Museums, apps and and the power of three (#smwgla)

Things come in three’s don’t they? And the power of three struck me this morning at the Guide Me Tours at Kelvingrove Museum session at Social Media Week Glasgow this morning.

Claire McLeod from Guide Me Tours gave an overview of the app they have developed for the museum. For those of you not familiar with Glasgow, Kelvingrove is one of the city’s main museums and is consistently in the top five visitor attractions in Scotland.

However like all (municipal) museums developing new income streams and improving the visitor experience is an ongoing challenge. And so to the power of three bit. The business model of Guide Me tours exploits the power of three. They develop the app (at no charge to the museum, but obviously working with museum staff) and then when the finished app is available, the income is split three ways – a third to the Apple/Android store, a third to the museum and a third to them. Seems like quite a good deal to me.

The new app (available on the Apple store just now and the Android version will be available in the next few weeks) gives a two hour audio tour of the museum. A free version gives a taster of the full experience and some of the highlights of the collection.

Screenshot of GuideMe Kelvingrove Museum App

Screenshot of GuideMe Kelvingrove Museum App

The team are now working on extending the user experience to produce other versions which are more inclusive with features for hearing and visually impaired visitors, and different language versions.

Currently there is no wifi in the museum, which gave rise to quite an interesting discussion about wifi provision in council buildings. I do find it disappointing that although we have wifi provision in our libraries, the City Council are still reluctant to widen provision to museums. This is just my personal view and I don’t know all the ins and outs of the decision process, costs etc. But I think wifi provision would increase visitor numbers and return visitors; as well as making downloading the app a lot faster (until we all have 4G on our phones!). It seems an interim measure of a wifi hot spot for access to the apple/android stores might be the first stage. There’s also a cafe across the road from the museum which has wifi – so you could just go there get a coffee and download the app there :-)

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