How Augmented Reality Technology Consolidates the SMB Ecosystem of the Tourism Industry in Taiwan
Taiwanese tourism industry has been consisting largely of small and micro businesses (SMBs). Compared to medium and large corporations who achieve quality service by standardizing operations, these SMBs usually provide quality service by emphasizing local cultures, and relying heavily on storytelling and face-to-face interactions with their customers. However, these interactions are neither systematic nor efficient, resulting in random and scattered contact points; and the lack of marketing resource left these SMBs with weak distribution channels. In the meantime, the tourism landscape is experiencing a shift - a shift in travelers’ preference from escorted tours toward independent tours with profound local experiences. Even if the shift lessens the profits of individual shops around top tourism destinations, it still sheds light on formations of mutually beneficial local offline business networks for small and micro businesses.
This shift also increases the importance of applying of Augmented Reality (AR) technology in tourism because of its high efficiency and interactiveness. In this research, we set up a project that adapts multiple location-based techniques to provide on-site information and interactions, and display travel information on user’s camera screen by calculate camera position and angle and layering corresponding images. The project also introduces virtual currency into our AR service models, aiming to motivate more travel behaviors.
The purpose of this research is to discuss the effects of applying AR technology on forming an offline business network of SMBs, and consequently building a business model with the use of virtual currency in the offline business network. In other words, this research investigates how the AR applications motivate travelers in engaging in more extensive and deeper travel experiences, and consequently transform travel-related non-consumer behaviors into travel-related consumer behaviors. Besides motivating travelers, the circulation of the virtual currency further facilitates mutually beneficial operation of the offline business network.
This research also illustrates how the technology development of the service system and the operational process of augmented reality can be further applied to future researches. After two months of Proof of Services, the project in this research brought nearly 11,000 visits and circulation of 1.9 million of virtual currency, demonstrating that the integration of augmented reality technology and business model can effectively build an offline business network and a new form of tourism service value system.
KeywordsAugmented reality Offline business network Virtual currency Human-computer interaction Tourism
Thanks to the Department of Industrial Technology in the Ministry of Economy Affairs, R.O.C. for their support and resource in the 4G Advanced Commerce and Multimedia Service Promotion Program (4G 先進商務與影音服務平台推動計畫).
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