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Posted by M.Jeff on | November 9, 2010 | 1 Reply
I am prolific note-taker and thought I’d post some of my reflections from the recent Museum Computer Network Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, October 27-30. I’m sharing all my notes (I took about 15 pages), but wanted to at least share some of the key points I gathered from the different sessions I attended. Remember too that this is the way I interpreted the sessions, so please post comments and share ideas. Especially if you disagree with my findings!!! Sharing is how we learn from each other. Here goes:
Summary of Key Findings:
- Infrastructure is Key. We can’t have programs emphasizing different technologies unless we have the bandwidth, reception and connectivity to support. This is Issue Number One.
- Technology programs are not intuitive. People don’t know how to jump right in and use the technologies we are developing for them. This is Issue Number Two.
- Are we developing products people want? There seems to be a discrepancy between what visitor research is telling us and what we are actually producing. Mobile lends itself to spontaneity and social behavior, but creating a specific tour program seems to directly conflict with these opportunities.
- Using vague descriptions of “technology” scare people because they are unknown. Emphasizing specific technologies, like QR codes, social networks, apps, video production, etc are concrete examples of use and specific applications.
- Our role as staff working with Educational Technologies is to increase curatorial opportunities to develop interactions between visitors and content.
- Common navigation of programs is virtually non-existent. Every different app and program seems designed in a vacuum from others so there is little chance of creating some kind of common navigational behavior.
- Programs are not cross-platform. Websites are the closest thing to widely distributed access, but in-gallery programs seem to emphasize I-phones. This limits the number of people we are connecting with. Some museums are trying the distributed-technologies approach (handing our I phones at the VIARC desk), but programs should really be using the technologies people already have. If you hand it out, be prepared on-site to fix it and explain how it works!
- New technologies being developed encourage visitor interaction and self-directed research, which means incorrect answers are part of the process. We need to do a better job of facilitating visitor interactions and being able to help them take more ownership of the experience in a productive manner.
Posted by juncanoo on | March 15, 2010 | No Replies
The story behind Juncanoo.
In the 2 years before coming to graduate school at Upenn, I traveled the world, spending time on every continent except Antartica, absorbing culture and learning as much about different places as I could. I traveled with a blackberry which had data connectivity in most places, that enabled me to keep track of news, search for things everywhere that I was (thanks to Google) and to keep in touch with friends and family by email.
When I visited museums and art galleries on the road, I was often unable to access guides to supplement the art or culture I was observing/experiencing. There were 2 barriers; first, a lack of English language guides, and second, for many smaller institutions, a lack of budget to afford a traditional audioguide.
How we got started.
I founded Juncanoo in March ’09, with two of my brothers who are both engineers, to help solve these problems. The journey has been great and has plunged us deeper into the art community than we ever imagined. As a result, we’re facing some fascinating questions at the same time as I suspect the global arts and culture community is; how technology can be used to
- help the arts and culture community sustain itself,
- build communities with patrons around arts and culture,
- expand programming beyond institutional walls,
- and communicate and connect directly with patrons,
Juncanoo has evolved into a deeper exploration of these topics which seeks to develop an integrated answer to these questions that is easy and a pleasure to use, that delivers value to both the institutions and the communities around them, and is inexpensive enough that everyone from temporary standalone installations to large metropolitan zoos can access the same technology.
We spent over a year speaking to people on the East Coast and around the world, from artists to museums, galleries to parks, to understand how institutions viewed these problems, and how we could go about solving them. In the process, we’ve built some enduring partnerships with very progressive institutions willing to enter this great unknown with us, and are on the precipice of some exciting opportunities that should deepen the affinities of patrons with institutions, create a dynamic virtual dialogue around arts and culture, and develop into new revenue streams that eventually help sustain the cultural community, and expand programming.
Where we are today.
