Dec 052016
 
Preview image of the Crowd Power: the COBWEB Guide to Citizen Science comic

Last weekend (Sunday 27th November) I gave a talk at the Edinburgh Comic Art Festival 2016 on what it’s like to turn research into a comic book.  We made a (low tech) recording of the talk (watch it here via MediaHopper, or embedded below/on YouTube, see also the prezi here) but I also wanted to write about this project as I wanted to share and reflect on the process of creating a comic book to communicate research.

So, how did our comic, “Crowd Power: the COBWEB Guide to Citizen Science” come to happen in the first place?

Meet COBWEB

As some of you will be aware, over the last four years I have been working on an ambitious EU-FP7-funded citizen science project called COBWEB: Citizen Observatory Web. We have, of course, been communicating our work throughout the project (in fact you can read our communications plan here) but as all the final deliverables and achievements have been falling into place over the last few months, we wanted to find some new ways to share what we have done, what we have accomplished, and what the next steps will look like.

Whilst we are bringing COBWEB to a close, we are also now taking our resultant citizen science software, Fieldtrip Open, through an open source process and building new projects and sustainability plans (which also means considering suitable business models) around that. Open sourcing software isn’t just about making the software available, or giving it the right license, it is also about ensuring it has a real prospect of adoption and maintenance by a community, which means we are particularly keen to support and develop the community around FieldTrip Open. And we want to bring new people in as users and contributors to the software. So, for both dissemination and open sourcing projects we really need to inspire people to find out more about the approaches we’ve taken, the software we’ve built, and to explain where it all came from. But how could we best do that?

During the project we had developed a lot of good resources and assets, with a lot of formal reporting and public deliverables already available, and accompanying engagement with wider audiences (particularly co-design process participants) through social media and regular project newsletters. Those materials are great but we wanted something concise, focused, and tangible, and we also wanted something more immediately engaging than formal reports and technical papers. So, this summer we did some thinking and plotting…  My colleague Tom Armitage joined COBWEB partners in the Netherlands to revisit our geospatial software open sourcing options with the OSGeo community; Tom and I met with the fantastic folk from the Software Sustainability Institute for some advice on going (properly and sustainably) Open Source and building the software community; and my colleague Pete O’Hare looked at the videos, demos, and footage archive we’d accumulated and suggested we make a documentary on the project. After all of that we not only had some solid ideas, but we’d also really started to think about storytelling and doing something more creative for our current target audiences.

Across all of our conversations what became clear was that real need to inspire and engage people. The project is complicated but when have shared our own enthusiasm about the work and its potential, people really take an interest and that open us longer and (sometimes) more technical or practical conversations. But we can’t get everywhere in person so we needed some cost effective ways to do that excitement-building: to explain the project quickly, clearly and entertainingly, as a starting point to trigger follow up enquiries and those crucial next step conversations. So, In August we did follow up on Pete’s suggestion, commissioning a documentary short (that’s a whole other story but click on that link to view the finished film, and huge thanks to our wonderful filmmaker Erin Maguire) to give an overview of the COBWEB project, but we also decided we’d try something we had never done before. We were going to try making a comic…

Why a comic? 

Well, first lets talk terminology… And I should note that if this blog post were a graphic novel, this would be a little side note or separate frame, or me explaining a pro tip to the reader – so imagine that as our format!:

Is it a comic, or is it a graphic novel? I think a lot of people will think about “comics” as being The Dandy, The BeanoManga titles, or one of the long running mass market series’ like The Avengers or Archie. Or maybe you’d think of a comic strip like Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes. Similarly “graphic novel” seems to be tied to the idea of long form books which look more like literary fiction/non-fiction, with well regarded titles like Fun Home or Kiki de Montparnasse or Persepolis. The difference is hard to explain partly because when you make that sort of distinction, clearly there are a lot of boundary cases… Is it about audience (e.g. teens vs adults), or aesthetic, or page format or critical response or some other criteria? Calvin & Hobbes deals wittily with matters of philosophy, but is widely read by children who engage with its (deceptive) simplicity, charming aesthetic and warm tone and deceptively simple story telling. By contrast, the new The Story of Sex: From Apes to Robots has a lively and pretty course – even for the subject matter – aesthetic (it’s authors are French and I would put the drawing mid-way along the AsterixCharlie Hebdo tastefulness continuum) and it is aimed at a wide audience, but it is co-written by an academic, has been well received by critics, and you’ll find it shelved in the graphic novel section. Comparing these works on any kinds of comic vs. graphic novel grounds won’t tell you anything very useful about style or quality, although it might reveal the personal preference of the reader or reviewer you are talking to…

So, Before I began this project I was pretty sure that what I read are graphic novels – yes, snobbery – but, when you actually talk to people who make these wonderful things, the term – especially for shorter works – is “comics” and that’s accepted as covering the whole continuum, with all the styles, genres, print formats, etc. that you might expect (yes, even graphic novels) included. So, taking my lead from those that write and draw them, I will be using “comic” here – and next time you are discussing, say, female self-realisation in Wonder Woman and the Nao of Brown, you can go ahead and call both of them comics too!

Definition of a comic from the OED online.

Right, back to the topic at hand…

One of the reasons that a COBWEB comic seemed like it might be a good idea is that I really enjoy reading comics, and I particularly love non-fiction comics as a form because they can be so powerful and immediate, bringing complex ideas to life in unexpected ways, but which also leaves you the space to think and reflect. Comics are primarily a visual form and that enables you to explain specialist technologies or sophisticated concepts, or take people on flights of fancy offering creative metaphors that allow you to explain but also re-explain and re-interpret an idea lightly and engagingly. Your audience still need to think and imagine but in a great comic the combination of text and visuals brings something special to the experience. Comics can be more playful, colourful and bright than a formal report, and also much less constrained by physical reality, budget and location than a video or an event. And whether in digital or print form comics feel really pleasingly tangible and polished; they are designed, story-boarded, they feel like a special and finished product. From the non-fiction comics I’d read I could see that comics would work well for talking about technology and research, so they could be a good fit for our project if we could be confident that our target audience and our type of research would be a good fit for the possibilities and restrictions of the form.

