Mobile Technology Trends

  • 2011 Mobile Technology Survey (PDF, 23 pages). This report from AAM, conducted by Fusion Research + Analytics (and sponsored by Guide by Cell) shows that mobile technology is vital to most museums’ visitor strategy. Mobile technology in museums is projected to expand significantly in 2011, providing institutions with enhanced visitor engagement and alternative revenue models.
  • Mobile Apps for Museums: The AAM Guide to Planning and Strategy (AAM Press, 127 pages) Edited by Nancy Proctor, head of mobile strategy and initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution, this collection of essays and case studies by leading practitioners is designed to help guide the museum in its planning and strategy as it explores this exciting new terrain. Mobile Apps for Museums examines the promise and potential of mobile apps in expanding exponentially the museum's audience outreach and engagement.
  • The New Media Consortium Horizon Report, 2011 Museum Edition (PDF, 40 pages) lists mobile technology, specifically mobile phones and associated applications (apps), as a technology that will be “adopted” (integrated into museum operations) in one year or less. The report explores relevance for museum education and interpretation, includes links to notable apps.
  • MuseumMobile Wiki is a free, public space for museum professionals to share resources, best practice, and discuss mobile interpretation and technologies for museums and cultural sites. See in particular its helpful “Mobile Interpretation & Strategy” worksheets.
  • Mobile for Museums. This 2010 report by Sharon Leon, director of public projects at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, assesses the current state of the mobile for museums field.  The site proves a brief overview of what is being done in the mobile museum world and offers suggestions based on this research on how to economically provide mobile users with a positive experience the museum.
  • Smartphones and Apps Research Findings. This blog post by Lynda Kelly reports on research conducted by the Australian Museum on their visitors’ use of smartphones and apps, looking at the demographics of people who are using mobiles and how they are being used.
  • CHIN’s TextWatch for Fall 2011. This report from the Canadian Heritage Information Network provides an overview of mobile technology in museums, with a focus on examples from Canadian institutions. The themes include mobile usage trends, mobile apps and QR codes. Includes many links to examples and background research.
  • Museums & Mobile in 2012: An Analysis of the Museums & Mobile Survey 2012 Responses. More than 600 museum professionals responded to this annual survey conducted by Pocket-Proof and Learning Times. The findings focus on adoption (i.e., what kinds of museums are using various technologies), audiences, institutional objectives, the challenges of implementing mobile technologies in museums, and future plans. Also addresses technology costs (for both in-gallery and out-of-gallery experiences) and the relation between institutional size and mobile technology adoption. 
  • Manifesting Mobile Concepts. This series of blog posts from the advertising/design firm Manifest Digital offers “hypothetical examples to demonstrate how to develop mobile feature ideas for museums.” Examples include museum trip planners/maps and in-gallery mobile apps. Each post takes a step-by-step approach, from defining the business requirements (why have an app?) through the planning stage to the specification of features. A good starting point, but does not provide technical details for the actual creation of apps.