Mobile Tourist information

Adapt to the small screen

– The tendency is that users are moving from desktop to laptop, through even smaller laptops to smart phones. This means that existing web services must be adapted to the small screen format if one would like to make use of this portable communication channel, says Christer Carlsson from the IAMSR at Åbo Akademi University, one of totally eight partners in the Quadruple Helix project.

Strengthen innovations from SME’s

This great potential for digital mobile services in the tourism industry is one of the cornerstones in the Quadruple Helix initiative to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the central Baltic Sea region. The project has initiated a network of tourist entrepreneurs operating in coastal and archipelago areas in Estonia, Finland and Sweden who now are involved in ICT capacity building. The participating entrepreneurs learn more about the technology and give feedback on how applications should be designed to fill tourism industry needs. They also test developed prototypes in practise.

So what type of mobile services are we talking about? Christer Carlsson gives some examples:

– For the tourism sector it is so far primarily search- and booking applications, sightseeing through video animations, digital tickets and travel logs that are in place.  

Downloadable applications

Another solution developed by IAMSR is a digital fishing permit. In this specific solution the first step is to use GPS coordinates to find out where you are on a map and then to determine whether a specific area requires a permit. If yes, one can order a digital fishing license, pay for it via the mobile phone and then have it delivered to the phone as a text message.

– Now we are in the phase where the entrepreneurs in the Quadruple-network express ideas and needs that can be solved with the help of mobile technology. It shall be interesting to see what type of innovations that will come out of it, he says.  

Innovation potential

The development in the mobile industry is moving fast; when the IAMSR mobile technology research group began its research in this area in 1999 very few could imagine the diversity of possibilities that are here today a decade and three generations of mobile phones later. Today, numerous variations of mobile services are waiting for their big breakthrough. – The innovation potential is great for new applications of course. But the potential also lies in the rethinking of business models. Small enterprises with limited individual resources can join their efforts and specialities and collaborate in creating new systems, in sourcing specific expertise etcetera. This way it becomes possible even for very small enterprises to offer this type of services, Christer Carlsson concludes.  

Text: Sofia Händel

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