Monday, June 13, 2005

Post Disneyism

Yesterday I mentioned the forthcoming book on High Performance Multimedia, which will be published by IOS Press in Amsterdam. Besides the chapter on Bio-multimedia it contains a very interesting chapter on tourism: Post Disney experience paradigma? Some implications for the development of content to mobile tourist services. It has been written by Lars Bojen, who just started a project with mobiles at that time. I wonder how he is doing and how far the project has been realised now.

Lars Bojen presents in the article a conceptual framework for a location based mobile ICT system for a visitor destination in the near future. The issues presented originates from ideas and intentions in a specific Danish tourism project “Mobile Digital City and Nature Walks - development of content and software for a mobile tourism device”.

He suggests that the integration of tourism and mobile technology services imply a new experience paradigm, that could be named the “Post Disney Experience”. The Disneyland Experience is characterized by “a completely constructed environment, and a fundamentally prescribed visitor experience” (Borrie, 1999). It has a long history and strong cultural impact starting with the amusement park 'Bakken', north of Copenhagen, in 1583 and given modern form by Disney at Anaheim, California in 1955 . The “Disneyism” or “Post-Fordism” paradigms (Amin, 1994) represents manufacturing and service paradigms whicjh are more focused at the components of the output than understanding customer processing operations. Thus a Post Disney Experience can be viewed in connection to the stance of a “neo-service paradigm (Gyimothy, 2000) and the vision of Ambient Intelligence (ISTAG,2001) concentrating on human interaction within service encounters ( personalized ubiquitous adaptive integrated offerings), which are assumed to add value to the customer´s experience . If the vision of Ambient Intelligence (AmI) as proposed by leading researchers in Europe (ISTAG,2001) is realized, there will be new ways for offering holistic tourist experiences, that might alter the way we define holidays and visitor destinations. Then the experiences might not be confined by the borders of specific visitor attractions – as we see it today – where you go to Disneyland and stay there for some limited time –. As it is suggested in this project whole city- and landscapes and rural areas has the possibility to benefit from this development providing new and possible authentic experience stages for the demanding tourist segments. But it requires that the tourist industry works together in coordinating and providing transcendent experiences based on user centric methodological frameworks .

Lars Bojen made his dream visible with a virtual trip.

At home in Germany - 20:00h after dinner
German family Mann with 2 children in the Hamburg area log on to the portal via Internet and discover a link to Mobile city and Nature walks . They also got Internet access in their auto camper. Immediately they are interested, because one of the sons discovers an attractive avatar in the corner of the dynamic banner ad, which reminds him of one the actors in one of his Playstation games. The avatar responds to mouse touches “come closer and discover a new area with me – You will get a new sight of the hidden Denmark, where you have never been before. Full of hidden adventures or legends from an ancient age with noble knights and princesses.” Here they get access to a good offer on a delighted summer house 10 km from the beach. Also they accept an offer to hire a Personal Travel Assistant ( PTA) with modem, camera, video, mikes etc. According to the portal the PTA gives access to information, communication, transaction, community facilities . They can get access to relevant info about the tourist destination, booking opportunities in the area, hotels, events and attractions . Furthermore they discover an exciting community, with a lot exiting games related to the destination plus offers about improvised tours with local Viking guides . And yes through the Meeting service they also can find other families with children. Hr. Mann hesitates a little, but then thinks of the last holiday, where the kids and himself included really was bored in an isolated mountain resort in Bavaria. Yes we will book this holiday - ( fills out a registration scheme generating a personal profile in the system).

At the destination - Travel planning - Before Breakfast 8:00h
Hr. Mann logs in on the PTA and find local maps .- and ask for “occasioned maps” because he wants to find relevant integrated Tour offerings matching the families interest in Medieval Age and Vikings . He makes his own suggested tour, with a lunch at a local Medieval Inn . Is it possible to pay with Euro (they don’t use Euro in DK , yet )?

