Cost-Effective, Modern, Interactive: Software Makes New Museum Concepts Possible

The Berlin based agency raumHOCH released the software cloudFOLIO for museums: It sets new standards for the interaction of exhibitions and visitors using their own smartphones or tablets - and all without the need for an app or data streaming.

The museum just as you like it

Berlin: Museum visitors nowadays are quite used to the “outside” world: they have access to information constantly and everywhere, be it text, video or audio; they can devote themselves in great detail to fascinating issues and choose their own focuses while they navigate their way through the information jungle.

Reality in museums is often different. For some time, installations, such as large touchscreens, have offered additional information – however there’s often someone standing in front of them and you have to wait – or else the technology stops working once again. This is annoying for both visitors and museum staff. Using loan tablets means high costs for museums and a flood of technical problems. All this explains why many museums are scared of digital application.

At the same time, it’s also true that the transfer of knowledge in museums is immeasurably more well-founded than the unguided search for information on the outside. But what would happen if it could function just as simply?

The Berlin agency raumHOCH presents the software cloudFOLIO, developed by them for the museum sector, for the first time at Exponatec. Thanks to cloudFOLIO, visitors’ mobile devices and museums can exchange data with each other in three different ways:

1. From the museum to the visitor
Visitors can get all the information about individual exhibits on their phones – for example as text, audio or video. In different languages, of course, automatically linked with the language settings on the mobile device. This is not only advantageous for visitors who speak a different language – but also when there’s a surge of interested people standing in front of an exhibit. And whoever wishes to read a longer piece of text later with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake can save it. There’s a significant gain thanks to cloudFOLIO even from a design perspective: if the information finds its way onto mobile devices, the exhibit puts itself in the spotlight in its presentation and makes an even greater impact.

2. From the visitor to the museum
What if visitors could take part in the exhibition? If they could contribute something to the exhibition themselves? Leave a comment? Share their experience? Send their own photos to a media installation in the museum, for example, about the history of a place? That works over cloudFOLIO too, thus opening completely new horizons for the “BYOD – Bring Your Own Device” principle in exhibition design.

3. Interactively between the museum and the visitor
Visitors can have an influence on what everyone sees. With this, new forms of information transfer can be conceived. An example: recreational stations at which visitors build a virtual pyramid together or put together antique clay fragments to make a bowl. Of course, they can also control large displays or start animations – at a distance that makes it possible to take in the entire display and that allows those visitors who are just watching the interaction to see the displays too. And last but not least, remote control is possible with cloudFOLIO, even the remote control of real exhibits – an exciting option not just for technology museums. How about controlling a robot remotely over your own mobile phone?

The exhibits and visitors’ mobile devices communicate with each other in real time over a local wireless network without the need for internet access. This means that the museum makes a freely accessible data network available to its visitors that is set up only for museum operations. Only museum information is available over this network and no external websites whatsoever. Visitors simply connect their smartphone or tablet with the wireless network and have the opportunity immediately for bidirectional interaction with the exhibits – and all without downloading an app!

The presentation software, cloudFOLIO, structures and presents the data. In doing so, it follows a responsive design consistently, so the result always looks good – regardless of whether it’s on a big screen, a smartphone, or a tablet. Since raumHOCH uses current technology for its software framework, all applications are usable regardless of platform or hardware. It doesn’t even matter which operating system is used.

Text, audio, image and video data are maintained in an easy-to-use content management system in cloudFOLIO, for which normal Internet application knowledge is sufficient. This means that museum staff can adapt exhibition text or audio guide data, for example. The system is simply easy to understand, cost-effective, efficient, and timesaving. Further exhibition languages can be offered with little effort. Additionally, museums can adapt the exhibition text cost-effectively when new exhibits are added, existing exhibits get loaned out, or the status of a scientific view on a topic changes.


Categories: Video Games

Tags: audioguide, BYOD, interaction, mobile device, Museum