Do you own a cell phone? According to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, the answer is, more than likely, a resounding “yes.” The research suggests that 91% of the adult population in the U.S. owns a cell phone.
Next question: Is your cell phone a smart phone? Again, your answer is probably “yes.” According to the same study, 61% of cell phone owners are classified as smart phone users.
It’s a word that stirs excitement, intimidation, and financial uneasiness in the museum world. But what is the reality? How many museums are using mobile platforms today? How many are using them effectively?
- 8% of museums offer only traditional museum-provided mobile devices.
- 13% of museums offer both traditional museum-provided mobile devices and new mobile features (e.g., QR Codes).
- 36% of museums offer only new mobile features (i.e., “bring your own device”).
Two other key takeaways form the survey:
- Despite the growth of mobile technology in museums, about four in ten museums do not offer any mobile features, citing the lack of dedicated budgets, limited resources and limited knowledge as key reasons.
- One third of non-mobile museums planned to introduce a mobile feature in 2012. Half of mobile museums planned a new mobile launch and two thirds planned to expand existing mobile features in 2012.
To read the full study, click here.
This post is inspired by recent article, Dear museums: the time is right to embrace mobile, by Matthew Petrie. You’ve got to love any article that opens with, “Dear museums, we love you,” right? I enjoyed Petrie’s article (he cites several great examples), and agree with his sentiments. The time to embrace mobile is NOW (and of equal importance, don’t forget to tell people about it).
Which brings me to AAM’s Mobile Apps for Museums (available in print, ebook, or online) edited by Nancy Proctor (@NancyProctor) head of mobile strategy and initiatives for the Smithsonian Institution. This book includes a helpful introduction, “What is Mobile?”, and covers business models, mobility and experience design, models and misnomers, strategies, and a marketing case study – which I co-wrote with my former NURFC colleagues, Dina Bailey (@NURFCdina) and Richard Cooper (@NURFCrich). Interested in exploring mobile? Not sure what the best option would be for your institution? This book, with a collection of essays and case studies by Ed Rodley (@erodley), Koven Smith (@5easypieces), and Robert Stein (@rjstein) – just to name a few, is a great resource.
Is your museum using mobile? On what platforms? If not, why? How do you feel about mobile and the museum experience? What words of advice, encouragement or caution can you offer to others from your own institutional forays into the mobile universe?