Use navigation guide for attractions. After breakfast 9:00h
Mr. Mann doesn’t precisely know the road to a local castle ruin near by the village, but the speech interactive map guide in the PTA helps. The family find it funny that the avatar from the website, now appears in the PTA in a new disguise ( Medieval costume ) the oldest son is a bit bored, because they have to drive approx. 1 hour to the attraction. He asks the PTA avatar about some games. The avatar suggests they play a medieval game based on a real ”ghost” event at the local castle. The son plays the multiplayer game together with other players from the whole region. Luckily there is a video chat possibility and the son discusses game tricks and hints with a boy from Norway. The avatar chat appears again and suggests that the son can do some video documentation of the visit to the castle ruin, then the avatar later on will help get it visualized in 3D!

At the castle ruin 10:30h
The family also finds and watches interesting multimedia stories about the castle before the arrival. The maps are easily printed on the mobile printer. At the same time the family also get informed about opening hours and offers in local stores and farm shops, selling medieval inspired food that Mrs. Mann loves. After shooting a lot video footages with the PTA they decide to go to the nearest shop and buy some fresh food . But Mrs. Mann is curious and checks out if there are some stores in the area matching her taste. She logs on the PTA and after a moment of search it occurs that 3 shops are selling the kind of clothes she likes. They go there and Mrs. Mann buys a medieval suite, pays easily with the PTA. Mrs. Mann thinks her friend in Hamburg should see the dress and she makes a fast catwalk while Mr Mann is filming with the PTA and sends a mail to the friend that the families TravelBlog has been updated. Driving along to the lunch they get a message on the PTA that a Norwegian family, Gunnarsons whose son earlier played games with the Mann´s son, would like to invite to an interactive open-air Viking theater game, “Midguard – touch and feel the Vikings “, later this afternoon ( info at ) The family accept the offer and replies through the video messenger and Mrs Mann has a lovely chat with Mrs. Gunnarson, before buying tickets guided by the shopping avatar that also reminds them, that their map has been updated with a new route. After lunch they have to drive 120 km to the theater. First Mrs Mann check the weather forecast for the destination and she now knows the children wont freeze – Also the PTA avatar offers her video clips from the Theater game - they’ll watch the scenery and get very interested in Viking history. So interested that they buy a dual book consisting of hard copy and a huge web encyclopaedia about the subject for only 30 Euro . 30 min. before the family arrives, they get a message that they should prepare themselves for the interactive theater game by doing some explorations of the virtual Midguard. The children access the virtual environment through the PTA and get a lot funny exercises that gives them a picture about Viking mythology.

Posted by Hello Illustration: Virtual Midgaard ( part of situated in a peripheral area in Southern Jutland )

At the Viking attraction 15:00h
Arriving at the attraction they meet the Norwegian family and agree to communicate in English. The children have one PTA and the adults have their own . Also they agree to split and follow their own route. Suddenly one of the Viking actors presents the play in a dramatic voice: The earth was like a large island, surrounded by sea. In the middle of the earth was the home of humans, called MIDGARD, protected by a fence made of the eyelashes and eyebrows of the giant Ymer. Beyond the fence, was the country known as UTGARD, and there, in the cold and mountainous land by the sea, lived the giants. Up above the clouds, ASGARD was the dwelling-place of the gods; from up there they could see the whole earth. And above them – its branches stretching across the world - stood the crown of an ash tree, YGGDRASIL. “ Welcome to MIDGARD, the land of men. Here the Viking children are working hard grinding flour, fetching firewood, baking bread, making willow hedges and many other things besides. When work is over, people have fun playing, singing, competing in sports and games – or just sitting around the fire and telling stories. Dead Viking warriors would go to ASGARD, the world of the gods. If you are courageous, strong and careful, you can try to get through Asgard alive by following the path that leads across the sea … But be careful! If you touch the ground, you will be easy prey for the World Serpent! “ The children thinks it sounds exciting and follow the route where the PTA avatar gives multimedia based hints about obstacles. The PTA avatar also challenges them with location based quizzes and 3D Viking projections that might give them access to secret places in ASGARD, they explore. After 2 hours of interactive gaming and play the parents send a video message to the children proposing dinner at a nearby Viking CafĂ©. The children don’t answer, but luckily the parents can position the children through the GPS based Friend Finder. At the dinner, the children tell that a tour video footage has been placed on the Viking M-Blog, so the friends back home can help them in the Viking quest.

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