SMART-UPProject ID: IST-2001-34184
Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Alliance through Research in Tourism - Take up.
Total cost:EUR 675 907
EU contribution:EUR 568 215
Funding scheme:ACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures
SMART-UP provides small and medium sized tourism enterprise (SMEs) with up-to-date tourism management know-how through modern information technologies. In the first trial, selected SMEs will test a first version of SMART-Up which integrates the SITOS learning tool with agent Technology. The participating universities design a total of five learning modules over the lifespan of the project which will be complemented by dynamic information collected by web-search agents, constantly updated benchmarking solutions, and chat facilities. In the second trial, the improved version of SMART-Up will be tested by a larger group of SMEs in order to finally create a learning tool that ensures a fast and cheap know-how amongst tourism SMEs and knwo-how producers (e.g. universities) throughout Europe.
The main goal is to alleviate know-how gaps of SMEs in tourism in the use of IT and specified areas of tourism management, thereby rendering the enterprises more competitive. This will also benefit tourists through an improved value of tourism services. The SMART-UP network also provides a learning platform to foster the use and acceptance of the latest available IT. The project aims at creating a low cost, easy to access knowledge co-operation of know-how providers and SMEs throughout Europe, thus increasing the innovation potential. Technical objectives include the dissemination of the Intelligent Agent Technology in the field of education and training in tourism, and the design of a flexible learning tool that allows individual and constant adjustments to users needs. The main business goal is to initiate a widely accepted learning platform for European tourism SMEs.
The proposed work schedule starts with the selection of 75 suitable tourism SMEs in Austria, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland. In initial workshops, the participating users will be invited to specify both content and technical requirements in co-operation with Siemens and Sigma. Based on the technical requirements, SIGMA will outline a tailored IT training program for the participating SMEs including both general introduction into IT and specific training on the SMART-UP learning tool. Simultaneously, two of the participating university institutes will work on the content development of initially two virtual learning modules and the corresponding benchmarking cases covering the tourism specific areas of "human resource management" and "quality management". For the second trial, learning modules on "capacity management", "product development" and "eCommerce in Tourism" will be added. In the meanwhile, Siemens will deploy the SITOS(r) e-learning system as well as the intelligent agent platform. Combined with a common graphical web-based user interface, the SMART-Up virtual learning company emerges, which will be constantly adapted according to the users' feedback throughout the trial. Ongoing evaluation provides information on evaluation results and user acceptance as a basis for product improvements. No less than 180 SMEs will be involved in the second trial in Month 11. Based on the evaluation of the results regarding user acceptance and improved know how during the trial phase, the OHV and other European intermediaries (represented by the advisory board of European hotel associations) will develop effective dissemination and distribution strategies for European tourism SMEs.
SMART-UP will modify the learning tool SITOS and the agent platforms for the specific needs of tourism SMEs. This will be achieved by performing two trials (month 6 & 11) with a number of 180 end users in Europe. Major milestones of this proposal are the delivery of 2 trial demonstration versions according to the user requirements and a conference SMART-UP demonstrator as well as a business plan for future providers.