2009.
9 Categories for the Award are being presented in partnership with communities that seek to identify the best solutions to meet their strategic challenges. Showcases will be reviewed against all categories, and a shortlist of the top 5 Showcases will be presented by the juries on December 15th 2009. The final Award winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony on February 14th 2009, the eve of the Mobile World Congress.
Instead of cash-prizes, Award Winners will be invited by the partner cities to pilot their solution in a real-life environment with full institutional support and evaluation by the cities, offering a first step into key international markets.

Chicago, Taipei and Barcelona, Stockholm, Eindhoven, Sant Cugat, Caceres and La Selva join forces with Living Labs Global in a challenge to find the innovative solutions to major societal problems by opening competition among international solution-, technology- and service providers.

The 9 winners of the Living Labs Global Showcase Award will be invited to pilot their solutions in these cities, proving the effectiveness of new solutions and offering a first step for innovative providers to enter new markets. This award is open for companies and organizations that have developed digital solutions that add high value to users in cities around the world.

Living Labs Global has partnered with these cities, representing around 12 million citizens from Europe, the US and Asia to call for solutions that can solve some of their most pressing challenges. Challenges include social inclusion, digital tourism, water management, urban service automation, citizen participation, healthcare and mobility. Submissions follow the format of the Living Labs Global Showcase, which already today presents more than 230 international service innovations. Submissions to qualify for the Living Labs Global Showcase Award can be submitted until the 1st of December 2009.

9 Categories for the Award are being presented in partnership with communities that seek to identify the best solutions to meet their strategic challenges. Showcases will be reviewed against all categories, and a shortlist of the top 5 Showcases will be presented by the juries on December 15th 2009. The final Award winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony on February 14th 2010, the eve of the Mobile World Congress.

Instead of cash-prizes, Award Winners will be invited by the partner cities to pilot their solution in a real-life environment with full institutional support and evaluation by the cities, offering a first step into key international markets.

Stay updated by following our Twitter.

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.