Published 28.06.2017

Vidden becomes a test platform for media technology

The use of sophisticated sensors and web beacons scattered on the mountain plateau Vidden, combined with AR technology, context and geolocation-based services will make Vidden the tourist destination of the future. The technology is developed in the media cluster, and is a result of a close cooperation between NCE Tourism and NCE Media. 

Senior Consultant in NCE Tourism, Per Gunnar Hettervik

On the picture (from left): Rune Smistad (NCE Media), Dag J. Aksnes (NCE Tourism), Per Gunnar Hettervik (NCE Tourism), Anne Jacobsen (NCE Media), Bjørn Arne Skogstad (Innovation Norway), Trond Amland (NCE Tourism).
 

The two sister clusters NCE Tourism and NCE Media hit it off after a speed date at Nøstet last year. Now the development of the Vidden cooperation is in process. Through a combination of media technology, content and location, the project will give the whole Vidden-experience a boost. Mount Vidden is a project run by Fløibanen, Ulriken, Bergen Basecamp and NCE Tourism. The purpose is to develop a new destination - Vidden - where guides, new technical solutions, different food experiences and other topics will be part of the product development. The companies in the media cluster will contribute with technology, product development and content into a project that will require completely new solutions and a high degree of innovation.

Cluster-to-cluster cooperation
– In Bergen we are lucky to have a fantastic mountain range so close to the city center. Mount Vidden is not just a well-known experience for people from Bergen, it is also a sought after tourist attraction. Now we want to develop a package that will lift the travel experience for all hikers, and it is natural for us to collaborate with relevant companies in the media cluster, Per Gunnar Hettervik, Senior Consultant at NCE Tourism says. He is responsible for the Vidden project.

The collaboration started after a speed date event between NCE Media and NCE Tourism last year where companies from both clusters saw that it was possible to create synergies across the two industries. NCE Media and NCE Tourism took the initiative to work together, and the result of this collaboration is shown through the Vidden project.

Security, relevance and information
New technology and practical experience from experienced and skilled guides is combined, and three focus areas have been identified that provide the basis for the development of this product: How one can make the mountain trip more safe, how to use technology to add more relevance to the mountain trip, and how to contribute with exciting information before, during and after the trip is completed.

– A lot of people visit mount Fløyen and mount Ulriken every year. The Fløibanen funicular has 1,7  million people climbing on board each year, while 160,000 travel with the Ulriksbanen funicular. Many of these hikers are not locals, and may not possess the information they need to ensure that mountain hiking is performed as safely as possible, Hettervik says.

MOUNTAIN HIKE: (From left). William Aarsland (Bergen Architectural School), Guro Øvsthus (Fløibanen), Dag J. Aksnes (NCE Tourism), Jan Robert Brandsdal (Grønn Etat, Bergen Municipality), Arne Kristian Glück Teigland (Bygdagnist.no)

– Picture a group of adventure tourists arriving with Hurtigruten. As soon as the boat is at quay, these people plan to climb the Bergen city mountains. But they do not know what the weather conditions are like at Mount Vidden, as the weather up in the mountains is often very different from the weather conditions in the city center. How should the mountain hiker dress? Hettervik asks before answering the question himself:

– With the use of sophisticated sensors and web beacons spread out on the mountain plateau, people will be able to receive information from our app at any time on how to dress according to the weather conditions. This way, the guides can inform the tourists as soon as they reach shore what kind of equipment they should bring. It will also be possible to get information on what kind of food is served on the trip, the duration of the trip and other relevant push notifications based on context and location. AR technology which can be linked to web beacons, history and culture up in the mountains, is also being looked into.
In addition we are looking into the possibility of linking the Strava app to our own tour-app. That way mountain hikers can compete on time with friends and others who have gone on the same hiking trip.

Innovation from the media cluster
The media and technology companies Scanreach, Knowit, TV 2 and Apility are all involved in the project, and contribute to sensor and beacon technology, content and infrastructure for the innovation, amongst other things.

– Four members from the media cluster are currently taking part in the project, but we see that another 20-30 companies are highly eligible to take part in this innovation project. What matters now is to create a framework that can be developed further in the future. The project is not limited to mount Vidden alone - we will also use this technology in the Cycling World Cup 2017, Rune Smistad, project developer at NCE Media says.

“Innovasjonsrammen”
In the autumn of 2016, NCE Media announced one million Norwegian kroner in innovation funding and a substantial part of the funding was used for supporting key elements in infrastructure for new, smart and position-oriented services for the cluster projects UCI World Road Championship and mount Vidden. “Innovasjonsrammen” is an important mean for initiating innovation and prototype development in a scenario where the entire project is designed by a consortium and not by the needs of a company or an existing customer relationship.

– We can now build a basic infrastructure that we see necessary for other companies and innovation projects to take part in the project, and contribute to business development in a step-by-step process with a movable goal with both a short and a long horizon. This is a unique way of developing projects in a cluster context, and we had not been able to do this without Innovation Norway's support and willingness to organize, Smistad says.

WORKSHOP: Various companies from the media cluster brainstorm around possible solutions in the Vidden project.

Huge potential in adventure tourism
The next step is to educate guides to the project. This year, a total of twelve guides will be certified and prepared for the first test trip with foreign operators during the summer. The plan is to develop commercial packages based on the mount Vidden project.

– This technology can be used in all projects we work with. The combination of big data, programmatic, sensor technology and quality content will allow us to continue the project nationally and eventually internationally. We see that there is a great potential in the adventure tourism sector, and promising forecasts for the years to come. Around 50 % of all world tourists will be adventure tourists in 2020 - so I think this is the right time to connect media technology from the media cluster and the tourist cluster's resource base. This collaboration can be a gamechanger, Hettervik says.


This text was translated by Vibeke Blich. Original text can be found here.