Dublin is the world`s first city to provide a pointing technology-enabled smartphone application (app), which allows users to point their mobile device at a building or object in the real world and retrieve information about it, it was announced on Wednesday, 1st September 2010.
Launched by the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin, T.D., at The Gibson Hotel, Dublin, Dublin Tourism`s ground-breaking Visit Dublin app “delivers Dublin in the palm of your hand” and “will become the default way of visiting Dublin and inevitably be replicated by other leading tourist destinations around the world,” according to Dublin Tourism`s chief executive, Frank Magee.
The dynamic Dublin destination guide app is the flagship feature of Dublin Tourism`s digital strategy. According to Dublin Tourism, the tourism authority and its partners are investing Euro 10 million in a digital strategy that promotes Dublin to consumers worldwide, which will deliver an additional one million visitors to Dublin by 2015.
Minister Hanafin said, “Using the very latest technology to get the most up to date information about Dublin – a city with so much history, culture, attractions and entertainment and with so much going on every day is a very positive development. Some 3.8 million people visited Dublin last year and the city is hugely popular with leisure and business tourists alike. Mobile technology is part of more and more people`s lives, and a vast wealth of information at your fingertips is what visitors will look for when visiting a vibrant city like Dublin. Having this new app with so many features on thousands of places of interest around the city shows Dublin Tourism is leading the way.”
Frank Magee said that the “prognosis for Dublin is good. Our outlook indicates that Dublin`s year-end performance will exceed original expectations with increases in both visitor numbers and occupancy levels. Hotels are set to achieve last year`s figures at the very least while rooms rates are stabilising. Consumers are aware of the wide choice of tourist destinations available and seek value for their leisure breaks, using technology such as visitdublin.com to search, which results in very late booking patterns. They are finding that value in Dublin and occupancy is up as a result. Dublin will also reap the benefits of key tourism infrastructural investments such as the opening of the Convention Centre Dublin, which will provide a sustained bounce for visitor numbers.”
The Visit Dublin app uses innovative technology to allow visitors to use directional search to move about Dublin and discover their interests. The Augmented Reality feature allows users to access electronically-stored data regarding a point of interest they are looking at, for example overlaid images, opening times or playing audio. The app covers the greater Dublin area and operates within a 10 km radius from where the user is located.
It features extensive detailed content for tourists, sourced from the VisitDublin.com website`s 7,000 pages of information, that is geocoded and will initially cover approximately 1,400 points of interest. All the information has been validated by Dublin Tourism and is constantly updated. Dublin Tourism is targeting 100,000 app downloads in the first 12 months.
The app`s innovative features include:
users can point and click at a real world point of interest to retrieve information about it;
users can virtually move to destinations and virtually explore them before making a visit;
it is the first to include the feature ‘Point to listen`, ‘Point to download` and ‘Point to call`;
it can function without any network connection thereby limiting roaming charges. For example, the application will work in airplane mode;
its intelligent caching allows the vast majority of tourist information to be stored locally on the mobile device thus improving search performance and playback;
audio content featuring 81 audio clips that allows users to use directional search to find the closest point of interest with audio;
a special offers screen voucher feature enables bar, restaurant and tourism attraction owners to provide discount coupons to users;
it does not require image matching, tags or beacons. The geocode for the point of interest is the only requirement; and
a Daily Bulletin provides news updates on new attractions, events and other tourist-related information.
A facility is available to create channels within the app, which allows tourism providers to create their own app for inclusion in the Visit Dublin app.
A number of e-commerce developments are planned for the app including a more dynamic coupon serving engine that allows retailers to manage their own coupon delivery and campaigns; dynamic itinerary information; flight information and accommodation; and a booking engine. Dynamic app content is stored in the cloud and cached information is stored on the mobile device.
In addition to the Visit Dublin app, Dublin Tourism`s digital strategy centres on the visitdublin.com website, the recently launched VisitDublin.com TV, eZines, social media and the iWalk series.
“The tourism business is inextricably linked with engaging creatively with visitors. Innovation has been Dublin Tourism`s watchword for a long time. We were the first city tourism organisation in the world to use the ‘visit` concept. The intuitive Visit Dublin app is another world-first that will help us punch above our weight by increasing visitor numbers and improving the Dublin tourist experience,” said Frank Magee.
Ann Riordan, Dublin Tourism`s chairman, said, “We have emphasised the importance of becoming ambassadors for the Dublin region. The Visit Dublin app will complement their invaluable work of word-of-month endorsement and on-the-ground assistance that enhances Dublin`s tourist offering. We believe that the app will be popular among Dubliners and Irish holidaymakers as it will be with visiting tourists.”
The Visit Dublin app costs Euro 2.99 and is available from the Apple App Store and Android Market, both accessible by visiting www.visitdublin.com/App. Dublin Tourism developed the app in conjunction with GeoGuides, an Irish software company, and provides all of its content. It is the first worldwide tourist guide app deployed on GeoGuide`s proprietary platform, which is uniquely powered by GeoVector Corporation.