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Project Summary

The Tourism in Touch product is an electronic, computer-operated device that integrates a suite of applications, which can be controlled by hand gestures on a tabletop, multi-touch surface.

The purpose of our product is to compliment existing traditional approaches of the presentation of tourist information with a more enjoyable, fun, informative, and interactive means of viewing local tourist attractions and services. We want to create a product that is instantly approachable, convenient and more closely reflects the way we interact in the real world.

Tourist in Touch devices will provide highly visual and multilingual content such as hotel marketing materials, food and beverage menus, virtual tours, photo galleries, and maps, that will assist tourists in organising and customising their itinerary while visiting Ireland. Users will be interacting with information by using multiple simultaneous touches and natural gestures without the use of mediating devices such as a keyboard or mouse.

Our product will provide a unique marketing tool for hotel groups, allowing them to display information about their products, services and other affiliated hotels. It will also serve as completely novel, subscription based advertising platform for Tourism Attractions Operators and local businesses.

Tourism in Touch product will be continuously expanding to incorporate a wide range of additional functions such us: food and drinks ordering, bill splitting and payment, ticket and car rental bookings and interaction with personal devices (e.g. uploading itinerary information to a mobile phone).

A simulation of multi-touch recognition on our early prototype:


Multi-Touch Table demo from Tourism In Touch on Vimeo.

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Tourism in Touch:
One-stop interactive solution

We are preparing a concise package that will include following products and services:

  • Tabletop, computer-operated device that tourists can interact with directly using multiple simultaneous touches and natural gestures on the display surface. >
  • Visual interface and Applications suite with the following functions: >
    • Explore Hotel (multimedia materials about hotel facilities, services, products, etc)
    • Create Itinerary (application for planning tourist’s stay in the area)
    • Order Food & Drinks (displaying menus and ordering food & drinks from hotel restaurant)
    • Discover the Area (application for interacting with multimedia content about the area)
    • Interact with Personal Devices(functionality that will let users to exchange information between Tourism in Touch device and their mobile phones, PDA’s & digital cameras

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Conceptual background
and economic context


New technologies in Irish Tourism

In recent years the Irish Government has engaged new technologies to promote tourism products overseas and encourage tourists to come to Ireland. Initiatives like the consumer travel website ‘Discover Ireland’ are well funded by Tourism Development Authorities and prove to be successful in their marketing efforts.

In 2007 Tourism Ireland (a government funded agency responsible for marketing Ireland overseas) joined up with Virtual Dublin – a virtual reality version of the capital city that exists in the 3D online world of Second Life. A year later they hosted the first ever St. Patrick’s Day parade with live music from actual events streamed into Virtual Dublin. Thousands of virtual tourists from around the world tuned in to take part in the parade in the online reality. It was an experimental project for Tourism Ireland but it has been very well received. Their main objective was to encourage those who visit this virtual world to come and visit the real Ireland during 2008.

Nonetheless, the presentation of tourist information still relies heavily on traditional means, such as guidebooks, brochures or printed maps and needs to be continuously updated to keep in touch with emerging technologies. This is particularly related to information available to tourists after their arrival to Ireland.

We discovered that within the Irish market there is no ‘one-stop’ multimedia device that provides all the local information tourists need when travelling in Ireland, and which allows users to customise their own itinerary. We also recognized the need for innovative marketing tools for hotels and hotel groups to promote their in-house services and other affiliated hotels.

These facts let us presume that our project will be of interest to a wide group of stakeholders from tourism industry, with a potential to expand to other industries as well.

astheticgoal2

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How our product will benefit the tourism industry in Ireland?

Tourists as primary beneficiaries

Potential end-users of our product will be able to customise their itinerary to suit individual needs and obtain multimedia rich information in a fun and effective way, by using multiple simultaneous touches and natural gestures without the use of mediating devices such as a keyboard and mouse. It’s an entire new way of interacting with information, it’s effortless, simple, and convenient, it’s also very social and fun to do. It also breaks down traditional barriers between people and technology and unlocks the power for people who were intimidated with computing products before.

Tourists will only be exposed to information that is relevant to their trip (including precisely targeted advertising). The substance and quality of the presented information will be to the highest standard and will substantially enhance the tourists experience in Ireland.

Among most popular activities that tourists engage in Ireland are: National Parks (31%), Houses/Castles (26%), Watersports (24%), Hiking/Walking (21%), Visits to Spas (20%), Gardens (19%), Heritage/Interpretive Centres (17%), Museum & Art Galleries (16%), Golf (10%). With almost 1/3 of total number of tourists visiting National Parks and 1/4 exploring Irish Castles, we see possibilities to introduce Tourism in Touch devices to many branches of tourism industry - not only Hotel/Hospitality or Tourist Information Offices but also Tourism Attractions operators.

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Bringing innovation to hospitality industry

Hotels and hotel groups in Ireland will be main beneficiaries (beside tourists) of our proposed product. The Republic of Ireland now has 926 hotels with 60,135 bedrooms, including 31 five star hotels, 239 four star, 415 three star, 177 two star and 49 one star, with the remaining 15 hotels either newly registered, unclassified or under renovation. In The Republic of Ireland there are also over 500 Guesthouses with over 7,900 bedrooms. This gives in total over 68,000 bedrooms.

Out of 926 hotels in Ireland, 701 are linked into 62 groups by branding partnerships and affiliations. We see greater potential to sell more of Tourism in Touch devices by targeting it to the hotel groups rather than to individual properties.

Tourism in Touch will provide marketing benefits to hotels. The table will act as a multimedia e-brochure for the hotel where they can promote hotel facilities and services, such as spa treatments, food and drink menus, live music events, etc. in a highly visual and interactive manner.

Our product will also act as a tool to promote affiliated hotels in the same group. For example the Clarion Hotel in Cork could have a multimedia brochure for their hotels in Galway, Limerick and Dublin built into their system. This would expose tourists to the services available in these hotels and sites and attractions nearby and encourage them to stay in other hotels of the Clarion group.

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Local businesses / tourism attraction operators

Tourism in Touch advertising platform targeted to local businesses will operate on subscription based system where tourism services and attractions operators, as well as other companies such as retail outlets, bars, restaurants and many other will pay annually to have their information displayed on the Tourism in Touch table in the form highly interactive multimedia brochures.

astheticgoal1

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Why our product
will be successful?

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower (Steve Jobs)

  • We aim to provide innovative, interactive solutions that are not available on the irish market
  • There is no other tourism related, interactive product as sophisticated as Tourism in Touch
  • The presentation of tourism related information relays heavily on traditional means, guide books, maps, etc and needs to be updated to keep in touch with emerging technologies.
  • There is no rich multimedia experience available to tourists in Ireland today.
  • There is no other ‘one-stop’ multimedia device that provides all the information tourists need when traveling in Ireland and allows users to customise their own itinerary.
  • With the growing number of hotels in Ireland and intense competition as a result, our product will provide hotels with the competitive advantage necessary to stand out from the crowd.

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Opportunities of the multi-touch technology in the near future

  • Multi-touch is currently an emerging technology, and due to industry experts - over the next couple of years it will completely change the way people interact with computers
  • Solutions that we are implementing in our tourist related product can be easily adapted to become useful in many other industries
  • Sectors that will significantly benefit from introduction of multi-touch operated devices include: education (i.e. interactive desks), entertainment (multi-player interactive games, clubs, bars & restaurants), corporate business (presentation purposes), military (handling of information) and many more.
  • Possibilities are endless and we believe, that the best way to predict the future is to create it.

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