Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

Smartify Report Summary

Project ID: 781928

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Smartify (A global platform for discovery and sharing of art)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2018-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The digital economy has urgent lessons to teach the museums sector – lessons that it is a decade or more late in learning. Over the last 10 years, the rise of digital products and services has seen traditional industries being positively disrupted, giving more choice and control to audiences. Netflix and Amazon Prime did this in the film and TV industry, Spotify for music, Uber and Lyft for private transport. Services such as personalised recommendations, on-demand services and dynamic pricing are now standard in most sectors, yet remain huge areas of untapped value for museums.

In a changing and competitive entertainment environment, museums and galleries are now experiencing higher barriers to income generation and meaningful audience engagement (particularly with younger and diverse audiences). Consumption of art information continues to rely on outdated media devices, wall labels or print-outs that fail to meet the needs of diverse population and expectations for personalized, social, emotionally impactful experiences. At the same time, subject to funding cuts since the recession and with their philanthropic and corporate partners all living with global economic uncertainty, for museums a sense of real forthcoming change pervades.

Smartify CIC is a social enterprise with a mission to make information about art accessible and to support the audience reach and financial resilience of museums. The app is already used by the world’s most popular museums and galleries, along with many more that are smaller and relatively unknown. Smartify has been downloaded by over 500,000 museum visitors since its launch in February 2017.

Our partners see Smartify as an opportunity to invest in a cross-institutional targeted platform that embraces data-driven business models. However, this must be done in a way that respects the museum brands, helps them replace declining revenue streams and, at the same time, offers end-users and visitors exciting, engaging experiences with art.

With this context in mind, the objectives of the project were:
1. To prototype, develop and test two new features in Smartify app, that would increase user retention and monetize the platform
2. To open new markets and establish new contacts in the museums and arts sector at a European and global scale.
3. To improve the image and visibility of Smartify as among the best European and global SME’s in the creative/immersive technology sector.
4. To produce validate Smartify's business model for follow-up financing, enabling Smartify’s growth.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Smartify CIC untook a six-month Phase 1 Feasibility Study between September 2017 and February 2018. The project aim was to determine the technological, practical and economic viability of two new app features; exploring if these would increase user retention and monetize the platform.

The main activity of the project was the prototyping, development and testing of two new app features:
• User-generated content
• Art Recommendations

Overall the project has been considered an unqualified success by Smartify and all stakeholders, generating valuable outputs that will have significant impact on the future of the business. Both features will now go on to be further developed and rolled out within the app on a global scale. In addition, two further feature (in-app transactions/donations) were discovered as high-priority and will also be developed. The project improved the image of Smartify and its ranking among the best European and global SMEs in the creative technology sector – for example winning the GLOMO for ‘Most Innovate App’ at the 2018 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Finally, the project will have long-term social impact for the museum stakeholders and their audiences; contributing to the financial sustainability of the museums and enhanced wellbeing and associated benefits for their visitors.

A number of commercial opportunities have arisen as a direct result of the project and we are keen to exploit these to their full potential through a H2020 SME Phase 2 grant. Smartify currently has a backlog of over 50 of clients across the EU and globally who wish to launch on the platform including corporate and private art collections, as well as non-profit public museums. In order to meet this demand we require urgent funding to scale-up our team and integrate the features tested in this Phase 1 action to market readiness.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Through this Feasibility study, Smartify has consolidated its position as a leader in digital transformation for museums. Management will now develop the features explored through the project and expects substantial financial growth for Smartify, and financial growth for partner museums. In addition, we will see a social/cultural impact on visitors to museums.

For full details see the full feasibility report.

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