Research Question 2: What key technologies are missing from our list?


Instructions: Please use these prompts to help you consider what might need to be added to the current list of Horizon Topics. Add your thoughts as bullet points below, using a new bullet point for each new technology or topic. Please add your comments to previous entries if you agree or disagree.

a. What would you list among the established technologies that some institutions are using today that arguably all museums should be using broadly to support or enhance museum education and interpretation?

b. What technologies that have a solid user base in consumer, entertainment, or other industries should museums be actively looking for ways to apply?

c. What are the key emerging technologies you see developing to the point that museums should begin to take notice during the next four to five years?

Each new topic entry must include a title, a description similar to the ones that are written now, and, if needed, a rationale as to why it is different from any of the existing topics. The Horizon Project research team will investigate each nomination entered here to see if it meets the criteria set for new topics (eg., that the topic represents a "real" technology, as opposed to a concept, a new idea, or a proposal; that it is sufficiently developed that research, projects, and information about it exist; and that it has a demonstrable link, or strong potential link, to education).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking them with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples.


Compose your entries like this:
  • New Technology. Add your ideas here with a few sentences of description, including full URLs for references (e.g. http://horizon.nmc.org). And don't forget to sign your contribution with 4 ~ (tilde) characters!


  • More Ubiquitous Broadband... this is a vitally important area for museums to understand and get on the bandwagon so their needs are identified, broadly recognized, and result in funding opportunities. FCC recently unveiled the Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan, to address the nation's latest digital divide..the bandwidth accessibility divide. http://www.broadband.gov/plan/ IMLS has just completed its extraordinary and complementary report, Proposed Framework for Digitally Inclusive Communities www.imls.gov/assets/1/AssetManager/DIC-FrameworkReport.pdf and NSF's US Ignite program, currently under developement "iis an initiative to spark the development of killer apps in areas of national priority: health, education, energy, economic development (including advanced manufacturing), transportation, and public safety on an ultra high speed (>100 Mbps up- and download), deeply programmable (not requiring internet protocol) and sliceable network. US Ignite is doing this by: 1) funding researchers and developers to create applications and services, and 2) stitching together an at-scale testbed with real users that researchers, developers, and entrepreneurs can use as a platform to develop applications and services." see http://www.nsf.gov/cise/usignite/usignite_workshop.jsp Museums are just, as of a June meeting sponspored in part by the White House Offfice on Science and Technology, getting the voices heard and NSF is truly interested in how museums and libraries fit in. The implications and opportunities for museums may be profound, from an expanded audience of public, schools, scholars demanding and expecting more rich media and other content to be available at a snap, to new developments in artistic creation, realtime collaboration, public distributed programming, and actively engaging telepresence. There are ramifications not only for programming and shared resources but also for museum network connectivity and cost, and relatedly, a new evaluation protocol for cloud-based services. - len.steinbach len.steinbach Sep 1, 2011 Is this a missing technology on our list, or perhaps better framed as a challenge? - Larry Larry Sep 1, 2011
  • Photography I remain frustrated that museums do such a routinely poor job of showing what their primary intellectual and visual creations -- their exhibitions -- actually look like. This is a no-brainer, but are museums afraid that by documenting their shows more effectively (using 360 degree panoramas as well as single frame still photos) they will dampen attendance? Fine, then put the images up after the show closes. But please, let us know what the exhibition itself actually looked like, don't just post images of the individual objects that were in it. This is emphatically not new technology, but it is effective use of existing technology. Comparatively speaking it is also easy and cheap. At my own institution, we do make this a priority. www.skidmore.edu/tang. - john.weber john.weber Aug 26, 2011 i agree - this use of it is new. - Larry Larry Sep 1, 2011
  • Rapid Imaging Photography.....with the availability of lower cost higher quality photography gear and the realization that access is more important than perfection (if one can find it as a recent RIT study suggests) many museums (AIC, MoMA, Getty, NGA) are establishing workstations and rapid photography workflows that have exponentially increased the speed with which objects are being digitally photographed, and thereby entered in DAM and Collection Management Systems and ultimately online and to the public. Widely disseminated information on this has brought the process to museums of all sizes, making this a formidable and high impact short term trend.
