How Infopoint system helped the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia

In September 2016 we supported the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, to install a limited scale deployment of our Infopoint system within a temporary exhibition entitled “Threads of Tradition: Laces and Lace Embroideries of Cyprus”. With the exhibition coming at an end next week on the 29th of October, we wanted to take the opportunity to review the performance of the system, and how it has helped the museum enrich the visitor experience of the gallery.

Introduction

The Leventis Municipal Museum is the historical Museum of the capital of Cyprus and is considered one of the most prestigious local museums. The temporary exhibition “Threads of Tradition: Laces and Lace Embroideries of Cyprus” has aimed to offer to the visitor a new opportunity to experience and educate themselves on the subject of Cypriot lace and lace embroidery, invaluable elements of the island’s intangible cultural heritage. The gallery has been housing a wide range of lacework exhibits of extraordinary art and skill, tracing the history of laceworking technique and its commercial trade within the island.

The goal of our Infopoint deployment was to help improve the visitor’s understanding of the incredible amount of skill and dedication required to work lace and lace embroideries. We wanted to be able to communicate information that could not be otherwise included within the gallery itself, but at the same time without hurting the aesthetic of the exhibition. The museum wanted to avoid the installation of digital screens or other unattractive and costly technology hardware, and wanted to ensure that any system would not distract the visitor from paying attention to the exhibit collection itself.

How Infopoint helped the gallery

Infopoint is a system of installing discrete, but clearly visible information points within a museum or gallery, that a visitor is able to interact with through their mobile phone. The infopoints combine a number of connectivity technologies (RFID, e-codes, and optionally Bluetooth) embedded within them, that in turn provide a number of interactivity options for a visitor.

An individual can interact with an infopoint by simply touching their phone on it, scanning it with their phone’s camera, typing a code printed on it on their phone, or even simply walking near it with Bluetooth enabled. The system was designed to replace or complement any existing wayfinding and guide solution of a location, without the need for expensive hardware.

In the case of the Leventis Municipal museum, 9 infopoints were installed within the exhibition near 8 specific examples of lace and lace embroidery technique. A visitor interacting with an Infopoint was shown a video on their phone showcasing the specific technique, and how it can be utilized to produce lace embroidery works.

The videos presented were a co-production of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia and the Cyprus Handicraft Services of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, with camera and editing by Paschalis Papapetrou. The whole project has allowed the museum to document and preserve in film lace making techniques which are rarely used anymore.

Results

Infopoint is powered by our Blupath platform, a powerful, location based, content management system and connectivity platform, that gives a museum or other location full control over what content to deliver out of which Infopoint. The platform also allows a location to gather user feedback, and generate usage analytics and statistics. We wanted to take the opportunity to examine some of the results of the deployment, now at the end of its 6th week, in more detail.

Timeline of usage

In the 6 weeks since the Infopoint system was installed we have been seeing consistent day to day interactions by visitors. Although we see both quieter days, as well as days with consistently more usage, there is an overall positive trend that has been relatively steady through the weeks.

Overall performance has greatly exceeded our expectations. One of our initial concerns had been that given that the infopoint deployment was limited to a single small gallery within an otherwise large museum, visitors who had not been introduced to the system through any previous gallery would either not realise that a new technology deployment was made, or not understand how to use it. The positive trend proves instead that the infopoints are simple enough to use that this was not a problem.

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Location breakdown

One of the advantages that the Infopoint system gives us is that we are able to measure the number of interactions at each indoor point, and therefore determine the overall popularity of different parts of the gallery. In this particular deployment we can see that fully 25% of all interactions were made against a single infopoint, with almost all other points having a fairly even distribution of interactions.

The most popular interaction point had been the one nearest to the entrance to the exhibition. This makes sense if we are to assume that this is the point which every single visitor will see, whereas after entering visitors may choose to spread themselves to different points of the gallery, without necessarily giving as much attention to all exhibits.

The least popular interaction point was located in a spot of rather heavy informational density, where 4 different Infopoints had been placed in relatively close proximity to each other. It seems that visitors might be too tired to interact with multiple Infopoints immediately one after the other, and that a more even distribution within a gallery might be more efficient in future deployments.

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Time distribution

A clear pattern emerges when we look at the hourly data, where the majority of interactions are taking place between 11:00 to 13:00, and 18:00 – 20:00, with a small drop in usage in the in-between afternoon hours. The rise in usage in the later evening hours probably reflects locals visiting the museum after-work. Such data could help the museum in the future determine when to move gallery staff in the exhibition who could support visitors with interacting with the Infopoint system.

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Mobile phone usage

54% of all interactions were made on phones utilizing the Google Chrome browser (typically indicating use of an Android phone), whereas 44% where made through phones utilizing the Apple Safari browser (typically indicating use of an Apple phone). These numbers reflect a slightly larger percentage of museum visitors using an Apple phone to interact with the system than in the wider population of the island as a whole. This could be interpreted in different ways and probably requires some additional research in order to form any specific conclusions as to why this is the case.

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