Real-time travel updates direct to your smartphone
A bluetooth application that gives tourists real-time city information on their smartphones has been developed through a pan-European initiative. An updated iPhone app was released in time for the summer, providing visitors with guided smartphone tours, along with a mix of historical archived photos and up-to-date pictures taken on smartphones.
The new app, called Retro Vista, covers the Spanish cities of Madrid, Segovia and Jerez. New destinations are being prepared, with a total of ten destinations scheduled for the end of the year. A version for Android telephones is also currently in the pipeline.
The original project behind the innovation, which was completed in 2009, was called ITINERE. It involved Spanish firm Worldnet21, Irish online map specialist Bizmaps and Amvos Consulting, a Spanish specialist in business intelligence. Together, the project team developed easy-to-use hardware and software.
The name of the initiative comes from the Latin iter, meaning 'on the move'. The letters also stand for Information Technology services for Incoming En-route tourists. The companies worked together to develop a communication platform that would allow tourists to access and download personalised content about cities via different mobile devices, regardless of what telecommunications network they used, whether they were connected to WIFI or the phone's internet network.
The platform was piloted with the assistance of local authorities in Castilla y Leon in Spain. Information points were provided along the famous pilgrim trail, the Camino de Santiago, which sees tens of thousands of visitors every year. Users of the smartphone app could access daily updates in real time and use GPS technology to follow guided tours.
The innovation signals the future of travel information, and underlines just how far smartphone technology has come in the space of a few years. The ITINERE project will also help tourist offices and local authorities who need a way to respond to the new age of tourism.
Providing business travellers and city breakers with instantly available, up-to-the-minute information direct to their smartphones is one effective means of accomplishing this.