  • Crowd-sourcing the Museum None of the categories 'Collaborative Environments, 'Social Media' nor 'Social Networks' even "Collective Intelligence' quite capture the nature of 'Crowdsourcing'. I would like to suggest this additional category. The term crowd-sourcing is used in connection with a whole range of online activities and generally describes the ways in which the public is harnessed by others to do their work for them. Jeff Howe was the first person to use the term when he described the concept of crowd sourcing in Wired Magazine, as a gathering of individuals who are prepared to perform tasks, solve complex problems, to contribute their ideas or creativity towards as shared goal. It seems that many museums are already calling on others and are discovering that in fact there are many people with excellent skill sets outside of the museum who are prepared to invest the considerable time and effort required to really make a difference. Although this seems like a simple idea, at a closer look there actually is a lot at stake for museums that so pride themselves on veracity and accuracy and yet are now turning to those who are outside the box to do their work for them. Oomen, J. & Arroyo, L. (2011). Crowdsourcing in the cultural heritage domain: opportunities and challenges. In: 5th International Conference on Communities & Technologies. Brisbane, Australia - 29 June – 2 July 2011. 2011, van: http://www.cs.vu.nl/~marieke/OomenAroyoCT2011.pdf Hazan, (2011), Co‐contributing, co‐creating and co-­curating – the 3 ‘C’s in a crowd-­‐sourcing culture, Conference publication, (upcoming) Digital Strategies for Heritage (DISH), the bi-annual international conference on digital heritage and the strategies with internation professionals in heritage.http://www.musesphere.com/images/Crowdsourcing_Hazan.pdf - susan.hazan susan.hazan Aug 20, 2011- jludden jludden Aug 31, 2011- dana.allen-greil dana.allen-greil Aug 31, 2011 I agree with Susan!- rkvaron rkvaron Aug 30, 2011 - len.steinbach len.steinbach Sep 1, 2011 Definitely agree that crowdsourcing is a great add. But, we can fold this topic into Collective Intelligence, really.- Sam Sam Aug 30, 2011 - len.steinbach len.steinbach Sep 1, 2011 - seema.rao seema.rao Aug 30, 2011 I TOTALLY agree! Agree with all above, but as is mentioned, museums have a lot riding on veracity and accuracy. Perhaps we should distinguish between "public" crowd sourcing, and "scholar" sourcing, or creating environments (and skill sets) so it is easier to bring together a wealth of research and curatorial information from disparate sources. - jason.trimmer jason.trimmer Aug 31, 2011 - beth.harris beth.harris Aug 31, 2011 Very much like Jason's idea of "scholar crowd-sourcing" - think smarthistory (sorry more shameless plugs) or theartstory.org. I've written about the importance of opening up the community on other pages on this wiki - but I think this is an important distinction. As someone who comes from the academic ranks in higher education and now works in a museum, I've never totally understood the divide between the scholarly community and the museum/curatorial community and I am sure there are ways to begin working together to create open content (museum content should have clear licensing) around their collections. - sheila.carey sheila.carey Sep 1, 2011 Visitors have a lot that they can add to museum content. I'm always struck by the comments we get on our Community Memories exhibits. Often people write in to add information, correct information (especially names of people) or offer more photos I would like to place crowd-sourcing into a context of social and civic engagement roles of a museum. Whether one thinks of Brooklyn's Click!http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/click or the International Museum of Women (IMOW) "Young Women Speaking the Economy" http://imow.org/economica/youngwomenspeaking/ or Guggenheim's BMWGuggenheimLab http://bmwguggenheimlab.org there are immensely diverse programs and opportunities that are profoundly changing museums scope, reach, and relationships that are just starting to be explores. - len.steinbach len.steinbach Sep 1, 2011 I agree that existing topics dont embrace this sufficiently, but I am not sure that even "crowdsourcing" does enough justice... I guess I would like this to be subsumed under "(tools for?) Civic and Social Engagement - len.steinbach len.steinbach Sep 1, 2011
  • Mobile Wallet (mCommerce) For an industry that will see increasing challenges in funding, revenue, and financial operations, I think this technology will be hugely significant. Based on the debt crisis, its inevitable that current federal funding sources will diminish or disappear, its even possible that rules surrounding tax-exmept status will be revised to generate federal income. Many if not most museums are in violation of current PCI Compliance rules and will have to address them or face financial penalties. Mobile commerce solves these problems by offering alternative revenue streams and eliminates many PCI compliance issues. Mobile commerce was estimated at under $2B for 2010 and conservatively predicted as $10B for 2011 - a bandwagon museums can't ignore.
