The problem our project solves
Our museums and cultural heritage sites offer us numerous benefits daily: They allow us to connect people from a variety of backgrounds; to experience and reflect on our past; to anticipate and influence our futures. They also offer us a pause and diversion away from our busy lives. They strengthen our mental health and well-being, making us more resilient for future problems.
The knowledge and understanding we learn within cultural heritage and museum settings form a crucial part of our cultural, social, national and continental identities. In these times, when the world is more troubled and physically isolated than ever, our museums and cultural heritage sites offer a vital way of keeping us connected, nurtured and relaxed.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way people will travel and visit places in the months and possibly years to come. While government measures vary drastically from country to country, and some restrictions are lifted gradually, the challenges of the crisis will remain for the foreseeable future. It will take a long time before we go back to experiencing our European heritage in the same way as we used to.
COVID-19 has forced the complete or partial closure of over 90% of museums and heritage sites. Their survival is at risk, with severe repercussions. The livelihoods of 27 million people in the Arts and Tourism sector are under threat, and the costs to the industry are predicted to be more than 350 billion euros. Many cultural heritage sites and museums may take decades to recover; some never will. In particular, those smaller, niche museums which offer new perspectives or specialist insights into our complex cultural identity may be lost from us. They will become inaccessible to future generations of curious minds.
It is this eagerness for learning and passion for discovery that Guided seeks to address. As we sit in our homes, isolated and alone, Guided offers Europeans an opportunity to reconnect with their cultural heritage sites and museums.
The solution we bring to the table
(technical details, architecture, tools used)
Our mission is to share culture with everyone, everywhere - in a uniquely personalised, completely guided experience. Our solution will provide a source of income for museum & tour guides who are losing their jobs, contracts and revenue. We will remove the barriers created by distance, cost and viruses. We will feed the curiosity of young minds; provide recreation for busy people; and allow for the older generation to visit places they have always dreamt of. Finally, we will restore some sense of normality for museums, cultural heritage sites, their tour guides and customers, during these turbulent and testing times.
The very first web-based app that enables personalized and interactive guided tours to sites and museums.
We present to you Guided - an online platform and tool, which offers visitors access to cultural institutions such as museums or heritage sites. Remotely, individual visitors or groups can book the unique experience of a guided tour. Thanks to real-time interaction between both (visitor and guide), the visitor can easily direct the accredited guide, who is physically present in the cultural institution, on the ground - making it a tailored experience every time.
Beyond COVID-19, our European project continues to contribute to an open, inclusive, knowledgeable and creative society: our solution offers a new, inclusive and remote way for those who would otherwise not be able to visit the museum or heritage site in the first place, overcoming social and economic inequalities, geographic distance, language barriers, age and physical disabilities. We will support EU citizens & uphold business continuity. We will reinforce the values of our shared cultural heritage. We will touch hearts and embrace minds.
The platform offers a three-fold solution:
- How it works for Museums and heritage sites (institutions)
Our solution allows visitors to access cultural heritage sites or museum collections, and provides an alternative source of revenue. The institutions can publish a list of potential tours which will be implemented by their accredited tour guides, maintaining their high quality offers. These tours will be made available to the general public thanks to the Guided platform. Offers could include both existing tours from before the crisis and new ones, adjusted to the current reality. The institutions determine the price for the tour and they will manage the revenue generated.
An institution can insert a link in their payment page and create an affiliation code for their accredited guides. The link will bring visitors to a remote-tour page, where the visitor can buy tickets. The page will show all the available remote tours created by the institution.
- How it works for tour guides
Accredited guides are an essential part of the solution. In coordination with the institution, they can prepare different itineraries, which can later be adapted by the visitor themselves, depending on what the visitor wants to experience and learn. The visitor will guide the guide while being in constant, real-time communication throughout the tour, conducted via camera (or mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet) and streaming on the online platform.
What is more, professional guides can advertise themselves through the app. They will also be able to invite customers and be paid for the work they do according to the overall agreement with their institution.
- How it works for the visitor
Individual visitors, families, groups of friends, professional teams, even educational institutions and organizations can access unique tours through the platform. The offer can be adjusted according to the needs of the visitor, providing an inclusive approach for all sectors and all groups of society, regardless of any kind of restrictions. The visitor will have access to major European cultural institutions and can experience them in a unique way, in real-time, through the eyes of the guides.
The visitor can book a tour, buy the ticket via the platform, and then be connected with a guide. Through the chat and prior to the tour taking place, they will discuss the details of the tour with the designated, accredited guide. Once they agree on the content of the visit, they can schedule a time and date of the virtual tour.
At this point, both the visitor and the guide will receive a notification about the incoming tour. The connection will be through their mobile phone, or other devices (the platform is hardware agnostic). During the connection, the visitor will be able to direct the visit according to their own preference by talking with the guide or by expressing interest through non-verbal feedback (texts, likes, emojis, etc.).
The uniqueness of our offer
Guided is the first of its kind. Although other forms of digital technology, such as Facebook Live, Instagram, Google Virtual tours, AirBnB Online Experiences, connect visitors with cultural heritage sites, they often offer mass events - but none of them offer the personalised interaction, high quality streaming-speed and personalisation that Guided can.
