ICT Research and applying a SME perspective on development of mobile services

Everything started with number of meetings and planning sessions at the Åbo Akademi University where young researchers as well as professors and PhD:s were discussing in working groups what and how everything had to be done. The group started developing questionnaires which had to be sent out to entrepreneurs in all three partner countries.

Meetings with E-teams were planned in order to discuss the content of the questionnaire, to find out what entrepreneurs like, how they use ICT in their company etc. It was important to consider a gender aspect when preparing questionnaires which is why Åbo Akademi Women Research Institute got involved. Questionnaires were sent out directly to entrepreneurs or through the project partners:

  • in Finland were questionnaires in Swedish and Finish
  • in Sweden – in Swedish
  • in Estonia – in Estonian and Russian

The thematic working group at Åbo Akademi received many answers about how entrepreneurs use Internet, what they do, what they plan to do etc. Those answers were discussed in the group. The next step was to take direct contact with entrepreneurs in all three countries. Åbo Akademi’s researchers travelled around and met with about 20 entrepreneurs in Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Everything was filmed and documented.

After the so called ”Looking at answers period” started when there were thematic working group meetings and discussions with project partners about what and how to proceed. As a result following assumptions were made:

  • Many mobiles have GPS and internet connection nowadays
  • People who use mobiles for tourism purposes are modern, therefore they have mobiles with GPS and internet connections
  • Roaming is expensive but apps should work off-line
  • Apps can be downloaded anywhere in the world

Problem

  • Finding a proper map for off-line

Limitation

  • Majority of pictures can be seen only on-line

Several meetings were held with E-teams in the three countries in order to discuss a proposal and get an outlook as they would be main users of applications.

A researcher was hired by ÅA to do the iOS application. Different beta versions were presented to E-teams during the process, new ideas were introduced. Initially the project discussed to develop the application for four operating systems, but resources were not enough so it was decided to focus on the two major operating systems on the market: iOS and Android.

A web page is also under development called mobitourist.eu. This web page will be available for all phones with an internet connection, but also act as an introduction to the iOS and Android applications. The apps will soon be put into the Apple store and also Android market.

The application MobiTourist is a concrete result of cross border cooperation and show cross border activities in Quadruple. It is expected from tourism entrepreneurs to be active and update their info.

Discussions about how these apps and the webpage should be updated after the project ends is on going. All data from all regions must be gathered in one place in order to always have the latest info in the apps. To find a suitable solution on how the project result in the form of a mobile app will live on after year 2011 is an important task to solve for the project

 

 

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