For the COBWEB project we wanted to reach out to researchers, developers, and future project partners which are likely to include software and digital companies, NGOs, SMEs, as well as non-professional researchers (community groups etc), and others interested in working with – and hopefully interested (in some cases) in contributing to our codebase – for our open source software. This is defined set of audiences but each audience (and individual) holds highly varied interests and expertise: COBWEB is a complex project, with lots of different components, which means our audiences might be new to all of the concepts we are presenting or they may, say, know a great deal about coding but not environmental projects, or all about the environment but not about using mobile technologies… But we do know these audiences – we already work with developers and researchers, we’ve been working with potential users and contributors throughout the project so we have some idea of interests, aesthetics, etc. We felt pretty confident that many of those we want to reach do read and engage with comics of various types, from web comics like xkcd to beautifully published books like The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. That overlap and interest helped us feel confident that a comic would be a good fit for our audience, and a really great fit for telling our story.

Finding a comic artist to work with

We now had the bare bones of the idea, and we had a solid idea of our target audience. But we weren’t totally sure about which aspects of our story to draw out, what parts of the COBWEB story we wanted to tell, although we knew it had to inspire, entertain, and be accessible. We also really didn’t know what we wanted our comic to look like. As I started to think about possible collaborators (we knew we needed others to work with/commission) I remembered that very many years ago I’d seen a flyer – in the form of a comic book – for Glasgow Comic Con in a hotel. I did some searching around and found BHP (Black Hearted Press) Comics, an independent comics publisher based in Glasgow that creates their own comic books, but had also recently completed a project with the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Art Gallery and Museum. Looking around their site I also found The Mighty Women of Science, another book where the subject and aesthetic suggested a good fit with COBWEB (and it was. Spoiler: Mighty Women author Clare Forrest illustrated Chapter 2 of our book). I had no idea what to expect in response but there wasn’t a way to find out if this idea was viable without getting some advice, so I fired off a quick email to BHP Comics…

Screenshot of the BHP website featuring Mighty Women of Science

Screenshot of the BHP website featuring Mighty Women of Science

I had a really swift reply from Sha Nazir from BHP. Sha was interested to talk more about the idea so we set up a meeting and, ahead of that, I trawled through my favourite comics to find some examples of the kind of idea I had in mind. On the day I brought in a few books that I thought did this sort of storytelling well, including: The Influencing Machine, Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld’s overview of the (US) media ecology and culture; The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – a fictionalised steam punk re-telling of the lives of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, with great technology descriptions and lots of (factual and referenced) footnotes; Filmish – the book of Edward Ross’ critiques and explorations of cinema and film making (in the mould of Scott McCloud’s classic Understanding Comics). I also brought in a copy of Taylor & Francis’ Cartoon Abstracts – scientific papers which have been turned into 1 page cartoons – which is one of the very few examples I have seen of scientific and technological research being adapted into comics.

That initial conversation with Sha was a long and honest chat about the kind of idea we had in mind. Sha had brought his own selection of books – copies of The Mighty Women of Science, Comic Invention, an issue of Rok of the Reds, and Plagued: The Miranda Chronicles – to give me a sense of what BHP work on, the kind of writers and illustrators they work with, the sorts of formats, sizes and print styles we might want to consider. We talked about timelines: ours were really tight. Sha and I met in August and we needed to have a digital copy available and all work invoiced by the end of October (the print copy could follow). The comics could then be used to extend our dissemination and sustainability work, helping us share what we’d accomplished and support keeping that work and code a going concern. That timeline we requested was ridiculous and I am eternally grateful that Sha even considered taking it on (he was optimistic in our meeting but very wisely went away to think about it before we finalised anything). However, to make that timeline work he was clear from the outset that someone (me) would need to be available to check in regularly, to feed into and look over the script, the storyboards, the draft versions – Sha and his colleagues at BHP would take on the work but we also really had to commit to it to. I was up for that although I had a three and a half week holiday to the US scheduled for September so, with the caveat that we’d have to work around time zones, it all looked doable and we started scheduling some check ins.

So, what else did we need to discuss to get this started? Well, I needed to actually describe and give some background to COBWEB. I told Sha about the project in our meeting – and followed up by sending him some of the key project technical documents and reports that summarised our work. Sha was entirely new to the project – like many of those we want the comic to reach – so asked lots of really useful questions that really did highlight the complexity of describing COBWEB. To give you a sense of that: COBWEB has been a 4-year, €8.5 million project with 13 partners in 5 countries; we’ve had 9 workpackages and many more deliverables, we’ve worked with over 1000 volunteers and 7 co-design projects as we developed our software – for which there are 6 separate GitHub libraries. There is a lot there. And there are important unique aspects to the work: the compliance with EU and international standards, including INSPIRE compliant metadata; our focus on UNESCO Biosphere areas; the access management controls in our software; the involvement of policy makers as project partners; the contribution to empowering of citizens in Europe. At the same time our comic didn’t need to be encyclopedia, it just needed to have enough focus on what was important to give a broad picture and to excite people!

On which note… We talked about the audience, who they were, and what messages they should take from the comic. We were very clear from the outset that we were using comics as an engaging medium, but that we expected our audience to have some fairly serious interest in the project, which meant that although nothing should be inappropriate for children, our target audiences were adults and mainly quite technically literate adults. We wanted to explain the work of the project and assumed not prior knowledge of COBWEB, but some (useful) complexity and detail was going to ok where it felt appropriate. And we felt we could assume that readers of the comic may follow up by reading one of the more traditional publications if they then had a specific technical or policy interest to follow up.

At that initial meeting we also talked a bit about artists and art work. With our (crazy) timeline Sha recommended we break the the comic into a small number of chapters and that, once a script was written, these would be illustrated by different artists meaning that we’d get a really lovely variance of styles across the comic (something you’ll see in a growing number of comics, including Kiki de Montparnasse where drawing styles change when “Kiki” works with different artists). Using several different artists was also practical, as it meant that those chapters could be illustrated in parallel by different people – shortening those restrictive publication times.

Initial art work for the COBWEB comic by Kirsty Hunter

Initial art work for the COBWEB comic by Kirsty Hunter

We also talked about formats. The weekly comic book style of Rok of the Reds was going to be cheap to print and it would be easy to hand out – it could almost fit in a pocket – but it didn’t look quite as polished as we wanted. But The Mighty Women of Science had a great format – substantial and beautifully finished thick/card cover and binding, with matt finish pages, in A4 format (useful since all of our display stands, envelopes, etc. are designed for A4 reports/promotional items). It looked like a book, a thin but high quality finish book and, better yet, it was a budget-friendly format for a small print run.