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/228773/google_unveils_mobile_wallet_service.html
    http://mashable.com/2011/02/18/mobile-trends-commerce/
    http://www.pcicompliance.org
    - nik.honeysett nik.honeysett Aug 25, 2011 - ed.rodley ed.rodley Yes; also see Isis (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/at-t-verizon-t-mobile-sets-100-million-for-google-fight-tech.html) joint venture by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile for NFC mobile payments, with planned launch in 2012; project site is http://www.paywithisis.com. - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Aug 31, 2011 Agree that this is huge. Would add even traditional card payments via mobile as part of this (Squarebeing the company out front in this area). Agree - allegra.burnette allegra.burnette Sep 1, 2011 - sheila.carey sheila.carey Aug 30, 2011 I agree that payment via NFC is probably going to move faster than one could have predicted a year ago. NFC is being tested in some projects in Europe for content provision as well, http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/18/nokia-gifts-museum-of-london-with-nfc-tags-makes-you-tap-for-mo/ http://www.nfctimes.com/news/french-make-it-official-nice-nfc-launch
  • Digital fundraising I'm not sure if this fits in here with mCommerce but museums seem to be hugely underperforming in the area of digital fundraising. Whether through simple email appeals, digital membership programs, online sponsorship (adopt-a-pixel!), or mobile giving...as a field, we aren't on par with other nonprofit sectors in generating enthusiastic small donors on a mass scale. - dana.allen-greil dana.allen-greil Aug 31, 2011 - sheila.carey sheila.carey Sep 1, 2011 yes - digital fundraising is an opportunity - also using social media to do this. Definitely online fundraising on the rise! Museum needs are usually less time critical than other causes (natural disaster, etc.) How to find a place in this space? - allegra.burnette allegra.burnette Sep 1, 2011
  • Sensors / Robotics - rob.stein rob.stein Aug 30, 2011 I wonder if we should have something here about the use of low-cost or networked sensors in museums? I don't know if the subject / topic of robotics should go hand in hand, but I know we've seen a lot of interesting presentations lately about how cheap and easy PC Stamp kits can be used to augment museum exhibitions. The Arduino offers a world of options not represented in this list I think? Sensors might be slightly different however. I'm curious about how small (almost ubiquitous) sensors embedded in museums might offer a source of data and interaction-tracking that museums can analyze to understand / respond / monitor visitor activity. This (of course) is already in place if we consider security cameras and HVAC sensors. Extending this to small temperature, humidity, vibration sensors might allow museums to respond to visitors in new ways. The XBox Kinect and Wii-mote hacks that we've seen recently could also be categorized in this way in that they are sensing bodies / shapes / etc and responding with display or presentation elements. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Aug 30, 2011 I would add to that the surge in maker culture with its drive to make electronics/robotics/sensors hackable, extensible and open source. I'm not sure if it's a technology in its own right, but the maker culture thing is large and gaining strength every year. agree - physical computing,open source electronics is an important area, plenty of museums are offering opportunities for visitors to learn skills in these areas and there is a level of democratisation allowing people access to these developments. Museums can support the maker culture by working with the creative industries and artists who are working, experimenting and developing these areas of technology. - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Aug 31, 2011 Add me to the list for wanting more on physical computing/maker culture. This has multiple implications for museums: the low cost of devices like the Arduino have put sophisticated computing in the hands of even the most cash-poor institutions, but also, the rise of physical hacks like those we're seeing with the Kinect are starting to look like a new form of artwork in their own right; the collecting implications here are huge. - koven.smith koven.smith Aug 31, 2011 Me too - allegra.burnette allegra.burnette Sep 1, 2011
  • 3D Printing Certainly a hot topic in the tech field for the past few years, 3D printers are already going into production. Lots of information available online, but here's a link to start with: 2012 - the year of 3D printing. The applications for museums are widespread - from printing out mounts or stands for exhibitions, to using the printers to create scale models of famous sculptures, or using printouts to help install exhibitions. I'm sure we are many, many years away from 3D printers becoming affordable, but exciting possibilities nonetheless. - jason.trimmer jason.trimmer Aug 31, 2011 - ed.rodley ed.rodley Aug 31, 2011 -- i think museums could do some interesting work with artists in this area and support the creative development of the technology. Interesting experimental work here http://vimeo.com/25401444?utm_source=youtubeweb&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=theme-nature