We’ve developed the Exhibit Platform, an app currently on the iPhone (download here or search for “exhibit” in the AppStore) which will be available for Blackberry devices, and Google Android devices by the summer. Exhibit allows institutions of all kinds (museums, galleries, parks, zoos, botanical gardens and arboreta, aquariums, cities, outdoor installations and heritage sites) to publish cellphone, smartphone and virtual guides. Exhibit was in response to our first set of conversations with institutions last summer (chronicled at here) and is currently being used by 3 museums in the Philadelphia area: the ICA, the Mutter Museum, and the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Exhibit currently addresses:
- Expense: Traditional, hardware based, audioguide solutions required a huge upfront expense and are slowly giving way to the Cellphone tour model. Exhibit, on the other hand, is all software based, requires only the time investment on the part of the institution to get started, and integrates cellphone guides, smartphone guides, and mobile and desktop virtual guides into one place. This enables institutions to build, manage, and publish their content in one place, to worry less about the upfront and ongoing maintenance expenses, and to cover everyone possible; cellphone guides for visitors without smartphones, smartphone guides for those with the popular OS platforms, mobile browser guides for other smartphone owners, and desktop browser guides for those sitting at home or in the office.
- Social Networking: Institutions currently have no way of building word of mouth among users at the time when they are most interested – while in situ. Exhibit solves this by enabling visitors to share their experiences on social networks (now mostly facebook and twitter, but we’ll be expanding this).
- Mailing List: Exhibit enables end users to subscribe to institutional e-mailing lists, which will boost the benefits of email marketing efforts.
- Tracking: Exhibit tracks all end user activity. This data helps institutions analyze how users are responding to programming in a very quantitative way.
Finally, we’re building a bunch of functionality that we’ll update as we make available; these relate to tighter social networking integration, and commercial opportunities for institutions such as gift store sales, e-ticketing, sponsored pages, advertisements and donations. The thrust here, is to develop a system that sustains itself and is even revenue positive for participating institutions. Some examples of this will be ready by mid-April, and I’ll post here for your feedback when it is.
Ultimately, the institution and end user community will decide what is best, and for this reason, we’d love for all of you reading this to try out Exhibit; download it from the AppStore if you have an iPhone (download here or search for “exhibit” in the AppStore), or sample the virtual online guides for the ICA, the Penn Museum, and the Mutter Museum). We’d love any and all feedback – we’re looking for more institutions to try out Exhibit and help improve and refine it. You can reach me at Ayo(at)juncanoo.com with feedback.
Thanks for reading – my next post will discuss the challenges we’re facing – we’d love to hear all your thoughts!
Posted by Nancy Proctor on | March 13, 2010 | 3 Replies
Last year on a beautiful spring day I took a friend from out of town to a local botanic garden. As I don’t know much about the garden I went looking for an audio guide. It didn’t have one, but it did have an audio service which was accessible by dialing a phone number with relevant access codes scattered through the garden. I thought why doesn’t the garden have a smart phone app? An app I can use on my own phone to get access to a garden map, images and exhibit information? Then I began to think about the exciting possibilities of including multi-language support, e-ticketing, user-generated content (comments, pictures, custom tours, etc), and much more…. this is how the idea for Broad Impact was created.
We have developed a cross-platform app for cultural institutions to connect their visitors with the rich digital resources for engagement, enrichment, and education. Using our expertise in technology and content development, we create sustainable communication channels for cultural institutions worldwide.
At this stage we are working with leading institutions – botanical gardens and museums – to help shape how mobile technology impacts museums space.
We are based in New York City area and are looking for both feedback and collaborative partnerships with institutions to conduct primary visitor research. How many visitors of your institution have iPhones? How many would actually use them? How? What types of visitor groups your institution has?
We offer our expertise in marketing research to the community on a pro bono basis. We will collect the information, analyze it and deliver a report. This will help us serve the community and will help advance the use of mobile in museums.
I’ve attached an overview of our app. If you are interested in collaboration or simply have feedback or comments for what we have already done, please do not hesitate to contact us – we’d love to hear your ideas or learn from your experience!
Broad Impact LLC