Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be giving you more information on the ideas that are going forward to the ‘How can we connect communities and visitors along the Wales Coast Path?’ GeoVation Showcase. Today, you can find out more about Trail Buddy – formerly Near Field Communications (NFC) and Experience Wales . If you’d like to see the teams pitch for a share of £125,000 in development funding in Cardiff on 18 July- sign up for your free ticket.
We submitted an idea to GeoVation to use NFC (near field communications) as an enabling technology to provide a way to bring the Welsh Coastal Path to life. NFC is gradually being added to new phones and allows very short range interaction with other NFC devices or a fixed ‘tag’. NFC is probably most visible to the public via the Barclaycard contactless payment adverts.
Our ideas are to provide local content and advertising, with a small NFC tag behind a footpath plaque used to automatically open the content on a mobile device. Although this is also achievable by using GPS digital fencing/zoning or with QR codes, NFC allows content to be brought up by simply scanning, you don’t need to open the app first or take a picture of a code. The NFC tag provides highly visible advertising for the application by being present on plastic plaques on existing marker poles along the path.
We also plan to make use of the plaques to drive social interaction. We believe we can drive competition between friends on Facebook and other social media by posting ‘achievements’ from scanning the most tags. This will hopefully encourage more young people to walk the path.
We aim to deploy a number of colour-coded plaques, e.g. red for food, green for nature, so that a consistent approach is delivered to the consumer. At any point where they see a plaque along the path they will be able to scan and be directed to local businesses, or get information on things of interest near the path.
By using technology, we aim to encourage more people to walk the path, and to provide a marketing tool to local businesses. Any application would also be extensible to other key information around the path, offering flexibility to add more content at a later date.
Experience Wales is a project designed to showcase the fact that the all Wales Coast path is more than just a path! Its a wealth of opportunities.
Through web based route planning and activities matching software we will help individuals and groups looking for gap adventures plan experience holidays walking along the coast path. To keep the holiday as low cost as possible we will build in a system where participants exchange their time and skills for a place to sleep, “couch surfing” their way across Wales.
Our system will allow them to plan the ultimate welsh experience from point to point selecting the experiences they wish to have as they continue on their journey.
Any organisation or individual with a job to do and a spare bed to offer can post up a volunteering opportunity for our participants to take part in. The idea being that someone can work their way along the coast path walking between opportunities, gaining skills and earning rewards as they go. The aim is to provide individuals coming to Wales with the worlds greatest, most memorable opportunity ever, for free! Communities benefit from increased volunteering and tourism in their area, participants benefit from the invaluable experiences they gain.
Our team comes from a varied background, we have experience of working with large public and private sector organisations, educational institutions, volunteering groups and the community. Members of our team have managed multi-million pound projects, worked at an international government level, lectured in colleges and universities and developed several innovative software solutions for a range of clients. We also have extensive experience developing online mapping solutions and mobile applications.
The project has already received written support from international schools who wish send their foreign students on Experience Wales holidays to discover Welsh culture and heritage first hand. We are also in talks with universities, major social enterprises and volunteer organisations about how we can integrate our service with their organisations. Our extensive research into the market and this positive initial interest indicate that the Experience Wales project will be a sustainable business beyond initial investment.