    a freaky application of 3D printing here http://www.dannychoo.com/post/en/26119/Human+Cloning+in+Japan.html - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Sep 1, 2011 - sheila.carey sheila.carey Sep 1, 2011 - I agree - I meant to add something about this in the clippings, because I've seen a few articles on it recently, but I think I got side-tracked!
  • Better more user-friendly website analytic tools I know I saw this elsewhere on this wiki with several names already attached, but instead of hunting for it, I am adding it here since I don't think it's simply a matter of improving the website analytic tools we already have, but perhaps of developing new ones. I remember Seb Chan talking at a conference a while ago about a plug-in that allowed one to see where on your website folks were right copying and pasting from. What a useful tool! And there is no reason why data about the ways that people use the website and how many people use it and how they navigate it should be so darn difficult to understand. - beth.harris beth.harris Aug 31, 2011
  • Conservation of electronic/variable/time-based media. My museum has a large collection of electronic media objects in its collection, and each one represents a unique challenge from a conservation/preservation standpoint (ancient OSes, old languages no one uses anymore, hardware that we're neither allowed to upgrade or replace, etc.). The lack of conservators who understand this kind of work from a computer science perspective, rather than an art history perspective, is a looming problem as more and more of these kinds of works are accessioned into museums' collections. - koven.smith koven.smith Aug 31, 2011
  • Tactile Graphic Display Technology. Or any technology that helps the visually impaired interpret and engage with museum collections. http://tsapps.nist.gov/techtransfer/index.cfm?event=page.view.record&IDRecord=18 or http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/techbeat/tb2007_1025.htm#blind.- adrianne.russell adrianne.russell Aug 31, 2011 Does the rubric "haptic" cover it? - len.steinbach len.steinbach Sep 1, 2011
  • NFCs The mobile wallet application contributes strongly to the success of the near field communication technology deployment. Strategically speaking, NFC and smart objects manufacturers along with related service providers and creative developers need a first push from the mCommerce. But museum institutions will appreciate more NFCs applied to actual museum activities. Indeed, mCommerce and general commercial deployment are potentially great for museums too, as this next link is showing, we can expect a lot of innovative products in the coming year, possibly interesting for the museum exhibition spaces and interpretation ideas. The first NFC appliance | Touch. And I believe initiatives for exciting new ways to visit, explore and research are the real thing with NFCs at the museum. Museums are among the best field and physical to virtual space for exploring new ways to develop and implement NFCs: Museum of London - Museum of London apps, Museum of London - NFC. Here's also Louvre-DNP Mode simple|Mon Museum Lab|Louvre - DNP Museum Lab- guy.deschenes guy.deschenes Aug 31, 2011
  • Transmedia In museums, new and old media are constantly bumping up against one another, complementing, building upon, and even competing with one another. Advertisers, filmmakers, and other creative industries have been looking at the concept of transmedia storytelling as a way to use the best of all worlds to tell stories and create experiences across multiple platforms. Instead of simply adding more (a Myspace profile, now a blog, next a custom wiki site, mobile apps, podcasts, more!), museums could be thinking more strategically and working in partnership with artists and storytellers to create truly transmedia (and not just multiple media) experiences.
    Transmedia storytelling does not refer to any strategy involving more than one media platform. "In transmedia, elements of a story are dispersed systematically across multiple media platforms, each making their own unique contribution to the whole. Each medium does what it does best--comics might provide back-story, games might allow you to explore the world, and the television series offers unfolding episodes." http://www.fastcompany.com/1745746/seven-myths-about-transmedia-storytelling-debunked This is not just one technology we're talking about but a way of thinking about how technologies can work together, weaving a more intricate, interactive, and co-produced story than any one platform is capable of handling on its own. ARGs (Alternate Reality Games) are another exciting related but more limited concept/technology, focusing on gaming elements that occur across platforms in a parallel and often fictional reality. - dana.allen-greil dana.allen-greil Aug 31, 2011 - lorna.obrien lorna.obrien Sep 1, 2011
  • Voice Recognition/Translation While crude versions of this technology have been around for decades, recent breakthroughs and powerful mobile tools like Dragon are beginning to change the way we write, archive and access our thoughts. Clive Thompson's article Hold That Thought http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/05/st_thompson_voicerecognition/ does a great job of capturing the new found potential in this technology. - scott.sayre scott.sayre Sep 1, 2011