Monday, May 24, 2010

The Talking Walls - Beaulieu Abbey Launch 2010

On Wednesday 19th May, at Beaulieu Abbey, the launch of The Talking Walls - Beaulieu Abbey multimedia kiosk application took place in front of a large group of invited guests. This was the culmination of several months of organisation between myself, a group of Southampton Solent University's MA Marketing students and Beaulieu.

The event was perceived as a success, according to feedback. The guests showed considerable interest in the application. They were interested in how it would eventually evolve to mobile handsets, the way that adults, professionals and children would be able to access information at their own level in successive versions, and how additional content would be added to continuously engage these groups.

Mary Montagu Scott introduced The Talking Walls, explaining how it would help visitors to learn more about the abbey from the characters that lived and worked at there over it's lifetime. Lord Montagu watched as I demonstrated how to navigate through the rich multimedia content - 9 characters each with their own 'twist' on the animated tours of the abbey. The feedback from Mary and the Bealieu team was very positive. Mary is particlarly pleased with the depth of the information that can be explored, whilst at the abbey or once back at school / home. A great success as far as fulfilling the brief is concerned, I think.

Susan Tomkins, the archivist is also pleased and looks forward to seeing this working on mobile handsets. In the future it is hoped that the visitor will be able to access areas of the application on their own smartphones and explore how the abbey looked whilst standing in the ruins, or play with the educational games whilst sitting in the grounds.

Several of the feedback questionnaires completed requested more than one kiosk, having had to queue to explore the virtual abbey and it's characters. The mobile application would solve this, as people would then be able to access the content on their own devices. Another response was how they would like to see the content for the different groups mentioned above (the current version is a generic age group). This is planned for a future version, with content gradually building and being separated as it grows.

I would like to thank all the guests who came to the launch and for everyone involved in helping make the launch a great success. If you would like to watch a 3-part video on YouTube of the launch speeches, please follow this link for part 1a, part 1b and part 2.

The kiosk is permanently installed in the Abbey museum, visitors to the abbey will be able to visit and explore the virtual abbey and characters during their visit and afterwards on the website: