How talking to strangers can be fun

Sep 30 2014

For a couple of weeks now our team has been waiting on IRB approval for Tour Sync, our smart phone application that uses sound-wave technology to cue users with information on art pieces or exhibits in museums. IRB approval is necessary to make sure that when we conduct user testing and do interviews, we are doing so ethically.

While we’ve been waiting for IRB approval, we have been brainstorming questions we want to ask professionals and users. Once we received IRB approval, and were given the go-ahead to start asking the questions, we were eager to get answers.

We have sent emails upon emails to museum professionals hoping to get responses and insights into our project. It has been both exciting and eye opening.

After talking with several museum professionals now, we’ve learned a lot about our product and what the desirability for it is. Right now, a lot of museum applications use Wi-Fi and GPS technology to guide the user throughout the museum.

This means that the user may get content on their smartphone from a piece of artwork or exhibit they’re not viewing. With our precise sound technology, users will only receive content on their application from the exhibit they are viewing at that moment, which we view as a huge advantage.

We’ve also been informed about other museums and foundations that we would have never thought to contact otherwise. It’s been great to expand our knowledge about the museum and tourism industry from the professionals working in it.

However, no product is ever perfect and our idea does have complications that we have to face. One of the major problems preventing museums from incorporating our technology into their programs is funding. We’ve learned it’s hard to come by a foundation or grant that will provide the monetary funds necessary to bring on such a project.

There is definitely more research that we need to conduct to learn about how we can still market our product and make it viable for museums. Talking to these museum professionals and learning more about the industry gave us a head start on this problem.

It’s promising to get some insight into how our project could be injected into the real world. In these next couple of weeks, I’m looking forward to having some more of those great conversations.

Previously on Tour Sync:

The countdown has begun: Five weeks into Reese News Lab

Dear tourism professionals: A value proposition

My personal thank you to IRB

How might we make museums more interesting?

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