ICT-solutions for small enterprises

carsson200A study on the use and intended use of 30 mobile services in Finland was carried out during 2003- 2007, with the same questionnaire each year and a random sample of 1000 consumers in Finland. Another design science based study was carried out of the building and implementation of mobile services in order to find out what features and what support will form value services for the users.

According to the study, 64% of the respondents do not find any use for the developed mobile services; 18% cannot use the services (too complicated); 16% found the services too expensive/of no interest; Within the near future the usage to remain on the same level; 3 % willing to try out new mobile services given the existing pricing; 59% not under any circumstances willing to try new mobile services.

Mobile services markets 2003-2009 have not taken off as promised. People simply do not need the services as they have been constructed and introduced, i.e. they do not fit the everyday routines of people. When asked if they intend to use the services in the future, people promise – but they do not use them; this shows up in the statistics. 

Therefore Åbo Akademi decided to build and try out the services ourselves in an EU-funded project on Åland.
Tourist needs information on pre-visit, during visit, post-visit services, websites, travel portals, virtual communities, route planners, interactive digital maps. Mobile support is about location awareness, time sensitivity, intimacy, ubiquity, continuous access to interactive, personalized travel info. Service should  ”Changes the limits of the possible in the structures of everyday life”.

Tourists and social interaction, both are information consumers and producers, creating value opinions and experience of others.

Important questions to answer

How can mobile tourist community services facilitate social interactions among tourists? By getting information and sharing experiences anytime and anywhere.

Is it possible to demonstrate that the mobile tourist community service will “expand the limits of the possible”? What type of business models would build viable business around mobile community services for tourists? So far, mobile network operators have not been successful. Service providers do not have the technology know-how, content producers are too small to undertake the necessary investments.

As Mobile Services Prototypes booking services are elaborated and tested; mobile guides to introduce site scenes, ferry ticket booking and purchasing of fishing permits were tested on Åland, for example.

Tourists are outside their everyday routines, their “comfort zone” where all routines work. The basic services – where to stay, where to eat, how to travel and what events to visit – becomes important; social networking services grow; worth to pay for. Mobile services need to be fitted to the context and to the cognitive profiles of the users; we need to understand and anticipate what the needs are going to be; the context is known to us – the service providers – even if it is not known to the tourists. Providing mobile value services is good business for all companies in the value chain; SMEs are an important part of this value chain.


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