And, as the ideas took shape, Sha and I discussed cost, and an initial estimate of the work to do the digital comic, plus a price for a print run of 1000 A4 copies. A quick sketch of costs came out of that meeting, which allowed me to  talk to my COBWEB colleagues and to check that our budget could accommodate the project. I don’t think it is appropriate to share that price here but it was very reasonable for this much work and, particularly given the timelines we were working with, was enormously good value. Why tell you this? Well, if you are thinking of doing your own comic then I highly recommend talking to some comic artists or publishers before you (potentially) rule it out over costs, since (for us at least) those costs were very fair but were also dependent on things like number of pages and chapters, print formats, etc. so were also (somewhat) within our control.

So, we now had some solid ideas and a plan. We exchanged emails to work out the details, check costs (and check budgets), and get both informal and informal agreements to proceed (which we did quickly because, again, timelines were really tight). A standard contract was prepared and work began immediately at BHP, with me sending over information, background documents and diagrams etc. so that Sha and his colleague Kirsty Hunter could begin to get a script worked out – and could ask any questions as they arose. And, at this point I am going to embed my Prezi from my ECAF16 talk, which covers the production process stage by stage:

Throughout September Sha and Kirsty worked on the script, sending me drafts to comment on, tweak, correct, etc. We arranged several calls from a range of unusually exotic locations – a check in from Seattle, from Davis (California), and then – as I headed off to AoIR – from Berlin. We agreed focal areas early on, with the script starting as a skeleton in four sections:

  1. An introduction to COBWEB and the core concept of citizen science – ensuring all readers share some background knowledge but also making the comic a useful resource to those curious about crowd sourcing and citizen science in general.
  2. Highlights from the co-design work including several real world examples of people and projects who have shaped and been part of the COBWEB community. Much of this came from our co-design project reports, highlighting real challenges and feedback (good and bad) from our volunteer community.
  3. Our “under the bonnet” chapter, on the more chewy technical aspects of the project and including a very cleverly conceived double page spread on quality assurance processes.
  4. What happens next with COBWEB and our software now that the project is over and the open sourcing takes shape, but also where technology is going and how citizen science may fit in to e.g. smart cities.

Those sections were broken into pages and the script rapidly took shape. As the sections and pages were agreed, text for each page was drafted and tweaked. And storyboarding began in earnest…

, but also with the citizen science in a European context

Draft layout sketch for the COBWEB comic (by permission of Sha Nazir/Kirsty Hunter/BHP Comics).

By mid September I had started to receive initial visual ideas and sketches (a delightful treat in a Monday morning inbox!), and, in parallel, the wording and detail of the script was getting finalised. By the end of the month the script and initial drawings were ready enough to share with COBWEB colleagues for their checking and feedback – they did a brilliant job helping me ensure we were using the right types of terminology, not missing anything important, and also catching the less exciting but very important spelling issues, corrections etc. (having many eyes to check a script at several stages was very useful indeed and definitely recommended).

Once the wording was (pretty much) finalised and the storyboards ready, the comic went into the illustration process – seeing those storyboards turn from sketches to fully fledged characters (including a few fun references/”Easter eggs”), then those characters started to gain colour, backgrounds. Drafts were shared and commented on, and finally the final started to take shape. This part of the process followed a different sort of process: it required less input from me at first – a few checks of the pages and visuals – as the work went out to different illustrators for completion. However, once lettering was done there were a few crucial tasks to do: checking all of the text for content, spelling, etc. (which is surprisingly tricky when you’ve been seeing drafts for weeks, you have to adopt a whole different proof-reading level of engagement); building a glossary page for some of the technical terminology (in retrospect this is something I should have done right after that first meeting when the unknown words and acronyms were most obvious); and, because somehow we just hadn’t gotten to it yet, we actually had to think of a title…

A page from Crowd Power: the COBWEB Guide to Citizen Science, featuring real feedback from real co-design project volunteers.

A finished page from Crowd Power: the COBWEB guide to citizen science, featuring real comments from real co-design project volunteers.

What the heck do we call this thing?

In late October, several weeks after beginning work on the comic, we still didn’t have a title. Sha asked me to think about some ideas, and I sketched a few out but also started asking colleagues… We played with variants on the key aspects of citizen science, crowd sourcing, empowerment, etc… We wanted to get COBWEB mentioned, to give a sense of the content, but also to have a title that had a more catchy ring to it. After lots of chats and several lists of possibilities pitching back and forth, “Crowd Power: the COBWEB Guide to Citizen Science” emerged as a winner.

We then had to think about covers. Sha sent through several ideas but one of the most appealing – bringing together an image of a protest march with an image inspired by the Shepard Fairey “Hope” poster for Barack Obama – started to look less than ideal in a post-Brexit context, and with Trump newly elected president. Protests as a shorthand for people power are great, but at a time of genuine political complexity, polarisation, and a high likelihood of real protest movements, we decided that this was an image for the book and promotion, but not for the cover. Some other ideas looked good, but didn’t seem to bring forward the idea of real people, and environmental research as successfully. In the end we settled on an image that is, essentially, a cut scene from the comic, featuring a group of friends using COBWEB out in the wilds, as seen by our (nameless but brilliant) narrator:

Crowd Power: the COBWEB Guide to Citizen Science cover image

Another opportunity to look at our cover art. Eagle eyed cartoon fans may note a certain similarity between our curious walkers and the Scooby Doo gang…

One of the things I was asked early in the process had been “do you want the narrator or main characters to be human? Or can they be animals? Or giant floaty heads?”… I said that anything was fine, as long as it made sense – so a duck or a seal or some sort of animal that would appear in our actual co-design projects were fine, but not a penguin or dragon (or anything that wouldn’t make sense in that context). One of the things I loved about Sha, Kirsty and Clare’s illustrations was that they responded to that flexibility by building in diversity, quirkiness, and little in-jokes (indeed there are several “Easter eggs” in Crowd Power).You’ll notice from the cover that our narrator (throughout) is female. Sha and I had talked about women being well represented in the comic but I was also delighted, when the more finished version of the illustrations came through, to see a range of racial and ethnic diversity quietly represented in our book. The project was diverse in many ways, and we also want to be entirely welcoming to anyone who would like to be part of the COBWEB and FieldTrip Open community. The range of people in the comic subtly reflects that desire to include and engage and is, I think, one of the reasons that comics can be so powerful for messaging values, beliefs, and intentions as part of and alongside the core narrative.

With the title and cover art completed, and a further final proof read. Make that two. Make that three… And a few very last minute corrections… the COBWEB comic went off to the printers and the digital copy immediately went live on the COBWEB project website.  Now, to get the comic out to our audience…

Finding our audience

As soon as the digital copy of the Comic went live we tweeted and shared it with project partners and those interested in the project.

