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Commentary: As a lifelong fan of the character, I’m worried about the movie.

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Modern history: how the heritage business is embracing mobile tech

The heritage industry is an inherently conservative business, trading as it does in the past, and as such it can be wary of change, and relatively slow to innovate. However, faced with a new generation of visitors who've grown up using smartphones, computers and various other gadgets demanding an interactive experience rather than just looking at exhibits on walls and in glass cases, innovate it must.

And with museums and other heritage operations often short of cash, and lacking the resources to provide hardware and technical support to visitors, embracing mobile technology in the form of apps is proving to be an effective means by which to modernize their offerings for a relatively modest outlay.

Ditching the headset

The Atomium, an iconic building comprising nine mirror-shine steel sphere suspended on stilts, is located to the north of Brussels city center. Built as a centerpiece of the 1958 World Fair, it's intended to resemble an iron crystal magnified billions of times. It houses a permanent exhibit dedicated to its own construction, along with temporary exhibitions devoted to art, design, technology and architecture.

Until 2015, a audio guide headset was offered to each visitor for two euros. However,   units would regularly break or go missing, and would have to be replaced, and with The Atomium hiring the sets from an external company it found the system was costing more than it was worth to maintain. The solution? To go mobile.

Photo of The Atomium

The Atomium has replaced conventional audio headsets with with an app-based guide. Credit: The Atomium 

The Atomium turned to Spanish firm CloudGuide whose app provides official visitor content for museums, galleries, monuments and other attractions around the world. Visitors can download the CloudGuide app to their phone or tablet via The Atomium's free Wi-fi, then select the audio guide (in one of 11 languages) before plugging in their headphones and setting off.

While reducing the cost to the Atomium and offering an improved service to most visitors, the new system wasn't without its downsides.

“Because we do have many senior visitors who do not have a smartphone, I was a bit concerned myself that we unwillingly would exclude elderly visitors from getting the same information than other visitors who do have a smartphone,” says Yvonne Boodts, spokesperson for the Atomium. ”Some were a bit disappointed in the beginning because the clients wanted to hire a device and not download an app.”

Image of mobile phones with the cloudguide app

CloudGuide’s app offers interactive content to visitors to museums and other cultural attractions around the world

It's inevitable that when an attraction innovates in this way risks excluding a portion of its audience, and the Atomium provides alternatives for those who don't own a smartphone or who prefer a more conventional visitor experience – there's still the option of a guided tour, while video and written guides are available to hire for the hearing-impaired.

Going mobile 

With the arrival of HTML5 web design, and open design principles being embraced by developers, it is now easier than ever to create an app wrapper using an online service and take your site to the masses.

Managing that app, and everything which can be ‘plugged into‘ it, is another matter altogether, and as is the case with many businesses that aren't especially tech-oriented, software development skills are in relatively short supply within the heritage sector; however companies such as Cuseum are there to help fill in that gap.

Image of cuseum app on a phone in an art gallery

Cuseum’s app-based guides offer a smarter and more cost-effective alternative to traditional audio guides for museums and art galleries

Brendan Ciecko, CEO and founder, explains:

“At Cuseum, we help over a hundred museums and cultural institutions engage their visitors and members using the power of mobile,“ says founder and CEO Brendan Ciecko. “Cultural institutions have an opportunity to meet their visitors and members where they are and leverage mobile technology to make it easy to access educational content and resources on their own devices.

“Additionally, with the growing movement towards accessibility and inclusion, these tools can be used to make strides in accommodating all visitors.”

This is the next step when it comes to implementing mobile tech in the heritage industry – treating it not as merely a solution for modernization, but rather as a platform offering a whole host of advantages and opportunities.

Engagement is one such example – or rather the data produced from it. Seeing usage data in real time, and being able to collate that into reports is enormously useful, but only if it is part of a holistic strategy.

The augmented revolution

Beyond the important but fairly mundane benefits in terms of data collection and improved efficiency, embracing mobile offers genuinely exciting opportunities for museums, galleries and similar attractions, mainly in the area of augmented reality. AR enables information, graphics and more to be overlaid on real-time images of a visitor's surroundings, using a phone screen or other such device, bringing a new level of interactivity. This has two advantages over the equally exciting technology of virtual reality.

Firstly, it isn’t wholly immersive – visitors are still engaged with the physical environment around them. Secondly, it's much cheaper to produce content, and many institutions are already using it to good effect.

In 1990, Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum suffered a catastrophic loss when 13 artworks with a combined value of $500 million were stolen, the biggest art theft in history. To this day the frames remain empty, a powerful reminder of the loss, but the paintings are back – at least in a virtual sense.

Image of a painting overlaid on a physical frame using augmented reality

Visitors to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum can use an AR app to ‘see’ the paintings that were stolen in the 1990 heist in their original frames

Cuseum has teamed up with the museum to create an augmented reality experience titled Hacking the Heist, which uses AR to replace the missing pictures in their original frames. Using their phones, visitors can see how the pictures looked in their original environment.