Guided is the only cloud-based app to offer fully interactive, tailored, real-time output. Users directly connect with museum professionals who apply their highly-specialised knowledge to create distinctive, targeted and original experiences.
Guided offers museums and cultural heritage institutions a highly-reliable and protected streaming.Its technological excellence enables the streaming to offer unique performances (1080p quality streaming, at 20 frame-per-second with a latency under 1 second), It is this impressive latency that enables the personalised, interactive experience. Furthermore Guided’s proprietary solution assures the museum that no content will be recorded or reused without their explicit consent.
Guided increases accessibility to cultural heritage sites and museums, by lessening geographical and financial barriers. Individuals, friends, families or even whole classrooms are able to visit museums or heritage sites from distant locations, with less expense and inconvenience, but in a way they are used to.
Guided is a marketplace that allows museums, guides and visitors to come together on one platform. For visitors, we provide a freemium app with a pay-per-view model where they can browse, secure and experience guided tours. For museums and tour guides, it’s a royalty model with no upfront or running costs. Additionally, the solution can easily pivot into a SaaS model for some or all of our museum partners.
Our primary income is a royalty of what the end-user (visitor) spends for the purchase of a ticket on our platform. We estimate that percentage to be between 20-30%, while the cultural institution gets the remaining 70-80 %.
From a financial point of view, our solution offers an alternative source of income to cultural institutions, up to hundreds of thousands of euro, depending on the amount of remote visits booked. Our model is sustainable and highly scalable with a possibility to support millions of users and thousands of cultural institutions around the world.
We have created a detailed calculation on the cost of running Guided (see attachments). For example, 100 booked Guided remote tours per day, at 30€/tour, would earn the institution 67,500€/month.
Our business model offers several tangible benefits to museums and heritage sites:
- 0 € initial costs/investments
- 0 € upfront payment
- Easy-to-use app ready to implement
- Access to ticket data
- Full control over the guides who have access to the system
Other benefits include:
- Community and crowd-sourcing approach built around cultural institutions and their ambassadors
- Elastic technical solution
- Staff-on-demand (we are able to add an unlimited number of guides without changing our system or buy additional resources, provided the legal frameworks in the area of application allow for that)
- Leverage assets approach (no proprietary hardware but integration with third parties’ vendors)
- High level of engagement at the core of our solution.
Thanks to these attributes we are ready to scale up our project: museums and heritage sites worldwide, small- and medium-size museums, and passionate people will be able to share their knowledge and reach new audiences.
Thanks to the ecosystem of museums, guides, and the technical superiority of the app, the system can, moreover, create partnerships with existing solutions in the Augmented/Virtual/Extended reality, media/network market to improve the partner’s current offers, including API models.
How the idea was born
During the #EUvsVirus Hackathon, we came together as a team to work on this solution because we share the same passion - to support art and culture across Europe, and find new ways of bringing it closer to the general public. Together, we have gathered ideas and expertise, and formulated activities which embrace change and foster innovation.
Our starting point was the Xperience+ app. We discussed, figured out, and polished our vision of how our product must look like during the many hours of working together, and the ever-long online meetings. We became challenge winner within the domain "Social and Political Cohesion" and were invited to the EUvsVirus Matchathon as one of slightly over 100 projects.
In the weeks leading up to the Matchathon, we validated the Guided concept, creating a business model and a customer profile. We initiated market research, contacting museum professionals and tour guides to get their point of view and better understand their needs. We refocused the existing app on the audience we are aiming at, namely cultural institutions, tour guides, and the general public. The result was a simple, easy-to-use, sustainable, scalable and fun online tool, at the center of a diverse cultural ecosystem.
We secured three pledges during the Matchathon, among them the support of Interarts Foundation (Bcn, Spain). We are grateful for their expertise and advice and proud to have them by our side from the start.
The necessities in order to continue the project
Milestones - Our next steps are:
- Technical - we will finish the MVP - estimation of having the v.1 of the App; we have the expertise, and it can be ready in approximately one month.
- Operational - formalize the team that will continue developing the project.
- Ecosystem - we will need to establish the first partnership agreements with KEY European Institutions that will enable the marketplace to have a stock of available experiences and guides. Preliminary contacts with institutions established.
- Financial - we need to secure the initial investments to start the process, so we need to contact investors and apply for grants.
The value of our solution after the crisis
In the long run, we hope cultural institutions such as museums and heritage sites will witness a broad and steady revitalization; the number of visitors will increase and the interest in taking guided tours on the ground will return. Guided anticipates that.
The marketing strategy of Guided will change after the end of the pandemic. At that point, the primary audience will be global, the tour will take place in and outside of cultural institutions. Consequently, our business model is flexible and can bring great benefits while scaling, without the need of having further investments. Moreover, we want to expand into the educational sector, bringing our solution into classrooms of all ages, streaming from around the world.
Contact and inqueries
If you want to reach out to us, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org