Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

EXPLORE Report Summary

Project ID: 508221
Funded under: FP6-SME
Country: Finland

Final Report Summary - EXPLORE (Gaming and guiding system for museum and exhibition environments)

The objective of the EXPLORE project was to develop a location-sensitive, interactive, guiding, infotainment, and entertaining system for museum environments. The visitor's own mobile phone serves as a personalised digital companion. positioning and communication are based on bluetooth technology. This system is scalable to various sizes of museums and exhibitions and it can be built on various data management platforms. The social objectives are to raise attendance and attractiveness of museums and cultural exhibitions, especially among the youngsters in a competition against other entertainment services and also offering multilingual experience thus offering better service for foreign exhibition visitors on the other hand. This system enables the networking of European museums through Internet and thus emphasising the communal aspects between European countries as well as between individuals visiting the exhibition at the same time.

The innovation of the EXPLORE project is that it will allow a dynamic interaction between the visitor and the EXPLORE system, allowing to provide personalised information. The information stored in the EXPLORE's terminal (the visitor's own mobile phone) is minimal, and all content related information is downloaded dynamically based on the visitor's context during a visit.

Starting from the needs from the different users and actors in the project, the basic technological choices were made. For mobile phones, there is currently no universal programming method which works on all devices. As user devices smart phones using the series 60 platform are addressed. The series 60 platform, built on the Symbian operating system, is the leading smart phone platform on the market, and supported by the leading mobile phone manufacturers such as Nokia, Samsung and Siemens.

The following scenarios have been defined:
Scenario 1 - Visiting a museum
Scenario 2 - Playing a game
Scenario 3 - End of the visit
Scenario 4 - Administration.

Starting from the scenarios and the identified user needs, a set of 30 use cases, divided over 7 classes have been derived. Based on the analysed user needs, scenarios and use cases, the functional and non-functional requirements for the system have been developed. During the specifications phase, the architecture of the system, and the different components and the messages between the components have been defined. The different modules of the EXPLORE system have been developed using the Java language and messages are exchanged in XML format. The client at the mobile phone has been developed with J2ME technology for mobile phones with the Symbian operating system and the series 60 user interface environment.

The system has been trialed in two sites, in the Rupriikki Media Museum in Tampere, Finland, and in the foundation Tito Balestra art museum in Longiano, Italy. In the Rupriikki Media Museum in Tampere, seven access points are used to deliver context-sensitive information. Through the system, the user can get information on the history of the building, in which the museum is located. In the Foundation Tito Balestra, there are in total 10 access points at the three different levels of the medieval castle. The content covers the objects of art on display in the different rooms.

The system has been evaluated in both trial sites. According to manually performed response time measurements (20-30 seconds for new location information), the system performed well. Visitor questionnaires were answered by about 60 users in both trial sites. The visitors in Italy were satisfied with the system, although the system showed some deficiencies, such as a low transport time, and the visitors had problems with the phone. The visitors in Finland, who faced the same problems, were not so positive about the EXPLORE system. In Finland, most of the test users borrowed the phone from the museum, and were unfamiliar with both the series 60 and bluetooth technology. The visitors in Finland desired a more reliable system with faster response time, and wanted also more content and more spots to download information.

The problems which embarrassed the end users are partly due to the immaturity of the technologies used, e.g. the Java memory management is not working properly on smart phones, and the error rate in bluetooth technology increases when the visitor is far from the access point.

The acceptance of the visitors may be improved by providing them guidelines on how to use the system, e.g. refrain from walking when requesting information, and advice them to first walk to the destination and only then request information.

During the EXPLORE project, a guiding system has been developed, which offers profile dependent and location-dependent information to the visitors all over the museum. The performance, reliability and hence user-acceptance of the system could be improved, by limiting the coverage of the access points near to the objects of interest, or by only using some of the innovations offered by the EXPLORE system, e.g. not using the location or profiling features.

The EXPLORE project has been presented at different international conferences in Finland and Italy. A press released from September 2005 received publicity in different newspapers in Finland. The SMEs, which have been involved in the project will bring products based on the EXPLORE system on the market, and have already made initial contacts. The product can be marketed with all the functionalities developed in the project (personalisation, location, connection to external databases), or with only a subset of the functionalities. The product can be marketed either as a complete service to the museum, including content generation and system support and maintenance, or as a tool with which the museum or a third party can develop content for their exhibitions.

Related information

Contact

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top