Mobile Multimedia Guides in museums. Free and open platform solution changes the rules of the game.

Exhibitor Briefing
Alex Palin, izi.TRAVEL, The Netherlands, Alex Tourski, IZITEQ / Director, The Netherlands

The mobile revolution is very fast and sometimes very frightening. Museums are afraid to make the wrong decisions as they lack technical specialists.

Right now, the only way for them to use the mobile technology is to invest in the development of their own museum app. The bigger museums can afford to do this. To our knowledge, such projects cost from €200k to €2M. For small museums, a mobile audio guide is an unreachable gadget.

IZI.travel suggests turning this situation around. We have brought to the market a free, open mobile multimedia guide platform which allows museums to create and launch a audio guide in a week, without any cost at all.

The platform consists of two components:

- For the visitors: a set of mobile apps for all possible platforms: native apps for iOS/Android/Windows and Web Apps for mobile and desktop web browsers.
- For the museums and the content providers: the CMS – Content Management System which makes it possible to create, via a convenient Web interface, indoor or outdoor guided tours
The platform used not only helps to cut costs to zero, but also helps museums to go beyond the walls with the city guided tours, to co-operate with other museums and city authorities and even attract more funding for their projects from sponsors.

The interesting result of our work is that we found that a generic museum platform and its app are suitable for bigger museums with their strict requirements for a “branded app”. Instead, we suggest:

- to use their “branded content” inside the non-branded platform app
- that the app starts within the museum with its content which makes an impression of the “branded app”.

Bibliography:
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS, Mobile technology Survey (2011)
FALK, J. H., Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience, Walnut Creek (CA) (2009).
ITU (INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION), World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database, (2013)
KATZ, J. LABAR, W. LYNCH, E., Creativity and Technology: Social Media, Mobiles and Museums, (2011).
PROCTOR, N., Mobile Apps for Museums, (2011)
SIMON, N., The Participatory Museum, Santa Cruz (CA), (2010)