The frequently asked questions can be pre-recorded while the less conventional and personal questions can be answered by a 'real' person who has access to the correct information. This service not only saves the government time and money but it increases the level of service to the citizens. The same systems can also be used as 'Tourist Desk' – providing Information to tourists visiting the city- or to assist immigrants 'in finding their way' in the regulations and bureaucracy. Moreover, the system can be combined with the language service offering of www.vooyz.com. This solution enables the assistance of a qualified interpreter to get a qualified interpreter in the discussion, within minutes following the request of the government co-worker. Also regional or national authorities can use the services to save costs and to provide better services, for instance federal tax authorities, medical or social security services. The systems can be integrated with legacy ICT systems and existing databases. The Government co-worker can scan, read, edit and print documents for the citizen. ID card readers can be connected to the system together with biometrical authentication technologies (signature and finger print recognition), etc.. In fact there is no difference in operations between using this system –from two different locations - or sitting at the same table.
On January the 30th 2013 , from a list of 120 candidates in 7 categories, this project has been awarded with the annual Award of Tourism Flanders for the 'Best Touristic innovation 2013'
Motivation of the jury :, we have chosen - in the category of 'innovation' - this 3D InfoPoint, located in the hall of the train Station 'Ghent Sint Pieters'. It corresponds perfectly with 'the new vision on welcoming international tourists and the provision of personalized, high quality information'.
Available at the 3D InfoPoint is most of the information a tourist requires. That includes prerecorded 3D video content -featuring a known actor- answering FAQ. Integrated in the Kiosk is a dispenser providing paper leaflets with maps of the City with indication of touristic attractions, information on public transports, etc...
Additional in-depth and detailed information on Ghent using a second touchscreen.
The pre-recorded 3D content is updated on a regular basis to ensure up to date information and to highlight temporary events such as festivals, exhibitions, etc.. New content can easily be uploaded from any location.
Analytic tools available within the system, indicate that the service is being used well over 500 times per day; during opening hours of the Station. On the average, every 2 minutes a unique user is using the service. Most of the time the pre-recorded content (FAQ) is requested. This saves a lot of time for the Agents, who are only involved 'by exception' when necessary.
In case the Tourist has a specific question - not listed in the FAQ list - a simple button push on the touchscreen suffices to connect with a live Agent of Tourism Ghent, who is miles away in a call center. Within seconds, a remote Agent appears life-sized, in 3D and with aligned eye-contact. All the technical components are concealed. The tourist does not see a video display, nor camera or speaker or microphone : the tourist sees only the live Agent – against a nicely designed background of 'the old Fish-mine'. This appearance is very realistic and authentic: 'as if that Agent would be physically present'.
Once the tourist Agent is connected with the tourist, interactive data can be shared over distance such as showing photos, video clips, websites of hotels, museums, etc...