The feedback within the project team was excellent, with some of the team keen to use pages from the comic in their own presentations as an introduction or overview of their work. For the team I think the comic – and the documentary that went live shortly afterwards – provided some sense of stepping back and reflecting on what had been done. At the end of a four year project it can be much easier to know what wasn’t completed, or didn’t go to plan, or didn’t develop as you’d expect. Looking over the story of the project, what had been achieved, how much work had taken place is very rewarding and reminds you of all the excitement and accomplishments of that project.

Feedback from our wider contacts and social media communities was excited and interested. We have shared the comic openly on the website and explicitly state that it can be downloaded, circulated, kept, used elsewhere… We are keen that it is seen and read and used by whoever wants to do that. If I have one regret it is that in all of our conversations we didn’t agree to make the book available under a Creative Commons license – more by omission than because of any particular issue with doing that. Sha has been great about us using images of work in progress – you’ll see a series of sketches, etc. in that Prezi – and shares our keenness that the book is seen and accessible. We commissioned it to be free to access – whether download or print – but it would have been wise to agree licensing terms more directly to avoid any possible doubts.

Then, the week of the Edinburgh Comic Art Festival 13 boxes of comics appeared at the EDINA offices in Argyle House and they looked absolutely glorious! The print copies triggered a ripple of excitement through the office and also generated lots of interest at ECAF – which seemed like a great place to see how our comic fared with a mixed but interested audience.

As the year comes to a close we will be circulating copies to our COBWEB project partners but also that core target audience as we go out and about developing the FieldTrip Open community, sharing copies with developers, researchers, etc.

So, what do you think? 

If you would like a (print or digital) copy, and/or would like to talk to us about how we can support your citizen science project, please do get in touch. I would also love to hear your feedback on the comic and any suggestions you may have about communities that may like to work with us in turning FieldTrip Open into a really vibrant open source project in the future. Do leave a comment here or email me.

Some important acknowledgements

Enormous thanks to Sha Nazir and Kirsty Hunter, who created the fantastic Crowd Power comic with Clare Forrest, Jack Lothian and Kirk Kristofferson. Sha and Kirsty explicitly gave me their permission to share images of works in progress for this post and my ECAF talk this weekend, which I hugely appreciated. It has been an absolute delight to work with all at BHP Comics and I would recommend contacting them if you are considering embarking upon/commissioning a similar piece of work.

Further resources

Some useful links are provided here so that you can quickly access our materials, the comic, or any of the COBWEB project website or code:

Update: Video now available via YouTube

Nov 242016
 

This morning I’m at the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group‘s Digital Solutions for Tourism Conference 2016. Why am I along? Well EDINA has been doing some really interesting cultural heritage projects for years, particularly Curious Edinburgh – history of science tours app and our citizen science apps for COBWEBFieldTrip Open which are used by visitors to locations, not just residents. And of course services like Statistical Accounts of Scotland which have loads of interest from tourists and visitors to Scotand. We are also looking at new mobile, geospatial, and creative projects so this seems like a great chance to hear what else is going on around tourism and tech in Edinburgh.

Introduction James McVeigh, Head of Marketing and Innovation, Festivals Edinburgh

Welcome to our sixth Digital Solutions for Tourism Conference. In those last six years a huge amount has changed, and our programme reflects that, and will highlight much of the work in Edinburgh, but also picking up what is taking place in the wider world, and rolling out to the wider world.

So, we are in Edinburgh. The home of the world’s first commercially available mobile app – in 1999. And did you also know that Edinburgh is home to Europe’s largest tech incubator? Of course you do!

Welcome Robin Worsnop, Rabbie’s Travel, Chair, ETAG

We’ve been running these for six years, and it’s a headline event in the programme we run across the city. In the past six years we’ve seen technology move from business add on to fundamental to what we do – for efficiency, for reach, for increased revenue, and for disruption. Reflecting that change this event has grown in scope and popularity. In the last six years we’ve had about three and a half thousand people at these events. And we are always looking for new ideas for what you want to see here in future.

We are at the heart of the tech industry here too, with Codebase mentioned already, Sky Scanner, and the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh all of which attracts people to the city. As a city we have free wifi around key cultural venues, on the buses, etc. It is more and more ubiquitous for our tourists to have access to free wifi. And technology is becoming more and more about how those visitors enhance their visit and experience of the city.

So, we have lots of fantastic speakers today, and I hope that you enjoy them and you take back lots of ideas and inspiration to take back to your businesses.

What is new in digital and what are the opportunities for tourism Brian Corcoran, Director, Turing Festival

There’s some big news for the tech scene in Edinburgh today: SkyScanner have been brought by a Chinese company for 1.5bn. And FanDual just merged with its biggest rival last week. So huge things are happening.

So, I thought today technology trends and bigger trends – macro trends – might be useful today. So I’ll be looking at this through the lens of the companies shaping the world.

Before I do that, a bit about me, I have a background in marketing and especially digital marketing. And I am director of the Turing Festival – the biggest technology festival in Scotland which takes place every August.

So… There are really two drivers of technology… (1) tech companies and (2) users. I’m going to focus on the tech companies primarily.

The big tech companies right now include: Uber, disrupting the transport space; Netflix – for streaming and content commissioning; Tesla – dirupting transport and energy usage; Buzzfeed – influential with huge readership; Spotify – changing music and music payments; banking… No-one has yet dirupted banking but they will soon… Maybe just parts of banking… we shall see.

And no-one is influencing us more than the big five. Apple, mainly through the iPhone. I’ve been awaiting a new MacBook for five years… Apple are moving computing PCs for top end/power users, but also saying most users are not content producers, they are passive users – they want/expect us to move to iPads. It’s a mobile device (running iOS) and a real shift. iPhone 7 got coverage for headphones etc. but cameras didn’t get much discussion, but it is basically set up for augmented reality with two cameras. Air Pods – the cable-less headphones – is essentially a new wearable, like/after the iWatch. And we are also seeing Siri opening up.

Over at Google… Since Google’s inception the core has been search and the Google search index and ranking. And they are changing it for the first time ever really… And building a new one… They are building a Mobile-only search index. They aren’t just building that they are prioritising it. Mobile is really the big tech trend. And in line with that we have their Pixel phone – a phone they are manufacturing themselves… That’s getting them back into wearables after their Google Glass misstep. And Google Assistant is another part of the Pixel phone – a Siri competitor… Another part of us interacting with phones, devices, data, etc. in a new way.

