Learning from intelligent tourism

Cinque Terre

In this news piece, Tourism pressures: Five places tackling too many visitors – BBC News,  there is an interested use of technology by empowering visitors with knowledge of how busy the paths in the cliffside towns of Cinque Terre.

Tourists cannot get enough of the five brightly painted cliffside towns in northern Italy known as Cinque Terre. The area, which has about 5,000 residents, became a national park in 1999 and now receives more than two million tourists per year. People come to hike the scenic paths that link the towns and the terrace vineyards. Over the years, the walkways have fallen into disrepair from erosion and overuse.

Faced with this problem, the park authorities came up with a technological solution for the tourists. 

Lately, park authorities have been trialling an app which tourists can download to see the number of people on the routes in real time. When a red warning sign shows, a path is overcrowded and visitors can then make up their minds if they want to join the throngs. In the future, they may trial virtual waiting lists.

One of the discussions that has come out of the recent Intelligent Campus community events has been about empowering students with knowledge through data, to enable them to make informed decisions that will enhance their experience.

It is easy to see how providing students with information on how busy parts of the campus is then they can (like the tourists) make up their minds if they want to join the throngs in the library, the catering facilities or the computer labs.

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You could do this three ways.

  • Use historical data to inform the students.
  • Use live data to inform the students.
  • Use predicted data, based on historical and live data to provide future information to students.

How you collect data is a different question, you could use software such as Lone Rooftop to measure occupancy using wifi and the devices learners are carrying. Some universities are using infra-red technology to measure occupancy (with less impact on gathering data about individual users).

Removing frustrations, making timely and appropriate interventions are just some of the ways you can enhance the student experience. Providing them with accurate insight into where they want to go and what is happening there goes some way to do this.

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