Smithsonian Mobile Strategic Planning Kick-off
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Smithsonian Mobile Strategic Planning Kick-off



Presentation to kick off the mobile strategic planning process at the Smithsonian Institution, July 2010.

Presentation to kick off the mobile strategic planning process at the Smithsonian Institution, July 2010.



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  • What is clear in the museum as a distributed network is that the only certain thing is that the technology will change rapidly
  • But with over half of the Museum’s platforms already mobile….
  • If we want to meet our audiences where they are, And take them some place new…
  • Mobile is a great vehicle
  • Because mobile is both personal, and social To unlock the power of mobile we need to leverage both This means thinking beyond the
  • Because mobile is both personal, and social To unlock the power of mobile we need to leverage both This means thinking beyond the
  • In fact it means rethinking the Museum-Acropolis, that forbidding, fortified, treasure house on a remote hill, design to keep precious things in and people out…
  • As instead an Agora, a community space, a space of meeting and engagement
  • This means thinking beyond the traditional audio tour, narrowcasting, voice of authority
  • It means going from headphones to microphones,
  • And if you think SI Guide was the only time the Institution aimed for the moon in its mobile program and fell a bit short, think again: Extra points to anyone who remembers this, or can guess what year it is from: iGo on the Apple Newton from 1994 It even had a feedback function! A product clearly ahead of its time.
  • Other lessons learned: just a sampling: Podcasts, some of our earliest mobile publications, seem to be popular: at least with us How are our audiences using them?
  • Cellphones are also popular with museums, but probably better for interactive services than traditional audio tour experiences But new ‘all you can eat’ models help!
  • And there’s plenty more that has been going on in mobile at Smithsonian since (going to fly through these slides…)
  • Mobile web is standard By 2013/2020 most of our web visitors will be from mobile devices
  • Learning about mobile websites for delivering video now at CH; this was the first multimedia tour on the iPod platform, great sampling of a wide range of content
  • Pick your target audience and evaluate their experience
  • Learning how to create an exhibition guide that works both for on-site and remote audiences
  • And many more learning opportunities in the pipeline
  • So this is a thumbnail sketch of what I think SI Mobile might look like: not just one big umbrella app, but a set of tools and resources…

Smithsonian Mobile Strategic Planning Kick-off Smithsonian Mobile Strategic Planning Kick-off Presentation Transcript

  • From “we do the talking” to “you do the talking”: Smithsonian Mobile Strategic Planning 22 July 2010 Smithsonian Institution
  • What are our audiences looking for?
  • mLearning Workshops
  • What are our audiences asking?
    • Some of the mLearning participants’ responses:
    • What is this place?
    • Why is it called the “Smithsonian”?
    • How big is it? How big are the collections?
    • How many museums are there?
    • What is the Castle?
    • What is all this stuff?
    • What matters? What’s important? Why?
    • For a personal connection – touch
    • For the pleasure of recognition
  • The POST Method: Audience (People) -led
    • People : who among the Smithsonian’s many audiences are using mobile devices, and how? What future trends are expected?
    • Objectives: which of the Smithsonian’s objectives, both on a central and unit level, can and should be achieved using mobile platforms?
    • Strategy: How will we decide what we do, and who has roles and responsibilities in that process? What resources need to be available, and what changes do we need to make to our current culture and business practices to realize our goals for mobile?
    • Technology: What content and services should be implemented with SMS, mobile Web, downloadable mobile content or smartphone applications? And how do we prepare for new technologies to come?
  • Why mobile?
    • A groovy new set of gadgets?
    • A new set of tools and platforms for communications, learning and developing and distributing content?
    • A fundamentally new way of connecting, collaborating and educating?
    Photo CC licensed:
  • The Smithsonian More than 30 million visitors in 2009 & 180 million ‘virtual’ visitors
  • The Smithsonian has become a Distributed Network and…
  • At least half of the Institution’s platforms are already mobile.
  • So if we want to meet our audiences where they are
    • And take them some place new…
  • Mobile is a great vehicle In 8 years, the standard phone will be 20x more powerful than it is today. It’s not just a phone, it’s a computer.
  • Mobile is personal and social
  • Mobile is a Platform for doing work Today we expect Tomorrow we’ll expect
    • Electricity
    • Heating/cooling
    • Copy machines
    • E-mail
    • Meeting rooms
    • Wireless everywhere
    • Mobile access to everything
    • Location-based data
    • Mobile data capture from cameras, sensors, gps
  • The Smithsonian Commons
    • “ The Smithsonian Commons is built with mobile users in mind. It’s an anywhere, anytime Smithsonian.”
    Smithsonian Commons Prototype
  • Thinking outside the Acropolis The Reynold’s Center, home of the Smithsonian American Art Museum & National Portrait Gallery
  • Thinking about the Agora Kogod Courtyard of the DW Reynolds Center; quotation by Steven Zucker, 2008
  • Photo by Mike Lee, 2007; from American Art Flickr Group Thinking about audiences beyond the museum’s walls and website
  • Falling on deaf ears?
  • Thinking outside the audiotour box Means going from headphones to microphones
  • From “We do the talking” to “We help our audiences do the talking.”
  • iGo: 1994
  • Podcasts
  • Cellphone tours
  • Smithsonian Connections
  • (mobile)
  • Design USA at Cooper-Hewitt “ Don’t even think about not using it because then you won’t truly see the show.” Roberta Smith, NY Times , 14 January 2010
  • MEanderthal
  • Yves Klein at the Hirshhorn
  • iPads & E-book Readers Laboratory for Visual Learning, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics See forthcoming Journal of Special Education Technology
  • Also in the Pipeline
    • Mall visitors’ app
    • Mobile cross-collections search
    • NMNH Leaf-identifier app
    • NMAI exhibition tour app
    • Zoo app
    • Cross-platform games
    • Mobile giving
    • Experiments in Augmented Reality
  • And the sisters – & brothers – are doin’ it for themselves
  • What will SI Mobile look like?
    • A Smithsonian Mobile Architecture and framework
    • Standards
    • Best practice documentation and training
    • Infrastructure
    • A Mobile Toolkit
  • Some of the tools…
      • Smithsonian Commons Mobile
      • Collections search
      • Image delivery
      • Events calendars
      • Maps and wayfinding
      • “ About…” content and functionality
      • Visitor feedback capture
      • Social media functions/communities of interest
      • Mobile metrics and campaign functions
      • Mobile advertising and promotions
      • Location-based functions
      • Augmented reality
      • ?? What would you add?
  • Mobile in the big picture
    • Mobile is an integral part of the Web & New Media Strategy
    Can I do this on my mobile phone?
  • How will we get there?
    • Market research analysis on SI's audiences and mobile best practice from the culture industry & beyond
    • A clear and supportive process for developing mobile projects and products
    • Mobile strategy with a roadmap and priorities, milestones and deliverables (what we want to do mapped onto what we can do, evolving over time)
    • A growing mobile development resource library, including best practices, training, standards, and tools
    • Recommendations on governance, infrastructure, standards, resources and practices required for growth
    Strategic Planning Deliverables June-July 2010 & ongoing Aug-Sep 2010 & ongoing Aug-Sep 2010 & ongoing From June 2010 Autumn/Winter 2010 – a living document
  • Resources
    • Mobile pages on the Smithsonian’s Web & New Media Strategy Wiki:
    • Mobile Sharepoint wiki:,%20Mobile%20Web,%20etc.%29.aspx
    • Voice your Vision group & Smithsonian Mobile YouTube:
    • From June 2010: mLearning workshops & summit
    • Mobile Fair 4 August 2010
  • Encontrismo Think differently And ask lots of questions!