Microsoft is one of the big five that some thing shouldn’t be there… They have made some missteps… They missed the internet. They missed – and have written off phones (and Nokia). But they have moved to Surface – another mobile device. They have abandoned Windows and moved to Microsoft 365. They brought LinkedIn for £26bn (in cash!). One way this could effect us… LinkedIn has all this amazing data… But it is terrible at monetising it. That will surely change. And then we have HoloLens – which means we may eventually have some mixed reality actually happening.

Next in the Big Five is Amazon. Some very interesting things there… We have Alexa – the digital assistant service here. They have, as a device, Echo – essentially a speaker and listening device for your home/hotel etc. Amazon will be in your home listening to you all the time… I’m not going to get there! And we have Amazon Prime… And also Prime Instant Video. Amazon moving into television. Netflix and Amazon compete with each other, but more with traditional TV. And moving from Ad income to subscriptions. Interesting to think where TV ad spend will go – it’s about half of all ad spend.

And Facebook. They are at ad saturation risk, and pushing towards video ads. With that in mind they may also become defacto TV platform. Do they have new editorial responsibility? With Fake News etc. are they a tech company? Are they a media company? At the same time they are caving completely to Chinese state surveillance requests. And Facebook are trying to diversify their ecosystem so they continue to outlast their competitors – with Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, etc.

So, that’s a quick look at tech companies and what they are pushing towards. For us, as users the big moves have been towards messaging – Line, Wiichat, Messaging, WhatsApp, etc. These are huge and there has been a big move towards messaging. And that’s important if we are trying to reach the fabled millennials as our audience.

And then we have Snapchat. It’s really impenetrable for those under 30. They have 150 Daily Active Users, they have 1 bn snaps daily, 10bn videos daily. They are the biggest competitor to Facebook, to ad revenue. They have also gone for wearables – in a cheeky cool upstart way.

So, we see 10 emergent patterns:

  1. Mobile is now *the* dominant consumer technology, eclipsing PCs. (Apple makes more from the iPhone than all their other products combined, it is the most successful single product in history).
  2. Voice is becoming in an increasingly important UI. (And interesting how answers there connect to advertising).
  3. Wearables bring tech into ever-closer physical and psychological proximity to us. It’s now on our wrist, or face… Maybe soon it will be inside you…
  4. IoT is getting closer, driven by the intersection of mobile, wearables, APIs and voice UI. Particularly seeing this in smart home tech – switching the heat on away from home is real (and important – it’s -3 today), but we may get to that promised fridge that re-orders…
  5. Bricks and mortar retail is under threat, and although we have some fulfillment challenges, they will be fixed.
  6. Messaging marks generational shift in communification preferences – asynchronous prferred
  7. AR and VR will soon be commonplace in entertainment – other use cases will follow… But things can take time. Apple watch went from unclear use case to clear health, sports, etc. use case.
  8. Visual cmmunications and replacing textural ones for millenials: Snapchat defines that.
  9. Media is increasingly in the hands of tech companies – TV ads will be disrupted (Netflix etc.)
  10. TV and ad revenue will move to Facebook, Snapchat etc.

What does this all mean?

Mobile is crucial:

  • Internet marketing in tourism now must be mobile-centric
  • Ignore Google mobile index at your peril
  • Local SEO is increasing in importance – that’s a big opportunity for small operators to get ahead.
  • Booking and payments must be designed for mobile – a hotel saying “please call us”, well Millennials will just say no.

It’s unclear where new opportunities will be, but they are coming. In Wearables we see things like twoee – wearable watches as key/bar tab etc. But we are moving to a more seamless place.

Augmented reality is enabling a whole new set of richer, previously unavailable interactive experiences. Pokemon Go has opened the door to location-based AR games. That means previously unexciting places can be made more engaging.

Connectivity though, that is also a threat. The more mobile and wearables become conduits to cloud services and IoT, the more the demand for free, flawless internet connectivity will grow.

Channels? Well we’ve always needed to go where the market it. It’s easier to identify where they are now… But we need to adapt to customers behaviours and habits, and their preferences.

Moore’s law: overall processing power for computers will double every two year (Gordon Moore, INTEL, 1965)… And I wonder if that may also be true for us too.

Shine the Light – Digital Sector

Each of these speakers have just five minutes…

Joshua Ryan-Saha, Skills Lead, The Data Lab – data for tourism

I am Skills Lead at The Data Lab, and I was previously looking at Smart Homes at Nesta. The Data Lab works to find ways that data can benefit business, can benefit Scotland, can benefit your work. So, what can data do for your organisation?

Well, personalised experiences… That means you could use shopping habits to predict, say, a hotel visitors preferences for snacks or cocktails etc. The best use I’ve seen of that is in a museum using heart rate monitors to track experience, and areas of high interest. And as an exhibitor you can use phone data to see how visitors move around, what do they see, etc.

You can also use data in successful marketing – Tripadvisor data being a big example here.

You can also use data in efficient operations – using data to ensure things are streamlined. Things like automatic ordering – my dentist did this.

What can data do for Tourism in Scotland? Well we did some work with Glasgow using SkyScanner data, footfall data, etc. to predict hotel occupancy rates and with machine learning and further data that has become quite accurate over time. And as you start to predict those patterns we can work towards seamless experience. At the moment our masters students are running a competition around business data and tourism – talk to me to be involved as I think a hack in that space would be excellent.

What can data lab do for you? Well we fund work – around £70k per project, also smaller funds. We do skills programmes, masters and Phd students. And we have expertise – data scientists who can come in and work with you to sort your organisation a bit. If you want to find out more, come and talk to me!

Brian Smillie, Beezer – app creation made affordable and easy

1 in 5 people own a smart phone, desktop is a secondary touchpoint. The time people spend using mobile app has increased 21% since last year. There are 1 bn websites, only 2 million apps. Why are business embracing mobile apps? Well speed and convenience are key – an app enables 1 click access. Users expect that. And they can also reduce staff time on transations, etc. It allows building connection, build loyalty… Wouldn’t it be great to be able to access that. But the cost can be £10k or more per single app. When I was running a digital agency in Australia I heard the same thing over and over again – that they had spent a small fortune then no-one downloaded it. Beezer enables you to build an app in a few hours, without an app store, and it works on any platforms. SMEs need a quick, cheap, accessible way to build apps and right now Beezer are the only ones who do this…

Ben Hutton, XDesign – is a mobile website enough?

