On 27 and 28 October 2017, Opendata.ch and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts hosted a hackathon at the Arosa Conference Centre. Around 50 software developers, communications specialist and tourism experts put their heads together as part of the Tourist Office 3.0 project, which is sponsored by the federal government.
They spent two days developing ideas on the topic of “Innovation in Tourism” by using non-personal data that Opendata.ch, the organiser, and the Institute of Tourism had collected in advance. After almost two days and a short night, seven interdisciplinary teams presented their solutions and prototypes on Saturday afternoon.
One of the solutions that was presented, for example, aims to help restaurants and ski schools with their resource and personnel planning by using historical and current data from weather reports, mountain railway usage, and holiday calendars to forecast how many visitors can be expected in the next few days. Another team developed a personalised set of road maps based on the digital versions of OpenStreetMap. This makes it possible to provide every guest with a personalised map with all the relevant locations and information to print out in the hotel lobby. Another project team studied the potential of the Internet of Things for tourism destinations, whereby numerous linked sensors enable guests and providers to exchange information in real time. Examples include analysing a service by means of an on-site guest survey, obtaining information about the conditions on hiking trails, having wood delivered to a fire pit, or even getting a drone to whisk a bottle of champaign up a mountain when a button is pressed at the summit.
The organisers and project partners will decide together whether and in what form the presented ideas will be developed further. Most teams, however, expressed their interest in continuing to work on their projects. The hackathon concept, whereby creative minds collaborate in interdisciplinary teams, did deliver the expected results. Only time will tell which ideas will ultimately bear fruit.