I visited Barcelona a couple of times during last year, for the inaugural Internet of Things World Fórum hosted by Cisco (previous post) and later on for Mobile World Congress with a strong focus on Internet of Things (IoT), so I can say that is a fact that IoT has attracted many visitors to the city.
Barcelona strategy is focused on ensuring citizens a better quality of life, but what about tourist?. Will Barcelona vision of turn into a more efficient city, more sustainable, more productive and social be a teaser to attract more visitors?
In the Spanish city of Santander, over 18 000 sensors hang from lamp posts and sit in parks and gardens, on the roofs of buses, and embedded into the asphalt covering parking lots. Visitors can see tourist attractions, public parks and nearby shops tagged in real time if they look through the camera of their smart phones.
Other cities like Tartu in Estonia have launched The Smart City Lab cluster with Tourism and recreational services as one of the five main areas. The lab is testing tourist mobile applications (I hope that enriched with services based on sensor data and Open data).
Tourism Victoria has launched a AU$3.6 million digital campaign for Melbourne that will be widely copied, likely mocked, and morphed in various ways as Google Glass and other wearables become a more mainstream reality.
Nowadays, many cities regard tourism as a driving force of their economies and recognize the importance of attracting quality tourism by offering a fully comprehensive experience that creates lasting memories and builds tourist loyalty. Take a look at 4 creative ways cities are using smart technologies to promote tourism.
Internet of Things can play a crucial role into assist tourists during their trip and allow city managers to coordinate citizen services and monitor the status of their use at all times to guarantee quality public services.
Visitors of smart cities will love to use services to discover surprising ways to save money on transportation, attractions, tours and hotels. Applications and services that integrate IoT, social media, content marketing, Big Data and wearables will provide those visitors authentic city travelling experiences.
New business models will facilitate creation of Tourism Service Providers (TSP). TSPs will provide tourists guidance to ensure they make the most of their visit through personal recommendation for eating, shopping or for fun.
But, visitors experience in the city should be not limited to public services. Hotels should make the guest feel comfortable and secure by using smart building technology easy to use.
And what to say about the shopping experience in the city. Internet of Things provides retailers with a wide range of options to provide significantly higher value to their consumers. IoT is already showing signs of revolutionizing the way retailers interact with their customers when it comes to real-time analytics and promotions. Using a mix of connected devices at the store as well as customer data, retailers can tailor make promotions and experiences for tourist. In many ways IoT will enable brick-and-mortar retailers to have the kind of real-time customer information that online retailers always have.
Visitors traveling to smart cities, either for pleasure or business will not only bring their smartphone or tablet, they will come with other devices (wearables, objects connected to internet).
Occasional or usual visitors hope that the city will offer them unique integrated experiences provided not only by public services but also by private Tourism Service Providers that should know what are their priority issues anytime, anywhere and will be able to respond immediately using internet connected devices.
We are seeing the tip of the iceberg in connected cities of the future. Soon we are going to see lots of innovation because the IoT possibilities are seemingly endless and tourists will benefit of it.
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