I’m Ben from XDesign – we build those expensive apps Brian was just talking about… A few years ago I was working on analytics of purchasing and ads… I was working on that Crazy Frog ad… We found the way that people would download that ringtone was to batter people into submission, showing it again again again… And that approach has distorted mobile apps and their potential. But actually so has standardised paper… We are so used to A4 that it is the default digital size too… It was a good system for paper merchants in the C17th. It has corrupted the ideas we have about apps… We think that apps are extensions of those battering/paper skillsets.

A mobile phone is a piece of engineering, software that sits in your pocket. It requires software engineers, designers, that will ensure quality assurance, that is focused on that medium. We have this idea of the Gigabit Society… We have 4.5G, the rocket fuel for mobile… And it’s here in London, in Manchester, in Birmingham… It is coming… And to work with that we need to think about the app design. It isn’t meant to be easy. You have to know about how Google is changing, about in-app as well as app sales, you need to know deep linking. To build a successful app you need to understand that you don’t know what you are doing but you have to give it a try anyway… That’s how we got to the moon!

Chris Torres, Director, Senshi Digital – affordable video

We develop tourism brands online to get the most out of online, out of sales. And I’ve been asked today to talk specifically about video. Video has become one of the best tools you can use in tourism. One of the reasons is that on your website or social media if you use video your audience can learn about your offering 60k times faster than if they read your content.

The average user watches 32 videos per month; 79% of travellers search YouTube for travel ideas – and many of them don’t know where they are going. By 2018 video will be 84% of web traffic. And it can really engage people.

So what sort of video do we do? Well we do background video for homepages… That can get across the idea of a place, of what they will experience when they get to your tourism destination.

What else? Staff/tour guide videos is huge. We are doing this for Gray Line at the moment and that’s showing a big uptick in bookings. When people see a person in a video, then meet at your venue, that’s a huge connection, very exciting.

We also have itinerary videos, what a customer can experience on a tour (again my example is Gray Line).

A cute way to do this is to get customers to supply video – and give them a free tour, or a perk – but get them to share their experiences.

And destination videos – it’s about the destination, not neccassarily you, your brand, your work – just something that entices customers to your destination.

Video doesn’t need to be expensive. You can film on your iPhone. But also you can use stock supplies for video – you’ve no excuse not to use video!

Case Study – Global Treasure Apps and Historic Environment Scotland Lorraine Sommerville and Noelia Martinez, Global Treasure Apps

Noella: I am going to talk about the HES project with Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh College, Young Scot. The project brought together young people and cultural heritage information. The process is a co-production process, collecting images, information, stories and histories of the space with the Global Treasure Apps, creating content. The students get an idea of how to create a real digital project for a real client. (Cue slick video on this project outlining how it worked).

Noella: So, the Global Treasure Apps are clue driven trails, guiding visitors around visitor attractions. For this Edinburgh Castle project we had 20 young people split into 5 groups. They researched at college and drafted trails around the space. Then they went to the castle and used their own mobile devices to gather those digital assets. And we ended up with 5 trails for the castle that can be used. Then, we went back to the college, uploaded content to our database, and then set the trails live. Then we go ESOL students to test the trails, give feedback and update it.

Lorraine: Historic Environment Scotland were delighted with the project, as were Edinburgh College. We are really keen to expand this to other destinations, especially as we enter The Year of Young People 2018, for your visitors and destinations.

Apps that improve your productivity and improve your service Gillian Jones, Qikserve

Before I start I’m going to talk a wee bit about SnapChat… SnapChat started as a sexting app… And I heard about it from my mum – but she was using it for sharing images of her house renovation! And if she can use that tech in new ways, we all can!

I am from Edinburgh and nothing makes me happier than seeing a really diverse array of visitors coming to this city, and I think that SkyScanner development will continue to see that boom.

A few months ago I was in Stockholm. I walked out of the airport and saw a fleet of Teslas as their taxis. It was a premium, innovative, thing to see. I’m not saying we should do that here, I’m saying the tourist experience starts from the moment they see the city, especially the moment that they arrive. And, in this day and age, if I was to guest coming to a restaurant, hotel, etc. what would I want? What would I see? It’s hard as a provider to put yourself in your customers shoes. How do we make tourists and guests feel welcome, feel able to find what they need. Where do we want to go and how to get there? There is a language barrier. There is unfamiliar cuisine – and big pictorial menus aren’t always the most appealing solution.

So, “Francesco” has just flown to Edinburgh from Rome. He speaks little English but has the QikServe app, he can see all the venues that uses that. He’s impatient as he has a show to get to. He is in a rush… So he looks at a menu, in his native language on his phone – and can actually find out what haggis or Cullen Skink is. And he is prompted there for wine, for other things he may want. He gets his food… And then he has trouble finding  a waiter to pay. He wants to pay by Amex – a good example of ways people want to pay, but operators don’t want to take – But in the app he can pay. And then he can share his experience too. So, you have that local level… If they have a good experience you can capitalise on it. If they have a bad experience, you can address it quickly.

What is the benefit of this sort of system? Well money for a start. Mobile is proven for driving up sales – I’ve ordered a steak, do I want a glass of red with that? Yeah, I probably do. So it can increase average transaction value. It can reduce pressure on staff during busy times, allowing them to concentrate on great service. That Starbucks app – the idea of ordering ahead and picking up – is normal now…  You can also drive footfall by providing information in tourists native language. And you can upsell, cross sell and use insights for more targeted campaigns – more sophisticated than freebies, and more enticing. It is about convenience tailored to me. And you can keen your branding at the centre of the conversation, across multiple channels.

There are benefits for tourists here through greater convenience with reduced wait-ties and queues; by identifying restaurant of choice and order in native language and currency; find and navigate to restaurant of choice with geo-location capabilities; order what you want, how you want it with modifiers, upsell and cross sell prompts in native language – we are doing projects in the US with a large burger chain who are doing brilliantly because of extra cheese ordered through the app!; and you can easily share and recommend experience through social media.

We work across the world but honestly nothing would make me happier than seeing us killing it in Edinburgh!

Virtual reality for tourism Alexander Cole, Peekabu Studios

Thank you for having me along, especially in light of recent US events (Alex is American).

We’ve talked about mobile. But mobile isn’t one thing… There are phones, there have been robot sneakers, electronic photo frames, all sorts of things before that are now mixed up and part of our phones. And that’s what we are dealing with with VR. Screens, accelerometers, buttons have all been there for a while! But if I show you what VR looks like… Well… It’s not like an app or a film or something, it’s hard to show. You look like a dork using it…

VR is abou

Right now VR is a $90m industry (2014) but by 2018 we expect it to be at least $5.2bn, and 171m users – and those are really conservative estimates.

