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Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales pilots a ‘world first’ iBeacon programme

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru) is the first national museum in the world to trial the Culture and Heritage Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology (Apple iBeacon), in partnership with People’s Collection Wales and the Locly (app and platform). The programme is being trialled at one of Amgueddfa Cymru’s sites — the National Slate Museum in Llanberis — and will enable visitors to discover more about the collections on their mobile devices as they walk around the site.

iBeacon works as a communication tool which connects with other devices, sending a signal using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It is an indoor positioning system that Apple Inc calls "a new class of low-powered, low-cost transmitters that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of their presence." It can also be used by the Android operating system.

 Through this particular programme, visitors will receive information from the National Slate Museum and People’s Collection Wales on their mobile devices as they go around the Museum, discovering and interacting with the exhibits.

 

The programme is based on digital content curated by the museum, and will feature iBeacon technology through the use of the Locly app and platform. 25 iBeacons have been placed around the National Slate Museum over the past 4 weeks with existing digital content re-purposed through the use of People’s Collection Wales and the Locly platform to provide a media rich visitor experience.

 

The following video explains more:  http://youtu.be/ii_Na3AewKc

 

The partnership has completed stage one of the pilot, which was to trial the technological concept of iBeacons within a working accredited national museum.

Stage two of the pilot is now underway. It will investigate specific elements of digital heritage such as learning, interpretation, the use of bilingual and multilingual materials. This current stage will only be available to those interested in learning more about iBeacon technology in a museum environment.

 

David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru said:

“This initiative is a game-changer. It takes the use of technology in museums to a higher level and I am delighted that Wales’ national museum is leading the way. Thanks to the expertise of our staff and valuable knowledge and contributions of our partners, we are exploring the full potential of this technology to create a new world of public services for the cultural, heritage and museum sectors.”

 

iBeacon technology in museums will be further explored in an event hosted by Amgueddfa Cymru on 10 July 2014. More information will follow on www.museumwales.ac.uk

 

Ends

For more information, please contact Lleucu Cooke, Amgueddfa Cymru (029 2057 3175 lleucu.cooke@museumwales.ac.uk).

 

To learn more about how you can be involved in the pilot and arrange a visit to experience this new technology, please contact Rheinallt Jones on Rheinallt.Ffoster-Jones@museumwales.ac.uk  or Susan Davies info@locly.com

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Partners:

  1. 1.     National Slate Museum

Dinorwig Quarry closed in 1969. Today, rather than fashioning wagons and forging rails, the workshops tell a very special story: the story of the Welsh slate industry.

The National Slate Museum is sited in the Victorian workshops built in the shadow of Elidir mountain, site of the vast Dinorwig quarry. There you can travel into the past of an industry and a way of life that has chiselled itself into the very being of this country.

The National Slate Museum at Llanberis invested a £1.6 million lottery grant into bringing back to life the inheritance of the north Wales slate industry, which roofed the industrial revolution.

Now, with imaginative interpretation, the remarkable relics of the slate industry can be understood and enjoyed by the many thousands of visitors to this stunning countryside, on the flanks of Snowdon.

The Museum originally opened to the public in 1972. Many of the sites former quarrymen and engineers were employed to present their craft, while equipment was collected from other Welsh quarries. In later years the quarry's incline was restored to its former glory, and the Museum re-opened in 1999 with new unique features and facilities.

 

  1. 2.     Peoples Collection Wales

The project is funded by the Welsh Government. It is a partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, The National Library of Wales, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.

People's Collection Wales is a website full of fascinating photographs, sound recordings, documents, videos and stories about the history and heritage of Wales and its people - it is the first of its kind in Wales.

People's Collection Wales website draws together the digital collections of the main heritage institutions in Wales, alongside content from smaller museums, archives and libraries, and is a place where you can share your story of Wales.

It provides quick and easy access to the rich heritage of Wales and allows you to contribute your own content to enhance the variety on the site and make sure that the history of your area is told.

 

  1. 3.     Locly

Locly is an open iBeacon content platform developed by Bookry Ltd.

It brings together two key components for creating and interacting with proximity-aware content:

-      a browser for the beaconsphere, a great app experience for users to explore and interact with the digital content in their surroundings.

-      a content creation tool, allowing anyone to bring rich text, images, audio and video into the moment, and seeing how people interact with their environment.

As well as supplying iBeacon hardware, Locly also runs a cloud-based infrastructure to deliver, monitor and update proximity aware content. For developers coding their own apps, it also offers an open API that layers onto the physical world around us.

More information on Locly can be found at locly.com

Date: 15 April 2014
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