Some institutions have gone even further, with the world’s first entirely augmented reality exhibition opening in 2017 at the Perez Art Museum in Miami.

So while some in an industry that can be slow to embrace change remain skeptical about new technology, many institutions are taking advantage of mobile apps, AR and more, not just to keep up with the times, but to offer genuinely new and exciting experiences to their visitors. And with knowledge and ideas spreading rapidly through the industry, and audiences increasingly expecting an element of interaction with their museum or gallery visit, it seems there's little danger of the heritage business going out of date.

TechRadar's Next Up series is brought to you in association with Honor


via Click on the link for the full article

Modern history: how the heritage business is embracing mobile tech

The heritage industry is an inherently conservative business, trading as it does in the past, and as such it can be wary of change, and relatively slow to innovate. However, faced with a new generation of visitors who've grown up using smartphones, computers and various other gadgets demanding an interactive experience rather than just looking at exhibits on walls and in glass cases, innovate it must.

And with museums and other heritage operations often short of cash, and lacking the resources to provide hardware and technical support to visitors, embracing mobile technology in the form of apps is proving to be an effective means by which to modernize their offerings for a relatively modest outlay.

Ditching the headset

The Atomium, an iconic building comprising nine mirror-shine steel sphere suspended on stilts, is located to the north of Brussels city center. Built as a centerpiece of the 1958 World Fair, it's intended to resemble an iron crystal magnified billions of times. It houses a permanent exhibit dedicated to its own construction, along with temporary exhibitions devoted to art, design, technology and architecture.

Until 2015, a audio guide headset was offered to each visitor for two euros. However,   units would regularly break or go missing, and would have to be replaced, and with The Atomium hiring the sets from an external company it found the system was costing more than it was worth to maintain. The solution? To go mobile.

Photo of The Atomium

The Atomium has replaced conventional audio headsets with with an app-based guide. Credit: The Atomium 

The Atomium turned to Spanish firm CloudGuide whose app provides official visitor content for museums, galleries, monuments and other attractions around the world. Visitors can download the CloudGuide app to their phone or tablet via The Atomium's free Wi-fi, then select the audio guide (in one of 11 languages) before plugging in their headphones and setting off.

While reducing the cost to the Atomium and offering an improved service to most visitors, the new system wasn't without its downsides.

“Because we do have many senior visitors who do not have a smartphone, I was a bit concerned myself that we unwillingly would exclude elderly visitors from getting the same information than other visitors who do have a smartphone,” says Yvonne Boodts, spokesperson for the Atomium. ”Some were a bit disappointed in the beginning because the clients wanted to hire a device and not download an app.”

Image of mobile phones with the cloudguide app

CloudGuide’s app offers interactive content to visitors to museums and other cultural attractions around the world

It's inevitable that when an attraction innovates in this way risks excluding a portion of its audience, and the Atomium provides alternatives for those who don't own a smartphone or who prefer a more conventional visitor experience – there's still the option of a guided tour, while video and written guides are available to hire for the hearing-impaired.

Going mobile 

With the arrival of HTML5 web design, and open design principles being embraced by developers, it is now easier than ever to create an app wrapper using an online service and take your site to the masses.

Managing that app, and everything which can be ‘plugged into‘ it, is another matter altogether, and as is the case with many businesses that aren't especially tech-oriented, software development skills are in relatively short supply within the heritage sector; however companies such as Cuseum are there to help fill in that gap.

Image of cuseum app on a phone in an art gallery

Cuseum’s app-based guides offer a smarter and more cost-effective alternative to traditional audio guides for museums and art galleries

Brendan Ciecko, CEO and founder, explains:

“At Cuseum, we help over a hundred museums and cultural institutions engage their visitors and members using the power of mobile,“ says founder and CEO Brendan Ciecko. “Cultural institutions have an opportunity to meet their visitors and members where they are and leverage mobile technology to make it easy to access educational content and resources on their own devices.

“Additionally, with the growing movement towards accessibility and inclusion, these tools can be used to make strides in accommodating all visitors.”

This is the next step when it comes to implementing mobile tech in the heritage industry – treating it not as merely a solution for modernization, but rather as a platform offering a whole host of advantages and opportunities.

Engagement is one such example – or rather the data produced from it. Seeing usage data in real time, and being able to collate that into reports is enormously useful, but only if it is part of a holistic strategy.

The augmented revolution

Beyond the important but fairly mundane benefits in terms of data collection and improved efficiency, embracing mobile offers genuinely exciting opportunities for museums, galleries and similar attractions, mainly in the area of augmented reality. AR enables information, graphics and more to be overlaid on real-time images of a visitor's surroundings, using a phone screen or other such device, bringing a new level of interactivity. This has two advantages over the equally exciting technology of virtual reality.

Firstly, it isn’t wholly immersive – visitors are still engaged with the physical environment around them. Secondly, it's much cheaper to produce content, and many institutions are already using it to good effect.