So, VR involves some sort of headset… Like an HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift, etc. They include an accelorometer to see where you are looking, tilting, turning. Some include additional sensors. A lot of these systems have additional controllers, that detect orientation, presses, etc. that means the VR knows where I am, where I’m looking, what I’m doing with my hands. It’s great, but this is top end. This is about £1000 set up AND you need a PC to render and support all of this.

But this isn’t the only game in town… Google have the “Daydream” – a fabric covered mobile phone headset with lens. They also have the Google Cardboard. In both cases you have a phone, strap in, and you have VR. But there are limitations… It doesn’t track your movement… But it gives you visuals, it tracks how you turn, and you can create content from your phones – like making photospheres – image and audio – when on holiday.

Capture is getting better, not just on devices. 360 degree cameras are now just a few hundred pounds, you can take it anywhere, it’s small and portable and that makes for pretty cool experiences. So, if you want to climb a tower (Alex is showing a vertigo-inducing Moscow Tower video), you can capture that, you can look down! You can look around. For tourism uses it’s like usual production – you bring a camera, and you go to a space, and you show what you would like, you just do it with a 360 degree camera. And you can share it on YouTube’s 360 video channel…

And with all of this tech together you can set up spaces where sensors are all around that properly track where you are and give much more immersive emotional experiences… Conveying emotion is what VR does better than anything when it is done well.

So, you can do this two ways… You can create content so that someone not in a particular physical space, can feel they are there. OR you can create a new space and experience that. It requires similar investment of time and effort. It’s much like video creation with a little more stitching together that is required.

So, for example this forthcoing space game with VR is beautiful. But that’s expensive. But for tourism the production can be more about filming – putting a camera in a particular place. And, increasingly, that’s live. But, note…

You still look like a ninny taking place! That’s a real challenge and consideration in terms of distribution, an dhow many people engage at the same time… But you can use that too – hence YouTube videos all usually including both what’s on screen, and what’s going on (the ninny view).  And now you have drones and drone races with VR used by the controller… That’s a vantage point you cannot get any other way. That is magical and the cost is not extortionate… You can take it further than this… You can put someone in a rig with wings, with fans, with scents, and with VR, so you can fly around and experience a full sensory experience… This is stupid expensive… But it is the most awesome fun! It conveys a sense of doing that thing VR was always meant to do. When we talk about where VR is going… We have rollercoasters with VR – so you can see Superman flying around you. There are some on big elastic bands – NASA just launched one for Mars landing.

So, tourism and VR is a really interesting marriage. You can convey a sense of place, without someone being there. Even through 360 degree video, YouTube 360 degree video… And you can distribute it in more professional way for Vive, for Oculus Rift… And when you have a space set up, when you have all those sensors in a box… That’s a destination, that’s a thing you can get people too. There is a theme park destination like experiences. You can service thousands+ people with one set up and one application.

So, the three E’s of VR: experience, exploration – you drive this; and emotion – nothing compares to VR for emotion. Watching poeple use VR for the first time is amazing… They have an amazing time!

But we can’t ignore the three A’s of VR: access – no one platform, and lots of access issues; affordability – the biggest most complex units are expensive, your customers won’t have one, but you can put it in your own space; applicability – when you have new tech you can end up treating everything as a nail for your shiny new hammer. Don’t have your honeymoon in VR. Make sure what you do works for the tech, for the space, for the audience’s interest.

Using Data and Digital for Market Intelligence for Destinations and Businesses Michael Kessler, VP Global Sales, Review Pro

I’m going to be talking about leveraging guest intelligence to deliver better experiences and drive revenue. And this isn’t about looking for “likes”, it’s about using data to improve revenue, to develop business.

So, for an example of this, we analysed 207k online reviews in 2016 year to date for 339 3*, 4* and 5* hotels in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We used the Global Review Index (GRI) – which we developed and is an industry-standard reputation score based on review data collected from 175+ OTAs and review sites in over 45 languages. To do that we normalise scores – everyone uses their own scale. From that data we see Edinburgh’s 5* hotels have 90.2% satisfaction in Edinburgh (86.4% in Glasgow), and we can see the variance by * rating (Glasgow does better for satisfaction at 3*).

You can explore satisfaction by traveler types – solo, couples, families, business. The needs are very different. For any destination or hotel this lets you optimise your business, to understand and improve what we do.

We run sentiment analysis, using machine learning, across reviews. We do this by review but also aggregate it so that you can highlight strengths and weaknesses in the data. We show you trends… You will understand many of these but those trends allow you to respond and react to those trends (e.g. Edinburgh gets great scores on Location, Staff, Reception; poorer scores on Internet; Bathroom; Technology. Glasgow gets great Location, Staff, Reception, poorer scores for Internet, Bathroom; Room). We do this across 16 languages and this is really helpful.

We also highlight management response rates. So if guests post on TripAdvisor, you have to respond to them. You can respond and use as a marketing channel too. Looking across Edinburgh and Glasgow we can see a major variation between (high) response rates to TripAdvisor versus (low) response to Booking.com or Expedia.

The old focus of marketing was Product/Promotion/Price/Place. But that has changed forever. It’s all about experience now. That’s what we want. I think we have 4 Es instead of 4 Ps. So, those 4E’s are: Experience; Evangelism; Exchange; Everyplace. In the past I shared experience with friends and families, but now I evangelise, I share much more widely. And everyplace reflects sending reviews too – 60-70% of all reviews and feedback to accommodation is done via mobile. You can’t make better marketing than authentic feedback from guests, from customers.

And this need to measure traveller experience isn’t just about hotels/hostels/services apartments, it is also about restaurants; transportation; outdoor attractions; theme parks; museums; shopping. And those reviews have a solid impact on revenue – 92% of travelers indicate that their decisions are highly influenced by reviews and ratings.

So, how do we use all this data? Well there is a well refined cycle: Online reviews; we can have post-stay/event surveys; and in-stay surveys. Online reviews and post-stay surveys are a really good combination to understand what can be improved, where change can be made. And using that cycle you can get to a place of increased guest satisfaction, growth in review volume, improved online rankings (TripAdvisor privileges more frequently reviewed places for instance), and increased revenue.

And once you have this data, sharing it across the organisation has a huge positive value, to ensure the whole organisation is guest-centric in their thinking and practice.

So, we provide analytics and insights for each of your departments. So, for housekeeping, what happened in the room space in reviews; we can do semantic data checking for cleanliness, clean, etc.

