Brussels, 15 Jan 2003
A recently completed EU funded project has developed a series of tourist related electronic services.
CRUMPET, creation of user-friendly mobile services personalised for tourism, is an information society technologies (IST) project funded under the Fifth Framework Programme, involving partners from four different Member States, with a total budget of 3.46 million euro. The overall aim of the project is to implement and validate value-added services for mobile users such as business people and tourists.
Using a handheld device with the CRUMPET system integrated, tourists can check out an array of information such as the nearest Italian restaurant in their locality or the times of public transport in another city using a digital map of that city.
While there are currently several similar electronic services like digital tour planners or restaurants guides available on the market, none are linked together. With the CRUMPET system, a central database has been established whereby all the services can be integrated into a single working network. It means that users, no matter what their location, can access information elsewhere on the network.
Advanced technological solutions were implemented during the project cycle:
- Software components, known as agents, were developed to correspond to individual services such as events, restaurants or routes. These agents are able to act on their own initiative and communicate and cooperate with one another. The CRUMPET project also claims that the agent platform is suitable for the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and for local wireless networks (W-LAN).
- Intelligent broker software was developed to carry out searches for the required information using defined concepts such as 'cinema' or 'bar' with a combination of letters. 'You might say that the broker software actually understands what a cinema is,' says Dr. Rainer Malaka, CRUMPET coordinator at the European Media Laboratory (EML) in Heidelberg, 'and then picks the corresponding local service, say a cinema programme.'
The only additional requirement for the use of the CRUMPET system is the Global Positioning System (GPS), which enables an individual's position to be established.
Tourists who avail of these services are blissfully unaware of the technology running in the background as the system learns an individual's interests and favourites automatically.
While successful CRUMPET pilot schemes have already taken place in Heidelberg and Helsinki, the consortium partners are currently waiting on a suitably wide-ranging network to fully exploit the potential of the system.