In 1990, Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner museum suffered a catastrophic loss when 13 artworks with a combined value of $500 million were stolen, the biggest art theft in history. To this day the frames remain empty, a powerful reminder of the loss, but the paintings are back – at least in a virtual sense.

Image of a painting overlaid on a physical frame using augmented reality

Visitors to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum can use an AR app to ‘see’ the paintings that were stolen in the 1990 heist in their original frames

Cuseum has teamed up with the museum to create an augmented reality experience titled Hacking the Heist, which uses AR to replace the missing pictures in their original frames. Using their phones, visitors can see how the pictures looked in their original environment.

Some institutions have gone even further, with the world’s first entirely augmented reality exhibition opening in 2017 at the Perez Art Museum in Miami.

So while some in an industry that can be slow to embrace change remain skeptical about new technology, many institutions are taking advantage of mobile apps, AR and more, not just to keep up with the times, but to offer genuinely new and exciting experiences to their visitors. And with knowledge and ideas spreading rapidly through the industry, and audiences increasingly expecting an element of interaction with their museum or gallery visit, it seems there's little danger of the heritage business going out of date.

TechRadar's Next Up series is brought to you in association with Honor


via Click on the link for the full article

What is the IoT? Everything you need to know

What is the IoT?

The world around us is getting smarter and more connected as technology becomes a common sight in many areas.

Digital devices are not just in our pockets or our offices, but increasingly in our homes, buildings, and many places and cities. Helping collect, analyse and monitor data and information about their surroundings, these devices are able to communicate with each other through the ‘Internet of Things’.

Often shortened to the IoT, this worldwide, interconnected network allows devices to talk to each other and to us, delivering reams of data through smarter processes that will greatly increase the quality of life around the world. 

The Internet of Things is predicted to revolutionise the way in which we live our lives, with many industry experts tipping it to have the biggest technological impact since cloud computing, as more data than ever before can be collected, stored and analysed.

Many consumers are already enjoying the benefits of the IoT, as popular products such as the Amazon Echo smart speaker and the Nest thermostat from Google becoming common sights in homes around the world.

But the wider world can also benefit from the IoT, with businesses being able to streamline previously complex and data-hungry processes through improved automation, freeing up employees for other tasks. 

Public sector organisations such as hospitals can also use sensors to monitor patients more effectively, and local governments can monitor pollution, traffic levels, weather data, and much much more.

The IoT is growing fast, and is set to affect more and more areas of our lives in the years to come, resulting in a smart world that previously was only imaginable in science fiction.

IoT – the latest news and views

27/09 – "Most sophisticated" Torii botnet targeting IoT devicesThe newly discovered malware strain is building the most sophisticated botnet ever seen…

21/09 – Privacy in the age of IoT: the future’s connected for VPNMany have asked: do ‘normal people’ actually care about online privacy and VPNs? Yes, they do…

20/09 – How can the IoT transform the sports business?Sports venues are getting a much needed upgrade from IoT technology…

19/09 – IoT malware grew significantly during the first half of 2018New research from Kaspersky Lab reveals how cybercriminals are targeting IoT devices…

06/08 – Why IBM is pushing to be the driving force in the IoTThe IoT and IBM could prove to be a match made in heaven…

03/08 – Qualcomm reveals major IoT pushChipmaker unveils its plans to help power the global IoT..

18/07 – Vodafone expands IoT range for businessesNew surveillance and energy management tools bring IoT to more companies across the UK…

17/07 – Microsoft and GE team up for major IoT launchPartnership will see major expansion of Industrial IoT from Azure and GE Digital…

13/06 – Vodafone: 5G smartphone uncertainty means focus on core network and IoTVodafone UK CTO says 5G will be a gamechanger, but smartphone innovation in the 4G era won't be matched…

04/06 – Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom test NB-IoT roamingTwo operators claim trial is massive step forward for cross-border IoT…

01/06 – LPWAN is the final piece in the mobile IoT puzzleVodafone's IoT business is focusing on services and partnerships rather than technology…

31/05 – GSMA: Mobile operators must change to grab $1.1tn IoT marketGSMA warns that just 5 per cent of IoT revenue will be found in connectivity, so mobile operators need to evolve…

17/05 – Mobile IoT networks to be a 'core component' of 5GGSMA says NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments are paving the way for massive IoT powered by 5G…

08/05 – Nokia snaps up SpaceTime Insights to boost IoT driveSpaceTime Insights acquisition allows Nokia to expand IoT work…

24/04 – Telcos exploring mixed approaches to IoTCommunications providers see the potential in IoT but are taking multiple paths, Ericsson report says…

23/03 – Operator partnerships could be the key to IoT successO2 says it wants to do more than just dish out SIMs and connectivity…

22/03 – IoT security spend to reach £1bn in 2018Gartner figures suggests increased awareness of threats is boosting spend…

07/03 – New internet of things security code aims to stamp out Mirai and other threatsThe government is taking action on IoT security…

22/12 – Why 2018 could be a decisive year for IoTMajor report highlights struggle between competing technologies over the next year…

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