In-stay reviews also helps reduce negative reviews – highlighting issues immediately, make the experience great whilst your guest is still there. And we have talked about travellers being mobile, but our solution is also mobile so that we can use it in all spaces.

How else can we use this? We can use it to increase economic development by better understanding our visitors. How do we do this? Well for instance in Star Ratings Australia we have been benchmarking hotel performances across 5000+ hotels across a range of core KPIs. Greece (SETE) is a client of ours and we help them to understand how they as a country, as cities, as islands, compete with other places and cities across the world.

So our system works for anyone with attractions, guests, reviews, clients, where we can help. Operators can know guests – but that’s opinion. We try to enable decisions based on real information. That allows understanding of weaknesses and drive change. There is evidence that increasing your Global Review Index level will help you raise revenue. It also lets you refine your marketing message based on what you perform best at in your reviews, make a virtue of your strengths on your website, on TripAdvisor, etc.

And with reviews, do also share reviews on your own site – don’t just encourage them to go to Tripadvisor. Publishing reviews and ratings means your performance is shown without automatically requiring an indirect/fee-occuring link, you keep them on your site. And you do need to increase review volume on key channels to keep your offering visible and well ranked.

So, what do we offer?

We have our guest intelligence system, with reputation management, guest surveys, revenue optimiser and data. All of these create actionable insights for a range of tourism providers – hotels, hostels, restaurants, businesses etc. We have webinars, content, and information that we share back with the community for free.

Tech Trends and the Tourism Sector

Two talks here…

Jo Paulson, Events and Experiences Manager, Edinburgh Zoo and Jon-Paul Orsi, Digital Manager, Edinburgh Zoo – Pokemon Go

Jon-Paul: As I think everyone knows Pokemon Go appeared and whether you liked it or not it was really popular. So we wanted to work out what we could do. We are spread over a large site and that was great – loads of pokestops – but an issue too: one was in our blacksmith shop, another in our lion enclosure! So we quickly mapped the safe stops and made that available – and we only had a few issues there. By happy accident we also had some press coverage as one of the best places to find Pokemon – because a visitor happened to have found a poketung on our site.

With that attention we also decided to do some playful things with social media – making our panda a poke-cake; sharing shots of penguins and pokemon. And they were really well received.

Jo: Like many great ideas we borrowed from other places for some of our events. Bristol zoos had run some events and we borrowed ideas – with pokestops, pokedex charging points, and we had themed foods, temporary tattoos etc. We wanted to capitalise on the excitement so we had about a week and a half to do this. As usual we checked with keepers first, closing off areas where the animals could be negatively impacted.

Jon-Paul: In terms of marketing this we asked staff to tell their friends… And we were blown away by how well that went. On August 4th we had 10k hits as they virally shared the details. We kind of marketed it by not marketing it publicly. It being a viral, secret, exciting thing worked well. We sold out in 2 hours and that took us hugely be surprise. Attendees found the event through social primarily – 69% through facebook, 19% by word of mouth.

We didn’t have a great picture of demographics etc. Normally we struggle to get late teens, twenties, early thirties unless they are there as a couple or date. But actually here we saw loads of people in those age ranges.

Jo: We had two events, both of which we kept the zoo opened later than usual. Enclosures weren’t open – though you could see the animals. But it was a surreal event – very chatty, very engaged, and yet a lot of heads down without animal access. For the first event we gave away free tickets, but asked for donations (£5k) and sold out in 2 hours; for the second event we charged £5 in advance (£6500) and sold in around a week. We are really pleased with that though, that all goes into our conservation work. If popularity of Pokemon continues then we will likely run more of these as we reach the better weather/longer light again.

Rob Cawston, Interim Head of Digital Media, National Museum of Scotland – New Galleries and Interactive Exhibitions

One of the advantages of having a 7 year old son is that you can go to Pokemon Go events and I actually went to the second Zoo event which was amazing, if a little Black Mirror.

Here at the NMS we’ve just completed a major project opening 4 new fashion and design galleries, 6 new science and technology galleries, and a new piazza (or expanded pavement if you like). Those ten new galleries allow us to show (75% of 3000+) items for the first time in generations, but we also wanted to work out how to engage visitors in these attractions. So, in the new galleries we have 150+ interactive exhibits in the new galleries – some are big things like a kid sized hamster wheel, hot air balloon, etc. But we also now have digital labels… This isn’t just having touch screens for the sake of it, it needed to add something new that enhances the visitor experience. We wanted to reveal new perspectives, to add fun and activity – including games in the gallery, and providing new knowledge and learning.

We have done research on our audiences and they don’t just want more information – they have phones, they can google stuff, so they want more. And in fact the National Museum of Flight opened 2 new hangers and 30 new digital labels that let us trial some of our approaches with visitors first.

So, on those digital labels and interactives we have single stories, multiple chapters, bespoke interactives. These are on different sorts of screens, formats, etc. Now we are using pretty safe tech. We are based on the umbraco platform, as is our main website. We set up a CMS with colours, text, video, etc. And that content is stored on particular PCs that send data to specific screens in the museums. There is so much content going into the museum, so we were able to prep all this stuff ahead of gallery opening, and without having to be in the gallery space whilst they finished installing items.

We didn’t just put these in the gallery – we put them on the website too. Our games are there, and we know they are a major driver of traffic to the website. That multiple platform digital content includes 3D digital views of fashion; we have a game built with Aardman…

We have learned a lot from this. I don’t think we realised how much would be involved in creating this content, and I think we have created a new atmosphere of engagement. After this session do go and explore our new galleries, our new interactives, etc.

Wrap Up James McVeigh, Festivals Edinburgh

I’m just going to do a few round ups. You’ve heard a lot today. We’ve got exhibitors who are right on your doorstep. We are trying to show you that digital is all around you, it’s right on your doorstep. I got a lot from this myself… I like that the zoo borrowed the ideas – we don’t always need to reinvent the wheel! The success of the Japanese economy is about adopting, not inventing.

Everything we have heard today is about UX, how audiences, share, engage, how they respond afterwards.

And as we finish I’d like to thank ETAG, to Digital Tourism Scotland, to Scottish Enterprise, and to the wider tourism industry in Edinburgh.

And finally, the next events are:

  • 29th November – Listening to our Visitors
  • 6th December – Running Social Media Campaigns
  • 26th January – ETAG Annual Conference

And with that we just have lunch, networking and demos of Bubbal and Hydra Research. Thanks to all from me for a really interesting event – lots of interesting insights into how tech is being used in Edinburgh tourism and where some of the most interesting potential is at the moment.